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Some more of the nominations we received:

Thomas Nagel, The Last Word
Simon Frith, Performing Rites
Leszak Kolokowski, God Owes Us Nothing

-- Alexander Star

Eric Hobsbawm, The age of extremism: A history of the world, 1914-1991
Richard Kluger, Ashes to ashes: America's hundred-year cigarette war, the public health, and the unabashed triumph of Philip Morris
Rober M. Levine, Vale of tears: Revisiting the Canudos massacre in Northeastern Brazil, 1893-1897

-- Juan Jose Baldrich

Camille Paglia, Sexual Personae
Harold Bloom, The Western Canon
Colin Falck, Myth, Truth & Literature

-- Bryan Castaneda

David Halberstam, The Fifties
The Book of J

-- Judith D. Biersdorfer


White's book utterly shatters prior modes of sociological thinking, building an architecture for future sociology that towers over anything that's been done hitherto -- though it's a structure without an easy entrance, and the only way to reach the upper floors is to climb the stairs.

Sacks's book, a compilation of lectures delivered decades ago, is a gold mine for micro-sociologists looking for new research leads.

Tilly tidily wraps up European history in 2-dimension diagrams and a theory of the interplay between the need for wealth and the need for force by states struggling to survive geopolitical competition. A "must" for anyone whose interest in history outpaces his ability to remember details.

-- David Gibson

Byron M. Roth, Prescription for Failure

Roth's book is an unflinching analysis of the failed assumptions most social research has been based on since the 1960's. Anyone who really wants to understand how we wind up with children who commit cold-blooded murder should read it.

-- Mark Talmont

Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct
Bernard Williams, Shame and Necessity
Patrick Murray, ed, Reflections on Commercial Life

-- Jeffrey Bivens

Charles Murray, The Bell Curve

The Bell Curve shows us once again that statitics are truely like a lamp post--a student uses them for illumination and a drunk for support.

-- Jeffrey Roberts

Allan Gibbard, Wise Choices, Apt Feelings: a Theory of Normative Judgment
Brian Skyrms, Evolution of the Social Contract

-- Brad Armendt

Slavoj Zizek, The Sublime Object of Ideology
Pierre Klossowski, Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle (Eng. trans.)
Jean Hyppolite, Logic and Existence (Eng. trans.)

Zizek's book was published in 1989, true, but I think no theorist has had more impact in the 90's than did Zizek's, and recognition of his genius only really came in the middle to later parts of the decade. Certainly, it was (in certain circles) the most influential book of the 90's.

-- John Hartmann

John Milbank, Theology and Social Theory
Brian Stock, Augustine the Reader

-- James K.A. Smith

Antonio DeMasio, Descartes' Error
Gerald Edelman , Bright Air, Brilliant Fire

-- Michael Giberson

Julia Annas, The Morality of Happiness
Martha Nussbaum, The Fragility of Goodness

-- Jen Baker

Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel
James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State
John Rawls, Political Liberalism

-- Chris Bertram

Manuel Castells, The Power of Identity
Richard Sennett, The Corrosion of Character
John Brockman, ed., The Third Culture

I choose Castells', or more specifically the third in his Information Age trilogy, because I find its attempt to relate the abstract world of computers and networks, to the specific world of communities, histories nations and cultures, both compelling and hopeful. There is something beyond Jihad vs. McWorld, after all.

I choose Richard Sennett's book, not so much because I agree with it, but because I think it is a model of popular academic writing - wrong-headed, but beautifully crafted and argued. Anybody who's ever thought that social theory might have some insights to give to the lay reader, should read The Corrosion of Character a hundred times.

Brockman may be a 21st century charlatan, but he's doing his tricks at exactly the right space and time - the need to keep scientists translating their findings to a public that teeters between veneration and phobia about what they do. The Third Culture - well-edited interviews showing the full range of paradigm debates in biology, physics, chemistry, consciousness studies, etc - is a model of popularisation.

-- Pat Kane

Jeffrey D. Berhard, MD, Itch

This is the first (and still the only) comprehensive medical textbook about itching. There's some poetry and a touch of humor in it to offset the heartbreak of pruritus.


Carol J. Adams, The Sexual Politics of Meat
Stanley Hauerwas, Suffering Presence
Stephen Carter, The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law and Politics Trivialize Religious Devotion

Besides being a good, fun read, this book united feminism and Christian theology with the animal rights movement, thus expanding the interest in animals and ethics beyond its previously limited scope.

America's most influential theologian kept getting better in the 1990s, and this book on medical ethics argued that questions of health, death, and disease inevitably raise issues about what it means to belong to a community, to tell stories about yourself, and to be dependent on others. Hauerwas helped shift medical ethics from quandary cases and the quest for abstract first principles to the need to attend to narratives concerning how individuals and institutions alike make sense of their own limits.

Along with George Marsden's The Soul of the American University, this book put the issue of religion and education on the academic map, where it will continue to stay as long as politicians argue about how best to restore character and fundamental values to the classroom. Carter showed himself to be one of America's most influential African-American scholars, capable of writing with ease across the disciplinary boundaries of law, theology, and cultural criticism.

--Stephen H. Webb

Ulric Neisser, The Rising Curve: Long Term Gains in IQ and related measures
Milfrod Wolpoff and Rachel Caspari, Race and Human Evolution: A Fatal Attraction
C. R. Gallistel, The Organization of Learning

--Jeremy Genovese

Christine Boufis and Victoria Olsen, On the Market

In 1990, finishing my first masters, I looked forward to beginning a new career in academia; and now, a decade--and a mere five years after completing my terminal degree--later, I've finally landed that coveted part-time adjunct position at a community college; since 1997, part of what's made this experience bearable is the book On the Market, edited by Christine Boufis and Victoria Olsen;they've been in my position;the stories they've chosen, ranging from heartbreaking to marmy, and whose single criteria for the essays was to recognize one's "graduate work [was] an exercise in self-development," helped me to realize I'm not simply among good company: I'm actually quite trendy.

--Bob & Jayne

Mark Lilla, Vico
Pierre Manent, City of Man
Luc Ferry, Homo Aestheticus

--Eric Goldman

Martha Hodes, Illicit Relations :Black Men and White Women
Simon Schaeffer, The Sciences of Elightenment
Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism

The works I have chosen vary both in content and method. The first is a work of social history. The author expertly combed through court documents, newspapers, etc. creating a narrative that's both imaginative and factual.

The second demonstrates that using Foucauldian thought need not be synonmous with slipshod research and inaccessable language.

In this work Edward Said thought is more sophisticated than Orientalism

--Micheline Gros-Jean

Greg Dening, Mr.Bligh'Bad Language: Passion, Power, and Theatre on the Bounty

Dening's book showed me how fascinating the issue of representation can be just when I was losing my interest in it.

--Hsin-chih Chen

Nicholas A. Basbanes, A Gentle Madness

In response to your invitation I want to laud Nicholas A Basbanes' A GENTLE MADNESS, Henry Holt, 1995. Its reading has given me great comfort and courage to be faithful to the printed book with which I have been in continuous contact as bookseller, publisher, consultant, and collector since 1933. I found sustenance to my conviction in the quotations of Walter Lippencott who has been Director (without the adjective "editorial") of Princeton University Press since 1986, and Lindsay Waters who is (according to the "1999-2000 Directory of the Association of American University Presses") an *Executive Editor* of Harvard University Press Both of these men are quote on Page 16 of L.F. July/August 2000.

--Lyman Newlin

Stanley Fish, Doing What Comes Naturally

Stanley Fish, The Trouble with Principle

Stanley Fish, There's no such Thing as Free Speech and it's a good thing, too

Stanley Fish is America's utmost intellectual, argumentative machine if someone. His wit swims deep and broad. He talks back, explains and debates, with joy and humour. He is a pedagogical genius as a writer.

--Ky–sti Niemel”

Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History

Published by Beacon Press in 1995, Trouillot's book is a subtle yet revelatory examination of how "History" is made, by the actors as well as the narrators -- and one of the author's most telling points is that these two roles are often played by the same people.

Not only have the "doers of deeds" grounded their actions in their own narratives, but the writers of narratives have also, by the very act of narration, become actors on the stage of history, with powerful effects on the course of the plot. Thus his call for scholarly participation in society in the role of "public intellectual," which comes at the end of the book, is solidly grounded in his theoretical analysis, rather than a mere hortatory afterthought.

Throughout, Trouillot charts a brilliantly justified common-sensical path between the rocks of postmodern constructivism and mindless literalism. Using concrete examples from the Holocaust to the Alamo, the author had produced a provocative, seminal work of scholarship.

--James E. Crisp

Harvey Sacks, Lectures on conversation
Stanley Fish, Doing what comes naturally

--T. Halkowski

Bonnie C. Wade, Imaging Sound: An Ethnomusicological Study of Music, Art, and Culture in Mughal India
Wheeler M. Thakston, The Jahangirnama: Memoirs of Jahangir, Emperor of India

The Jahangirnama is an extraordinary document, and its translation into English is long overdue. OUP has gone all out in their production of this book and I commend them for it. I can't think of a book I've purchased in the past 10 years that I've spent so much time reading, flipping through, thinking about.

--Arne Adolfsen

Craig Calhoun, Habermas and the Public Sphere
Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities

--Graham Cook

Michael S. Kimmel, Manhood in America
David Reynolds, Beneath the American Renaissance
Teresa A. Goddu, Gothic America

--Coleman Hutchison

Jack Goody, The East in the West
Alison Winter, Mesmerized
Martha C. Nussbaum, The Therapy of Desire

--Gilbert Kirouac

Daniel C. Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea
Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, Higher Superstition
John M. Ellis, Literature Lost

The importance of Dennett's book can be illustrated by a quote from the author himself: "If I were to give an award for the single best idea anyone has ever had, I'd give it to Darwin, ahead of Newton and Einstein and everyone else." Nearly everyone, including most biologists, are ignorant of the full reach and importance of Natural Selection.

Gross and Levitt's book clearly and trenchantly showed that the academic postmodern emperors had no clothes while serving as a stimulus for Alan Sokal's splendid hoax. Perhaps now, higher education can reclaim a genuinely serious mien.

And if Gross and Levitt's efforts in the service of science is not enough, put next to it on your shelf of necessary books from the 90s Ellis's similar service for the humanities--Literature Lost.

--Charles Stores

E. O. Wilson, Consilence
Camille Paglia, Sexual Personae
Steven Pinker, How The Mind Works

e.o. wilson grasps and predicted the joining of social science and biological science. this concept will grow and increase our knowledge in the social sciences as to revolutionize many of the current beliefs. many social scientists will begin to look as if they have pushed theories simply to further their political adgendas instead of searching for truth.

--Frank M. Craig


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