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71.

THE GREENING OF OZ

Robert Fraga
Paperback

Price: $11.18

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On May 4, 2007, an EF5 tornado destroyed the town of Greensburg in south central Kansas. In the desperate days immed…

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On May 4, 2007, an EF5 tornado destroyed the town of Greensburg in south central Kansas. In the desperate days immediately after the catastrophe, town leaders-including the ex-cop mayor, the city manager, and an environmentalist from Colorado - launched a program to rebuild Greensburg green. Just like the name of the town. Before the tornado, Greensburg was slowly dying, a village about to be buried in the Great Plains. Now it is a mecca for eco-tourists. Author Robert Fraga taught math for 20 years in Egypt, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. Later he taught at Ripon College in Wisconsin and Baker University in Kansas. His two books on mathematics are entitled Calculus Problems for a New Century and War Stories from Applied Math. He and his wife Jean Grant, parents of two grown children, live in Lawrence, Kan., and the Dordogne region of France.


72.

ME THE PEOPLE

Kevin Bleyer
Hardcover

Price: $14.30

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The United States Constitution promised a More Perfect Union. It’s a shame no one bothered to write a more perfect C…

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The United States Constitution promised a More Perfect Union. It’s a shame no one bothered to write a more perfect Constitution—one that didn’t trigger more than two centuries of arguments about what the darn thing actually says.

Until now.

Perfection is at hand. A new, improved Constitution is here. And you are holding it.

But first, some historical context: In the eighteenth century, a lawyer named James Madison gathered his friends in Philadelphia and, over four long months, wrote four short pages: the Constitution of the United States of America. Not bad.

In the nineteenth century, a president named Abraham Lincoln freed an entire people from the flaws in that Constitution by signing the Emancipation Proclamation. Pretty impressive.

And in the twentieth century, a doctor at the Bethesda Naval Hospital delivered a baby—but not just any baby. Because in the twenty-first century, that baby would become a man, that man would become a patriot, and that patriot would rescue a country . . . by single-handedly rewriting that Constitution.

Why? We think of our Constitution as the painstakingly designed blueprint drawn up by, in Thomas Jefferson’s words, an “assembly of demigods” who laid the foundation for the sturdiest republic ever created. The truth is, it was no blueprint at all but an Etch A Sketch, a haphazard series of blunders, shaken clean and redrawn countless times during a summer of petty debates, drunken ramblings, and desperate compromise—as much the product of an “assembly of demigods” as a confederacy of dunces.

No wonder George Washington wished it “had been made more perfect.” No wonder Benjamin Franklin stomached it only “with all its faults.” The Constitution they wrote is a hot mess. For starters, it doesn’t mention slavery, or democracy, or even Facebook; it plays favorites among the states; it has typos, smudges, and misspellings; and its Preamble, its most famous passage, was written by a man with a peg leg. Which, if you think about it, gives our Constitution hardly a leg to stand on.

[Pause for laughter.]

Now stop laughing. Because you hold in your hands no mere book, but the most important document of our time. Its creator, Daily Show writer Kevin Bleyer, paid every price, bore every burden, and saved every receipt in his quest to assure the salvation of our nation’s founding charter. He flew to Greece, the birthplace of democracy. He bused to Philly, the home of independence. He went toe-to-toe (face-to-face) with Scalia. He added nightly confabs with James Madison to his daily consultations with Jon Stewart. He tracked down not one but two John Hancocks—to make his version twice as official. He even read the Constitution of the United States.

So prepare yourselves, fellow patriots, for the most significant literary event of the twenty-first, twentieth, nineteenth, and latter part of the eighteenth centuries. Me the People won’t just form a More Perfect Union. It will save America.


73.

EATING BITTERNESS

Michelle Loyalka
Hardcover

Price: $21.79

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Every year over 200 million peasants flock to China’s urban centers, providing a profusion of cheap labor that helps…

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Every year over 200 million peasants flock to China’s urban centers, providing a profusion of cheap labor that helps fuel the country’s staggering economic growth. Award-winning journalist Michelle Dammon Loyalka follows the trials and triumphs of eight such migrants—including a vegetable vendor, an itinerant knife sharpener, a free-spirited recycler, and a cash-strapped mother—offering an inside look at the pain, self-sacrifice, and uncertainty underlying China’s dramatic national transformation. At the heart of the book lies each person’s ability to “eat bitterness”—a term that roughly means to endure hardships, overcome difficulties, and forge ahead. These stories illustrate why China continues to advance, even as the rest of the world remains embroiled in financial turmoil. At the same time, Eating Bitterness demonstrates how dealing with the issues facing this class of people constitutes China’s most pressing domestic challenge.


74.

THE ALEPPO CODEX

Matti Friedman
Hardcover

Price: $14.21

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In an age when physical books matter less and less, here is a thrilling story about a book that meant everything. Th…

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In an age when physical books matter less and less, here is a thrilling story about a book that meant everything. This true-life detective story unveils the journey of a sacred text—the tenth-century annotated bible known as the Aleppo Codex—from its hiding place in a Syrian synagogue to the newly founded state of Israel. Based on Matti Friedman’s independent research, documents kept secret for fifty years, and personal interviews with key players, the book proposes a new theory of what happened when the codex left Aleppo, Syria, in the late 1940s and eventually surfaced in Jerusalem, mysteriously incomplete.

The codex provides vital keys to reading biblical texts. By recounting its history, Friedman explores the once vibrant Jewish communities in Islamic lands and follows the thread into the present, uncovering difficult truths about how the manuscript was taken to Israel and how its most important pages went missing. Along the way, he raises critical questions about who owns historical treasures and the role of myth and legend in the creation of a nation.


75.

LABOR RISING

Daniel Katz, Richard Greenwald
Paperback

Price: $15.22

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When Wisconsin governor Scott Walker threatened the collective bargaining rights of the state’s public sector employ…

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When Wisconsin governor Scott Walker threatened the collective bargaining rights of the state’s public sector employees in early 2011, the massive protests that erupted in response put the labor movement back on the nation’s front pages. It was a fleeting reminder of a not-so-distant past when the “labor question”—and the power of organized labor—was part and parcel of a century-long struggle for justice and equality in America.

Now, on the heels of the expansive Occupy Wall Street movement and midterm election outcomes that are encouraging for the labor movement, the lessons of history are a vital handhold for the thousands of activists and citizens everywhere who sense that something has gone terribly wrong. This pithy and accessible volume provides readers with an understanding of the history that is directly relevant to the economic and political crises working people face today, and points the way to a revitalized twenty-first-century labor movement. With original contributions from leading labor historians, social critics, and activists, Labor Rising makes crucial connections between the past and present, and then looks forward, asking how we might imagine a different future for all Americans.


76.

CIVIC EMPOWERMENT IN AN AGE OF CORPORATE GREED

Edward C Lorenz
Hardcover

Price: $26.16

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A thought-provoking investigation of an urgent issue facing American communities today, Edward C. Lorenz’s book exam…

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A thought-provoking investigation of an urgent issue facing American communities today, Edward C. Lorenz’s book examines the intersection of corporate irresponsibility and civic engagement. At the heart of this case study is a group of firms responsible for seven of the most contaminated Superfund sites in the United States, the largest food contamination accident in U.S. history, stunning stock and financial manipulations, and a massive shift of jobs off shore. In the face of these egregious environmental, employee, and investor abuses, several communities impacted by these firms organized to confront and combat failures in corporate and bureaucratic leadership, winning notable victories over major financiers, lobbyists, and indifferent or ineffective government agencies. A critical analysis of public and private leadership, business and economic ethics, and civic life, this book concludes with a stirring blueprint for other communities facing similarly overwhelming opposition.


77.

BUYING AMERICA BACK

Alan Uke
Paperback

Price: $11.11

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The trade gap between the United States and China is a perennial news staple. Our commonplace goods are manufactured in such far-flung places as Honduras, Mexico, and Korea. Why has the distinction "Made in America" become such a rarity? The cynics always talk about the "hard economic realities" of our times. They suggest that American manufacturing has reached the end of its road; this is the price we pay for "globalization". Alan Uke sees it differently. Buying America Back outlines his plan to turn back the tide with a grass-roots movement to promote American industry by helping American consumers have a better understanding of where their goods (and services) come from. Buying America Back emphasizes the importance of grooming a culture of self-informed consumers in the U.S.A., while reinforcing this with initiatives from the federal government. Surprising and enlightening, Buying America Back encourages us to take action to serve our part as responsible consumers and conscientious citizens. American prosperity is not a thing of the past, and this book shows us the way back!

San Diego entrepreneur Uke presents a straightforward thesis in this engaging policy proposal: consumer thirst for cheap imports has strangled U.S. manufacturing employment and stifled our economy. The manufacturing sector, which lost 5.2 million jobs from 2000 to 2010, accounts for only 10% of the economy compared with its dominant role in 1965. Uke explodes the myth of a shift to high-tech output and notes that Germany and other countries with higher labor costs than ours compete successfully with Asia. He argues convincingly that the offshore exodus of production facilities entails the loss of high-paying spinoff jobs, the departure of R&D facilities and other centers of innovation, and the erosion of service-sector jobs. The proper response, Uke plausibly argues, is not across-the-board protectionism or isolationism, but empowering the consumer by toughening disclosure of country-of-origin product data. Accurate disclosure would enable consumers to reward local producers or those with high local-product content. Uke perceptively points out that this approach is increasingly popular with food, and prevalent in many other countries. Determined consumer leadership on this issue, he maintains, could goad Congress into action and prompt corporations to revive domestic production. Uke’s refreshingly invective-free writing and hands-on manufacturing experience compel our consideration; his proposal is simple and his goals are lofty. Attention should be paid.


78.

THE SHAREHOLDER VALUE MYTH

Lynn Stout
Paperback

Price: $10.28

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Executives, investors, and the business press routinely chant the mantra that corporations are required to “maximize…

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Executives, investors, and the business press routinely chant the mantra that corporations are required to “maximize shareholder value.” In this pathbreaking book, renowned corporate expert Lynn Stout debunks the myth that corporate law mandates shareholder primacy. Stout shows how shareholder value thinking endangers not only investors but the rest of us as well, leading managers to focus myopically on short-term earnings; discouraging investment and innovation; harming employees, customers, and communities; and causing companies to indulge in reckless, sociopathic, and irresponsible behaviors. And she looks at new models of corporate purpose that better serve the needs of investors, corporations, and society.


79.

SEASON OF THE WITCH

David Talbot
Hardcover

Price: $18.48

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In a kaleidoscopic narrative, bestselling author David Talbot recounts the gripping story of San Francisco in the tu…

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In a kaleidoscopic narrative, bestselling author David Talbot recounts the gripping story of San Francisco in the turbulent years between 1967 and 1982—and of the extraordinary men and women who led to the city’s ultimate rebirth and triumph.

Season of the Witch is the first book to fully capture the dark magic of San Francisco in this breathtaking period, when the city radically changed itself—and then revolutionized the world. The cool gray city of love was the epicenter of the 1960s cultural revolution. But by the early 1970s, San Francisco’s ecstatic experiment came crashing down from its starry heights. The city was rocked by savage murder sprees, mysterious terror campaigns, political assassinations, street riots, and finally a terrifying sexual epidemic. No other city endured so many calamities in such a short time span.

David Talbot takes us deep into the riveting story of his city’s ascent, decline, and heroic recovery. He draws intimate portraits of San Francisco’s legendary demons and saviors: Charles Manson, Patty Hearst and the Symbionese Liberation Army, Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin, Bill Graham, Herb Caen, the Cockettes, Harvey Milk, Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple, Joe Montana and the Super Bowl 49ers. He reveals how the city emerged from the trials of this period with a new brand of “San Francisco values,” including gay marriage, medical marijuana, immigration sanctuary, universal health care, recycling, renewable energy, consumer safety, and a living wage mandate. Considered radical when they were first introduced, these ideas have become the bedrock of decent society in many parts of the country, and exemplify the ways that the city now inspires us toward a live-and-let-live tolerance, a shared sense of humanity, and an openness to change.

As a new generation of activists and dreamers seeks its own path to a more enlightened future, Season of the Witch—with its epic tale of the wild and bloody birth of San Francisco values—offers both inspiration and cautionary wisdom.


80.

WORLD ON THE EDGE

Lester Brown
Hardcover

Price: $8.77

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In this urgent time, World on the Edge calls out the pivotal environmental issues and how to solve them now. We are …

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In this urgent time, World on the Edge calls out the pivotal environmental issues and how to solve them now. We are in a race between political and natural tipping points. Can we close coal-fired power plants fast enough to save the Greenland ice sheet and avoid catastrophic sea level rise? Can we raise water productivity fast enough to halt the depletion of aquifers and avoid water-driven food shortages? Can we cope with peak water and peak oil at the same time? These are some of the issues Lester R. Brown skillfully distils in World on the Edge. Bringing decades of research and analysis into play, he provides the responses needed to reclaim our future.

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