Oxford University Press USA

  • As the waters of the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain began to pour into New Orleans, people began asking the big question--could any of this have been avoided? How much of the damage from Hurricane Katrina was bad luck, and how much was poor city planning?
    Steinberg's Acts of God is a provocative history of natural disasters in the United States. This revised edition features a new chapter analyzing the failed response to Hurricane Katrina, a disaster Steinberg warned could happen when the book first was published. Focusing on America's worst natural disasters, Steinberg argues that it is wrong to see these tragedies as random outbursts of nature's violence or expressions of divine judgment. He reveals how the decisions of business leaders and government officials have paved the way for the greater losses of life and property, especially among those least able to withstand such blows--America's poor, elderly, and minorities. Seeing nature or God as the primary culprit, Steinberg explains, has helped to hide the fact that some Americans are simply better able to protect themselves from the violence of nature than others.
    In the face of revelations about how the federal government mishandled the Katrina calamity, this book is a must-read before further wind and water sweep away more lives. Acts of God is a call to action that needs desperately to be heard.

  • The global drug trade and its associated violence, corruption, and human suffering create global problems that include political and military conflicts, ethnic minority human rights violations, and stresses on economic development. Drug production and eradication affects the stability of many states, shaping and sometimes distorting their foreign policies. External demand for drugs has transformed many indigenous cultures from using local agricultural activity to being enmeshed in complex global problems.
    Dangerous Harvest presents a global overview of indigenous peoples' relations with drugs. It presents case studies from various cultural landscapes that are involved in drug plant production, trade, and use, and examines historical uses of illicit plant substances. It continues with coverage of eradication efforts, and the environmental impact of drug plant production. In its final chapter, it synthesizes the major points made and forecasts future directions of crop substitution programs, international eradication efforts, and changes in indigenous landscapes. The book helps unveil the farmer, not to glamorize those who grow drug plants but to show the deep historical, cultural, and economic ties between farmer and crop.

  • In the past two decades, Burma/Myanmar has become a front-page topic in newspapers across the world. This former British colony has one of the most secretive, corrupt, and repressive regimes on the planet, yet it houses a Nobel Peace Prize winner who is and in and out of house arrest. It has an ancient civilization that is mostly unknown to Westerners, yet it was an important--and legendary--theater in World War II. A picturesque land with mountain jungles and monsoon plains, it is one of the world's largest producers of heroin. It has a restive Buddhist monk population that has captured the attention of the west when it faced off against the regime. And it recently experienced one of the worst natural disasters in modern times, one effect of which was to lay bare the manifold injustices and cruelties of the regime.
    Burma/Myanmar: What Everyone Needs to Know offers a concise synthesis of this forbidding yet fascinating country. David Steinberg, one of the world's eminent authorities on the region, explains the current situation in detail yet contextualizes it in a wide-ranging survey of Burmese history and culture. Authoritative and balanced, it will be standard work on Burma for the general reading public.

  • Michael Steinberg's highly successful listener's guides--The Symphony and The Concerto--have been universally praised for their blend of captivating biography, crystal clear musical analysis, and delightful humor. Now Steinberg follows these two greatly admired volumes with Choral Masterworks: A Listener's Guide, the only such guide available to this most popular of musical forms.
    Here are more than fifty illuminating essays on the classic choral masterworks, ranging from Handel's Messiah, Bach's Mass in B Minor, and Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, to works by Haydn, Brahms, Mendelssohn, and many others. Steinberg spans the entire history of classical music, from such giants of the Romantic era as Verdi and Berlioz, to leading modern composers such as Elgar, Rachmaninoff, Vaughan Williams, and Stravinsky, to contemporary masters such as John Adams and Charles Wuorinen. For each piece, Steinberg includes a fascinating biographical account of the work's genesis, often spiced with wonderful asides, such as the true story of Mozart's Requiem--Salieri had nothing to do with the composition of it, nor did he poison Mozart, who most likely died of rheumatic fever. The author also includes an astute musical analysis of each piece, one that casual music lovers can easily appreciate and that musicians and more serious fans will find invaluable. The book also includes basic information such as the various movements of the work, the organization of the chorus and orchestra, and brief historical notes on early performances.
    More than twenty million Americans perform regularly in choirs or choruses. Choral Masterworks will appeal not only to concert goers and CD collectors, but also to this vast multitude of choral performers, an especially engaged and active community.

  • Don't expect to find here the usual cliches about suicide bombers and what drives them. In this unique study, Anne Marie Oliver and Paul Steinberg render the story of two intertwining, often clashing journeys. The authors lived for six months with a Palestinian refugee family in Gaza at the beginning of the intifada, and offer a gritty, poetic portrait of the time. They also provide an unrivalled documentary of the underground media they collected during the course of six years in the area. Although they could not have surmised as much at the beginning, they soon found themselves led through these media into the world of the suicide bomber. Their early study, notably, anticipated the spread of suicide missions years in advance.
    Dispensing with the platitudes and dogma that typify discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the authors show that the suicide bomber is a complex, contradictory construction, and can be explained neither in terms of cold efficacy nor sheer evil. Theirs is the only book on the subject to illustrate the ecstatic, intoxicating aspects of suicide missions, and provide extensive access to materials that have remained largely unseen in the West despite the fact that they have served as indispensable tools in the construction and propagation of the suicide bomber. The book contains 86 illustrations drawn from the authors' archive as well as numerous conversations with leaders and followers of Hamas, including a rare interview with a suicide bomber whose bomb failed to explode on an Israeli bus in Jerusalem.
    Here is an important and timely work that will challenge the way we think about the intifada, suicide bombers, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  • Michael Steinberg's 1996 volume The Symphony: A Reader's Guide received glowing reviews across America. It was hailed as "wonderfully clear...recommended warmly to music lovers on all levels" (Washington Post), "informed and thoughtful" (Chicago Tribune), and "composed by a master stylist" (San Francisco Chronicle). Seiji Ozawa wrote that "his beautiful and effortless prose speaks from the heart." Michael Tilson Thomas called The Symphony "an essential book for any concertgoer."
    Now comes the companion volume--The Concerto: A Listener's Guide. In this marvelous book, Steinberg discusses over 120 works, ranging from Johann Sebastian Bach in the 1720s to John Adams in 1994. Readers will find here the heart of the standard repertory, among them Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, eighteen of Mozart's piano concertos, all the concertos of Beethoven and Brahms, and major works by Mendelssohn, Schumann, Liszt, Bruch, Dvora'k, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Elgar, Sibelius, Strauss, and Rachmaninoff. The book also provides luminous introductions to the achievement of twentieth-century masters such as Arnold Schoenberg, Be'la Barto'k, Igor Stravinsky, Alban Berg, Paul Hindemith, Sergei Prokofiev, Aaron Copland, and Elliott Carter. Steinberg examines the work of these musical giants with unflagging enthusiasm and bright style. He is a master of capturing the expressive, dramatic, and emotional values of the music and of conveying the historical and personal context in which these wondrous works were composed. His writing blends impeccable scholarship, deeply felt love of music, and entertaining whimsy.
    Here then is a superb journey through one of music's richest and most diverse forms, with Michael Steinberg along as host, guide, and the best of companions.

  • A tour de force of writing and analysis, Down to Earth offers a sweeping history of our nation, one that for the first time places the environment at the very center of our story.
    Writing with marvelous clarity, historian Ted Steinberg sweeps across the centuries, re-envisioning the story of America as he recounts how the environment has played a key role in virtually every social, economic, and political development. Ranging from the colonists' attempts to impose order on the land to the modern efforts to sell the wilderness as a consumer good, packaged in national parks and Alaskan cruises, Steinberg reminds readers that many critical episodes in our history were, in fact, environmental events: the California Gold Rush, for example, or the great migration of African Americans to the North in the early twentieth century (in part the consequence of an insect infestation). Equally important, Steinberg highlights the ways in which we have envisioned nature, attempting to reshape and control it--from Thomas Jefferson's surveying plan that divided the national landscape into a grid, to the transformation of animals, crops, and even water into commodities (New Englanders started trading water rights by the early nineteenth century). From the Pilgrims to Disney World, Steinberg's narrative abounds with fascinating details and often disturbing insights into our interaction with the natural world.
    Few books truly change the way we see the past. Down to Earth is one of them: a vivid narrative that reveals the environment to be a powerful force in our history--a force that must be examined if we are truly to understand ourselves.

  • In the past two decades, Burma/Myanmar has become a front-page topic in newspapers across the world. This former British colony has one of the most secretive, corrupt, and repressive regimes on the planet, yet it houses a Nobel Peace Prize winner who is and in and out of house arrest. It has an ancient civilization that is mostly unknown to Westerners, yet it was an important--and legendary--theater in World War II. A picturesque land with mountain jungles and monsoon plains, it is one of the world's largest producers of heroin. It has a restive Buddhist monk population that has captured the attention of the west when it faced off against the regime. And it recently experienced one of the worst natural disasters in modern times, one effect of which was to lay bare the manifold injustices and cruelties of the regime.
    Burma/Myanmar: What Everyone Needs to Know offers a concise synthesis of this forbidding yet fascinating country. David Steinberg, one of the world's eminent authorities on the region, explains the current situation in detail yet contextualizes it in a wide-ranging survey of Burmese history and culture. Authoritative and balanced, it will be standard work on Burma for the general reading public.

  • Michael Steinberg's highly successful listener's guides--The Symphony and The Concerto--have been universally praised for their blend of captivating biography, crystal clear musical analysis, and delightful humor. Now Steinberg follows these two greatly admired volumes with Choral Masterworks: A Listener's Guide, the only such guide available to this most popular of musical forms.
    Here are more than fifty illuminating essays on the classic choral masterworks, ranging from Handel's Messiah, Bach's Mass in B Minor, and Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, to works by Haydn, Brahms, Mendelssohn, and many others. Steinberg spans the entire history of classical music, from such giants of the Romantic era as Verdi and Berlioz, to leading modern composers such as Elgar, Rachmaninoff, Vaughan Williams, and Stravinsky, to contemporary masters such as John Adams and Charles Wuorinen. For each piece, Steinberg includes a fascinating biographical account of the work's genesis, often spiced with wonderful asides, such as the true story of Mozart's Requiem--Salieri had nothing to do with the composition of it, nor did he poison Mozart, who most likely died of rheumatic fever. The author also includes an astute musical analysis of each piece, one that casual music lovers can easily appreciate and that musicians and more serious fans will find invaluable. The book also includes basic information such as the various movements of the work, the organization of the chorus and orchestra, and brief historical notes on early performances.
    More than twenty million Americans perform regularly in choirs or choruses. Choral Masterworks will appeal not only to concert goers and CD collectors, but also to this vast multitude of choral performers, an especially engaged and active community.

  • A tour de force of writing and analysis, Down to Earth offers a sweeping history of our nation, one that for the first time places the environment at the very center of our story.
    Writing with marvelous clarity, historian Ted Steinberg sweeps across the centuries, re-envisioning the story of America as he recounts how the environment has played a key role in virtually every social, economic, and political development. Ranging from the colonists' attempts to impose order on the land to the modern efforts to sell the wilderness as a consumer good, packaged in national parks and Alaskan cruises, Steinberg reminds readers that many critical episodes in our history were, in fact, environmental events: the California Gold Rush, for example, or the great migration of African Americans to the North in the early twentieth century (in part the consequence of an insect infestation). Equally important, Steinberg highlights the ways in which we have envisioned nature, attempting to reshape and control it--from Thomas Jefferson's surveying plan that divided the national landscape into a grid, to the transformation of animals, crops, and even water into commodities (New Englanders started trading water rights by the early nineteenth century). From the Pilgrims to Disney World, Steinberg's narrative abounds with fascinating details and often disturbing insights into our interaction with the natural world.
    Few books truly change the way we see the past. Down to Earth is one of them: a vivid narrative that reveals the environment to be a powerful force in our history--a force that must be examined if we are truly to understand ourselves.

  • As the waters of the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain began to pour into New Orleans, people began asking the big question--could any of this have been avoided? How much of the damage from Hurricane Katrina was bad luck, and how much was poor city planning?
    Steinberg's Acts of God is a provocative history of natural disasters in the United States. This revised edition features a new chapter analyzing the failed response to Hurricane Katrina, a disaster Steinberg warned could happen when the book first was published. Focusing on America's worst natural disasters, Steinberg argues that it is wrong to see these tragedies as random outbursts of nature's violence or expressions of divine judgment. He reveals how the decisions of business leaders and government officials have paved the way for the greater losses of life and property, especially among those least able to withstand such blows--America's poor, elderly, and minorities. Seeing nature or God as the primary culprit, Steinberg explains, has helped to hide the fact that some Americans are simply better able to protect themselves from the violence of nature than others.
    In the face of revelations about how the federal government mishandled the Katrina calamity, this book is a must-read before further wind and water sweep away more lives. Acts of God is a call to action that needs desperately to be heard.

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