Shelf Life

By Steven Till

Story Time

Myth in Early Northwest Europe
Edited by Stephen O. Glosecki
(2007: ACMRS)

book1After the fall of Rome in 475 A.D., Western Europe fractured into thousands of isolated communities. As networks of trade were severed and the exchange of knowledge dried up, the majority of the population became self-sufficient, never traveling far outside their own small settlements. This brought a resurgence of the old, pagan religions that reigned before Christianity appeared—religions in which myth and superstition were prominent components. Myth in Early Northwest Europe, a collection of 15 essays edited by the late Stephen O. Glosecki (English), examines classical, Celtic, Carolingian, Old Norse, and Old English traditions from 500 to 1000 A.D., delves into current myth theory, and explores the interaction between Christianity and native religions. Glosecki, who specialized in Old English, Beowulf, and Viking literature, passed away in 2007 after a long struggle with cancer.

2008 UAB Discussion Book

Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change
By Elizabeth Kolbert
(2006: Bloomsbury)

book2In this powerful overview of climate-change science, New Yorkerstaff writer Elizabeth Kolbert travels the planet to interview key actors in a global drama. From noted scientists to displaced native Alaskans, Kolbert seeks out sources who bring the issue's debates to life. Her vivid arguments and compelling opening description of a besieged Arctic island have invited comparisons to Rachel Carson's environmental classic The Silent Spring. On August 18, Kolbert will visit UAB to deliver a presentation to all incoming freshmen, followed by a panel discussion featuring Kolbert, Yale economist Robert O. Mendelsohn, and University of Michigan emeritus geophysics professor Henry Pollack.

DNA ASAP

Medical Genetics at a Glance, second edition
By Dorian Pritchard and Bruce Korf
(2007: Wiley)

book3"Medicine is currently in a state of transformation, created by the convergence of two major aspects of technological advance," observe Pritchard and Korf (Genetics) in this overview of the field of medical genetics. "The first is the explosion in information technology and the second the rapidly expanding science of genetics." The authors simplify complex scientific principles and clinical material for a target audience that includes medical students as well as students of molecular biology, genetics, and genetic counseling. This new edition explores the latest approaches and techniques in an easy-to-understand format that is packed with graphs, tables, illustrations, and vivid examples.

Confronting a Killer

AIDS Therapy, third edition
By Michael S. Saag, Raphael Dolin, and Henry Masur
(2007: Churchill Livingstone)

book4Since it was first recognized on June 5, 1981, the AIDS epidemic has become one of the most destructive in recorded history, claiming more than 25 million lives in less than three decades. Research groups around the world have developed a host of therapies to help patients—so many, in fact, that clinicians are often unsure about what course to follow. In this latest edition of their definitive reference work, Saag, director of UAB's Center for AIDS Research, and co-authors Dolin and Masur offer comprehensive guidance for clinicians on the latest treatments for HIV/AIDS and explore the major aspects of current standards of care. The new edition also offers readers online updates so they can stay abreast of new treatment guidelines between printed editions.

Thought Experiments

Establishing Medical Reality: Essays in the Metaphysics and Epistemology of Biomedical Science
Edited by Harold Kincaid and Jennifer McKitrick
(2007: Springer)

book5Philosophers have always helped define the proper balance between the potential value of life-saving treatments and the potentially life-threatening experiments needed to produce them. But bioethics is not the only arena for philosophy in the vast intellectual realm of modern medicine, as this collection of essays makes clear. Editors Harold Kincaid (Philosophy) and Jennifer McKitrick focus the lenses of epistemology and metaphysics on medicine, arguing that it is about time this "most practically important of the sciences" received the philosophical treatment accorded to economics, physics, and biology. Their contributors uncover fresh dimensions to familiar debates, including the nature of disease, experimental medicine, race, gender, and mental illness.

I Think I Can

Distributed Cognition and the Will: Individual Volition and Social Context
Edited by Don Ross, David Spurrett, Harold Kincaid, and G. Lynn Stephens
(2007: MIT Press)

I Think I CanIf a man chooses not to steal because the law forbids stealing, is he exercising his will? If a woman goes to Paris instead of Rome because her friends recommend Paris, who made the decision? Some of our basic conceptions about choice and will have been challenged by recent scientific findings demonstrating that decision-making is impacted by a wide range of factors "above" and "below" the level of the individual. In this new work, Ross, Kincaid, and Stephens, all of UAB's Department of Philosophy (and, in Ross's case, the Department of Finance, Economics, and Quantitative Methods), along with their South African colleague Spurrett, bring together leading philosophers and behavioral scientists to consider the impact macro-scale societal and cultural issues and micro-scale dynamics of the mind and brain have on the traditional view of the conscious will. They also examine the connections between macro- and micro-scale phenomena in the self-guidance and self-regulation of personal behavior, along with the implications for our sense of freedom and responsibility.

Battle Lines

Well Satisfied With My Position: The Civil War Journal of Spencer Bonsall
Edited by Michael A. Flannery and Katherine H. Oomens
(2007: Southern Illinois University Press)

book7Surveying the blood-soaked fields stretched before him during the Battle of Fredericksburg, Confederate general Robert E. Lee remarked, "It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it." Spencer Bonsall, a humble member of the opposing army, would certainly have agreed—at least with the first part of that statement. A hospital steward serving in the 81st Pennsylvania Infantry, Bonsall was an eyewitness both to the dreary routine of military camp life and to the aftermath of some of the most dramatic battles of the Civil War. His handwritten journal, which has been in the collection of UAB's Reynolds Historical Library since its inception in 1958, appears here for the first time in print. Covering much of 1862 and early 1863 (before Bonsall's horse was shot out from under him on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg), the journal details the everyday life of a common soldier, outlines the engagements of the 81st, and summarizes the Battle of Fredericksburg and the Peninsula Campaign. Michael Flannery, associate director for Historical Collections at UAB, and Katherine Oomens, a former library associate at the Reynolds Historical Library, have supplemented the original narrative with notes, maps, illustrations, and an epilogue covering Bonsall's postwar life back in Pennsylvania.

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