09
Sep 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: Game Warden

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Associate Financial Operations Manager Leslie Green writes about Game Warden.

Game WardenWhen you grow up in a state whose tourism tagline is “Sportsman’s Paradise” it is not unusual to have a few hunters and fishers in the family. In fact, both of my parents grew up in North Louisiana and Arkansas hunting and fishing and they raised my brothers and me to enjoy those activities. I never really took to the hunting but I love to fish, both in the coastal marshes and in the inland waterways, wading, from a motorboat, or in a canoe or pirogue.

My parents have given LSU Press books as gifts ever since I started working here. Some years it is a little more challenging to find a book for my uncle who lives in his retirement on a ranch in rural Northern Arkansas. But the year this book came out, my father knew he had a winner.

My father’s college roommate, Aubrey Shepherd, is also an avid sportsman and he eventually became an outdoor newspaper man, like Jerald Horst. My dad often made the outdoors column in the Arkansas Gazette when he and Aubrey met up to go fishing or hunting. Guess who also got a copy of this book that year.

Buy your copy of Game Warden this year. Makes a great gift!

Buy this book now for 20% off and get free shipping on all orders over $50; use code 0480FAV at checkout.


03
Sep 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: Katrinaville Chronicles

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Acquisitions Editor Margaret Lovecraft writes about Katrinaville Chronicles.

Katrinaville Chronicles

A street in the Lower Ninth Ward is unrecognizable from its preflood appearance. © David G. Spielman

In early 2006, I moved from the position of marketing manager to acquisitions editor here at LSU Press. David Spielman’s book Katrinaville Chronicles was one of the first manuscripts I had the honor of sponsoring. There were lots of books quickly released in the twelve months following the destructive, massive August 29, 2005, hurricane and its tragic aftermath, but LSU Press characteristically took the long view in publishing on this subject, which literally hit home.

The immediacy of David’s photographs and e-mails, sent from day 3 to day 120 poststorm, has not lessened with time. They were striking when I first read his manuscript in 2006, when the book was published in 2007, and today, ten years after Katrina.

The book’s jacket copy, still, best conveys this indelible pictorial and verbal narrative:

When Hurricane Katrina approached New Orleans, photographer David G. Spielman decided to stay and weather the storm, assisting his Uptown neighbors, a community of Poor Clare nuns. Katrina passed, and as the flood waters filled the city, the scope of the devastation only gradually dawned on Spielman, who was cut off from outside communication. Faced with the greatest personal and professional challenge of his life, he determined to document the scene unfolding around him. He managed to secure a generator to power his laptop computer, and in the days, weeks, and months after August 29, 2005, he transmitted e-mails to hundreds of friends and clients and cautiously traversed the city taking photographs. “Katrinaville Chronicles” gathers Spielman’s images and observations, relating his unique perspective on and experience of a historic catastrophe.

Spielman never expected his e-mails to survive beyond the day he sent them. But his descriptions of what he was seeing, hearing, smelling, thinking, feeling, and fearing in post-Katrina New Orleans were forwarded again and again, even around the globe. He rants about political leaders and voices a deep concern for his city’s future, encouraging fellow citizens to see Katrina as an opportunity to improve upon the past. He tells of feeling overwhelmed, at a loss for words, unable to capture on film the individual tragedies manifested in home after destroyed home, many marked by death. His arresting black-and-white photographs record the details of the disaster on both a grand and an intimate scale. “Katrinaville Chronicles” is Spielman’s in-the-moment, very human response to and stunning visual record of—as he puts it—“a thing so huge I still can’t get my mind around it.”

Buy this book now for 20% off and get free shipping on all orders over $50; use code 0480FAV at checkout.


31
Aug 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: Painting a Hidden Life

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Editor Neal Novak writes about Painting a Hidden Life.

Painting a Hidden Life

When I first started to paint several years ago, I sought out the advice of my uncle, a wonderfully talented artist who has been paying the bills for years through gallery sales. “Don’t find your voice too soon,” he cautioned as he handed me a ragged book full of Richard Diebenkorn’s abstract landscapes. After a year of struggles, false starts, and gentle admonishments from my supportive my wife—“I love your work, but do you have to drip dioxazine purple on the dog?”—I finally began to understand just what he meant: be patient and enjoy becoming an artist.

Reading any and every art book I could get my hands on, I was thrilled when I learned the Press planned to publish Mechal Sobel’s Painting a Hidden Life: The Art of Bill Traylor. A sharecropper in rural Alabama for the better part of his life, Traylor moved to Montgomery in 1928, where for ten years he often sat on a street corner and created spare but powerful paintings that offered narratives of black life in the time of Jim Crow. Traylor’s work can be downright grim: rabid dogs, gun-toting hicks, and violent lynchings all figure prominently. At the same time, I can’t help but see a playful side in Traylor that evokes Matisse’s dancers and Miró’s surrealist figuration. It’s doubtful Traylor ever saw the work of these masters—Montgomery does bus boycotts better than modern art—but like all great artists, Traylor created a unique visual language that tells a complex story of a particular time and place.

I’m finally finding my voice as a painter. And though I might skew more Diebenkorn than Traylor, any progress I’ve made has come from a fuller appreciation of folk art and its ability to express ideas that are rarely found inside the walls of any gallery.

Buy this book now for 20% off and get free shipping on all orders over $50; use code 0480FAV at checkout.


26
Aug 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: The Earl of Louisiana

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Executive Editor Rand Dotson writes about The Earl of Louisiana.

The Earl of LouisianaA. J. Liebling, the celebrated New Yorker journalist, came to Louisiana in 1959 like dozens of other writers to cover the strange saga of the state’s governor, Earl K. Long, whose recent confinement to a state mental institution was making national news. Whether he had gone mad or not, Earl Long was sure to make a great story: like his brother Huey, he was a wildly entertaining populist and a master politician who rarely lost an election and was frequently at the center of one controversy or another. Elected three times to the governorship, Earl Long was already a Louisiana legend—“the last of the red hot papas” he dubbed himself—when his wife and political foes tried to curtail his reign by having him locked up in a Texas hospital for the mentally unstable. Their scheme ended in failure after Long arranged a transfer back to a Louisiana facility, fired the head of the state hospital system, and appointed an ally who immediately ordered his release.

At that point, most of the reporters covering this bizarre story departed. Liebling stayed, and over the following year, he wrote a series of dispatches about Long’s final days that chronicled an era of politics and political behavior so divorced from today’s political status quo that it is barely recognizable. Long was not just flamboyant, self-destructive, and outlandish; he was also someone that Liebling and his fans grew to admire as a serious advocate for array of progressive social issues, including black suffrage rights.

A year after Liebling’s stories about Long appeared in the New Yorker, he turned them into a book. Published initially in 1961, The Earl of Louisiana was nearly forgotten by 1970, when LSU Press republished it with a foreword by T. Harry Williams, an LSU historian and the author of the definitive biography of Huey Long. In print ever since, the book has gone on to garner national and international acclaim for both its subject matter and style, which is commonly cited as one of the first and finest examples of the sort of “new journalism” practiced later by writers like Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson.

Buy this book now for 20% off and get free shipping on all orders over $50; use code 0480FAV at checkout.


24
Aug 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: Mosquito Soldiers

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Managing Editor Lee Sioles writes about Mosquito Soldiers: Malaria, Yellow Fever, and the Course of the Civil War.

9780807135617One of the great things about working for a university press is that . . . you learn things. Our authors are experts: They know about hunting Nazis in Franco’s Spain or how animals were used by the military in World War II. They can tell you how to build a playground from scratch or what the word “gumbo” means (and several of them can tell you how to make one). They can explain why nudism had such a big vogue in France or why the secret southern society called the Knights of the Golden Circle failed in its attempt to annex Mexico. In fact, sometimes I find myself speaking with authority about something or other—and I almost can’t figure out where I got all this information on what seems a random topic.

Take mosquitos and the Civil War.

I think it’s fair to say I had never before thought much about this subject. If I had thought about it, I suppose I would have guessed that mosquitos might be an annoyance for troops sleeping in tents—or marching, on top of having to carry heavy rifles and wear wool uniforms.

But thanks to my work on Andrew McIlwaine Bell’s Mosquito Soldiers, I now know that, of the 620,000 soldiers who perished during the Civil War (still our most costly war ever), the overwhelming majority died—not from gunshot wounds or saber cuts—but from disease. And the most deadly of those diseases were two terrible mosquito-borne illnesses: malaria and yellow fever.

Bell’s slim, highly focused study contains a trove of amazing detail. The South’s huge mosquito population operated as a sort of mercenary third force that could work for or against either side, depending on the circumstances. The diseases could wipe out a whole army in a matter of weeks. Smart commanders took the threat into account in their planning, while others were taken completely by surprise by this menace. Bell reinterprets famous battles from this epidemiological perspective—and proves that the course of the Civil War would have run far differently without the massive presence of these tiny buzzing pests.

And now I know about this fascinating, frightening subject—and am ready to liven up any cocktail party by introducing the topic of mosquitos in combat, perhaps igniting a discussion of how environmental factors have acted, and will continue to act, as agents of change in history.

Buy this book now for 20% off and get free shipping on all orders over $50; use code 0480FAV at checkout.


19
Aug 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: The Herb Society of America’s Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Assistant Marketing Manager Kate Barton writes about The Herb Society of America’s Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs.

9780807132555The Herb Society of America’s Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs is a book that truly lives up to its name. Readers will find everything from growing tips to recipes, all in one handy resource. For the brave souls interested in starting their own herb garden, the gardening section offers information about where certain herbs thrive, when to pick them, and how they are best used. The sketches also help the inexperienced gardeners identify what the plant should look like.

I love browsing through the recipe section of the book and selecting recipes I would like to try. Herb Society members from all over the country contributed recipes, giving it the warmth and variety of a family cookbook where favorite recipes are shared. Readers can find all sorts of recipes for appetizers, salad dressings, soups, entrees, beverages, and desserts. The Pesto and Cream Cheese Round and the Rosemary Fizz punch are ones that I have earmarked for future parties. The Grilled Corn Dip would be great for those fall football tailgates. And Nannette’s Greek Orzo Salad sounds refreshing on these hot summer days. If you are thinking about starting an herb garden, or maybe just committing to using more fresh herbs in your cooking, this book is for you.

Buy this book now for 20% off and get free shipping on all orders over $50; use code 0480FAV at checkout. 


14
Aug 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: Dirtdobber Blues

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Senior Designer Michelle Neustrom writes about Dirtdobber Blues.

Dirtdobber BluesWhile doing jacket design research for Cyril Vetter’s novel about his almost-famous singer/songwriter friend Charles “Butch” Hornsby, I was surprised to find out that Butch was also an avid artist. Once he left the music business, Butch focused on creating paintings, sculptures, and collages using found objects from the woods or people’s trash. He used anything and everything: newspaper clippings, bottles, records, sign remnants, appliance parts, clothing, license plates, and other random discarded items. His chaotic collages are a stark contrast to his soulful guitar-playing musicians, but both strike a chord of authenticity.

Record BidnessWhen it came time to design the book cover, his painting titled Mommy, Look, The Man is Crying was chosen because it instantly conveyed music and emotion. And there was a nice open space in the top right corner for the title (always a plus). For this book, I didn’t want to just pick an appropriate typeface to go with the painting. Instead, I wanted to be like Butch and make something from nothing. I wanted to go out into the woods and gather materials and get my hands dirty!

Mommy Look, the Man is CryingWell, I didn’t make it as far as the woods–I searched around my office, found an old box, tore off the flaps, and painted the title Dirtdobber Blues on it with a pallet knife. It was not an exceptional piece of art, but it was more about the process and about being authentic. As a graphic designer, the majority of my time is spent on the computer. The physical process of making something is lost. Butch’s artwork prompted me to break from my normal routine and look at my surroundings in a different way.

I keep that poorly painted cardboard sign on top of a bookcase in my office (right next to a Goudchaux’s hat box, but that’s another story for another blog post). I see it everyday, and it reminds me to stop, observe, and get my hands dirty every once in a while.

Buy this book now for 20% off and get free shipping on all orders over $50; use code 0480FAV at checkout. 


12
Aug 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: Accalia and the Swamp Monster

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Associate Financial Operations Manager Leslie Green writes about Accalia and the Swamp Monster.

Creepy. That’s what I thought the first time I saw some of Kelli Scott Kelley’s work from this series at a gallery. But cool, and surreal. Very surreal. And then, after hearing her talk about the work, I thought, yep, very creepy and brilliant!

Not only is this work open to interpretation, that’s the whole point. It invites interpretation. And once one goes down the rabbit-hole of consciously thinking about interpretation, one must come to grips with the realization that this artwork, better than many, forces a person to see how his or her own experiences color everything in daily life. The other brilliant part of this book is that the images are very accessible, easy to read yet full of depth: simple drawings and paintings embellished with intriguing textiles.

It was exciting when this book project was presented to us at LSU Press. I knew the artist and had seen some of this work in person. While LSU Press is better known for its history lists, many of the staff here are keenly interested in contemporary art. We go to galleries and museums, and some of us are visual artists in addition to being editors and designers. And we’re proud of our fellow Louisiana artist.

I wholeheartedly recommend losing yourself in the experience that is Accalia and the Swamp Monster.

Buy this book now for 20% off and get free shipping on all orders over $50; use code 0480FAV at checkout. 


10
Aug 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: Casanova Was a Book Lover

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Assistant to the Director Erica Bossier writes about Casanova Was a Book Lover: And Other Naked Truths and Provocative Curiosities about the Writing, Selling, and Reading of Books.

Unlike many others at the Press, the focus of my work is on our books after they are printed, since subsidiary rights and permissions inquiries for scholarly books usually intensify after reviews of the books appear.

Working with our agents and the authors on these subrights is exciting, especially for translations. Think about all the countries around the world with books originally published by LSU Press!

Casanova Was a Book Lover: And Other Naked Truths and Provocative Curiosities about the Writing, Selling, and Reading of Books by John Maxwell Hamilton, which we published in 2000, provided me with some of my favorite subrights experiences in over 20 years working at the Press.  Publishers from many countries wanted to translate and print editions of this funny, informative, and accessible book, and that gave me the opportunity for new experiences with foreign publishers.

This book is definitely a book for people who love books and want to know about their history, so so it was especially satisfying to be involved and see the amazing range of positive responses and praise it earned.

Sometimes subsidiary rights can be frustrating, since we receive a lot of requests for consideration that fall through, but working on Casanova Was a Book Lover was exhilarating.

Buy this book now for 20% off and get free shipping on all orders over $50; use code 0480FAV at checkout.


05
Aug 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: Journalism’s Roving Eye

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Director MaryKatherine Callaway writes about Journalism’s Roving Eye: A History of American Foreign Reporting.

Journalism's Roving EyeOne of the joys of scholarly book publishing is bringing out a truly magisterial volume. The research, reflection, and rewriting that goes into such works is evident, and publishers know that another book on the topic cannot possibly eclipse the words in front of you.

Journalism’s Roving Eye fits this description. At 680 pages, its heft alone indicates a trove of information that, combined with Hamilton’s lively writing style, offers the definitive history of America’s foreign correspondents.

Lauded with a trifecta of prizes—the AJHA Book of the Year Award, the AEJMC Tankard Book Award, and the Goldsmith Book Prize—Hamilton’s book sweeps across history’s events and those who reported them, from Benjamin Franklin Bache (grandson of the other Benjamin Franklin) to Dorothy Thompson (one of the first female foreign correspondents) to David Halberstam (noted Vietnam reporter). Hamilton recounts the stories behind the reports to give us a complete history of foreign news-gathering, and creates a book that will stand as definitive for generations to come.

Buy this book now for 20% off and get free shipping on all orders over $50; use code 0480FAV at checkout.