JHU Press Blog

Unearthing rare images and unique stories of African American Civil War soldiers

by cmt | Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 9:14 AM

Guest post by Ronald S. Coddington

After my second book, Faces of the Confederacy , debuted in 2008, colleagues and friends asked me about my next project. I answered that African American soldiers would be the focus of my next volume.

My reply was met with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Two bits of conventional wisdom surfaced in their comments. First, that finding enough wartime photographs of identified soldiers would prove impossible. Second, that the stories of African American soldiers are uninteresting because so few fought in battles.

I can appreciate both points. The individual black experience in the Civil War has been underappreciated. Most Americans today know it through Glory , the movie about the famed Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry and its courageous yet tragic assault on Fort Wagner, or from scant chapters in history books illustrated with the same few photographs of unnamed black men in blue uniforms. Despite the groundbreaking service of roughly 200,000 African Americans in the Union army and navy during the war, the contributions of a far smaller group of Buffalo Soldiers in post-war America enjoy...Read More

The Intersection of Work and Friendship

by bjs | Monday, August 27, 2012 - 11:52 AM

By Janet Gilbert Journals Direct Response and Renewals Senior Coordinator Sometimes, you get to work on a journal you just can’t put down. For me, Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics: A Journal of Qualitative Research (NIB) has been one of those from its inception here at the Press, because of its captivating combination of first-person narratives and substantive research. About a year ago, after reading the journal’s articles on psychiatric hospitalization in preparation for writing some of its marketing materials, I thought, this is where the rubber meets the road in health care —this is where research meets real life; where technology intersects with humanity. This became the essence of the messaging for NIB . And ordinarily, that would just be a work thing—one would compartmentalize it, and move on. But that’s not to be my experience, evidently. NIB published an issue this year on living organ donors and, Carla Hubbard, a co-worker, recently underwent a kidney transplant thanks to a living donor. Thankfully, Carla is home resting now, but I shared her story through a column in The (Baltimore) Sun last week .Read More

How many people does it take to write a bestselling textbook?

by cmt | Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 11:00 AM

Guest post by Nova J. Silvy

How do you get 119 individuals to work on the same book? It takes professionalism, persistence, and dedication, plus an incredible passion for wildlife. Those 119 people provided expertise for the 37 chapters of the seventh edition of The Wildlife Society’s The Wildlife Techniques Manual . The volumes would not have been completed without the hard work of a huge number of people, and I am deeply grateful to these authors for their chapters, PowerPoint presentations, figures, and sample questions.

Wildlife professionals and students must constantly adapt to new challenges, technologies, and issues. But when does a landmark text need to be revised and what goes into the decision to revise a major textbook? In this case, the decision to reorganize the material and develop a two-volume set was made after major university users of the Techniques Manual were surveyed to determine what chapters they were using in university courses and for what type of courses. The surveys identified two major use areas: (1) courses in wildlife research techniques and (2) courses in wildlife habitat management techniques. Respondents indicated that most wildlife students...Read More

Tales from the assistant's desk: theories of peer review

by cmt | Monday, August 20, 2012 - 10:06 AM

by Jennifer Malat, Acquisitions Assistant Before I started to work in academic publishing, I thought of peer review as that high school English class staple “swap your essay with a classmate for comments.” You look over someone else’s essay, fix some typos, and correct any egregious errors. If more people read your essay, more mistakes would be corrected. Simple, right? But in academia the process is more complicated. Many debates exist regarding the best type of peer review, from anonymous reviewers to open peer review. Does anonymity encourage honesty or hurt open scholarship? “Peer” can also be a tricky definition. If a book combines multiple disciplines, such as history and sociology, should you get reviewers from each field? How many from each? Does the reviewer know the author? Should you solicit reviews from scholars with a similar understanding of the subject, or from those who support an opposing school of thought? What if the author is the leading expert on a topic and nobody wants to question his or her methods? Acquisitions editors put a lot of time and energy into these questions, seeking appropriate and fair reviewers who want to help improve a manuscript. Peer review is a...Read More

August Buzz at JHU Press

by cmt | Friday, August 17, 2012 - 9:44 AM

New to Hit the Shelves

Parrots: The Animal Answer Guide : Have you ever wondered what parrots eat in the wild? Or why so many species live in the Amazon? Glorious photographs and accurate answers to every question about parrots make this a must-have for any bird lover. Vaccine: The Debate in Modern America : Mark A. Largent explains the history of the debate surrounding vaccines and identifies issues that parents, pediatricians, politicians, and public health officials must address. My Lai: An American Atrocity in the Vietnam War : On March 16, 1968, American soldiers killed as many as five hundred Vietnamese men, women, and children in a village near the South China Sea. William Thomas Allison tells the story of this terrible moment in American history and explores how to deal with the aftermath. Getting Inside Your Head: What Cognitive Science Can Tell Us about Popular Culture : Using the psychological concept called theory of mind, Lisa Zunshine explores the appeal of movies, novels, paintings, musicals, and...Read More

The Doctor is In: It's back to school time!

by cmt | Tuesday, August 14, 2012 - 8:00 AM

The Doctor is In is an occasional series where JHU Press authors discuss the latest developments and news in health and medicine. guest post by Lisa Dobberteen, M.D. Summer is the best! Long days, time with family and friends, travel, summer camps, and a little more relaxed flow to life are enjoyed by children and adults alike. But as the beginning of the new school year approaches, here are a few things to keep in mind to help your family ease back into their usual routines: Sleep: let’s get everyone back on their school year schedule Food: fun, easy, and healthy ideas for breakfasts and lunches Carrying books: keeping big and little backs healthy Over the summer, it’s easy for kids to slip into later and later bedtimes, especially if you don’t need to be up and out in the morning to catch the school bus. Take a look at your child's school year schedule, check on start times and bus stop pickups, and then think about how you’d like your morning routines to go. About two weeks before school starts, try to move your child’s bedtime up by 15 minutes every night to get...Read More

Auteur and Editor

by cmt | Monday, August 13, 2012 - 12:28 PM

by Michele Callaghan, Manuscript Editor Part of being married is having to watch your spouse’s favorite films, sometimes over and over, because “you are going to like it this time, I swear!” My husband purchased a DVD a while back of one of his favorites, The Man Who Fell to Earth by acclaimed director Nicolas Roeg, and we watched it for the umpteenth time. About halfway through, we realized that the pacing was slower and that there were scenes with bizarre elements that we had never noticed before. We looked at the box and realized that we had purchased the unrated director’s cut. Another time we were curious about Nicholas Cage’s Academy Award–winning performance in Leaving Las Vegas and rented the director’s cut from our local video store . After a ten-minute scene with the main character sitting on the curb yelling at someone, we decided to swear off director’s cuts for life! What does this have to do with my chosen profession of editing books? I would say, an awful lot. What it tells me is that the creator of a given project—whether it be a movie,...Read More

What We're Reading

by bjs | Friday, August 10, 2012 - 4:08 AM

The last time we visited this occasional series , I found myself in the middle of reading pieces from the 2011 Best American Nonrequired Reading . Little by little, I drifted away from that story collection, especially as my annual July beach vacation drew closer. I managed to finish three books (one of which I was halfway through when we arrived) and get most of the way through another with sand between my toes. The first one, Chuck Klosterman's essay collection Eating the Dinosaur made me think that he thinks too much. He brings up some great points, but sometimes people just need to turn off their brain and enjoy life. I easily conquered Candy Everybody Wants , an enjoyable romp by Josh Kilmer-Purcell about a young gay man who accidentally finds himself making a run at Hollywood stardom, and How I Became a Famous Novelist , which gave comedy writer Steve Hely the opportunity to skewer writers, the publishing industry, and readers and still come off as unpretentious. I'm just about done with The Fine Art of Mixing Girls...Read More

Getting back in touch by going off the grid

by bjs | Monday, August 6, 2012 - 11:05 AM

by Becky Brasington Clark, Director of Marketing and Online Book Publishing Not long ago, I did a quick assessment of the tools I use to stay in touch with the office, with my students, and with my family and friends. The inventory looked something like this: Personal laptop Personal iPad Work laptop Work desktop Work landline Work Blackberry Home landline Personal cell phone Work email Home email #1 Home email #2 University #1 email University #2 email Nearly everything requires a login and password, many of which require a uniquely nonsensical assembly of letters, digits, and characters. Most of this archive of personal cryptology is stored in a password manager on my smart phone. The password manager also requires a password. The only thing I fear more than losing my phone is getting hit on the head and forgetting that master password, which isn’t written down anywhere. I don’t want to miss anything, so I start each day with a ritual. After I pour the morning’s first cup of coffee, I settle into an armchair with both iPhone and iPad and begin checking personal email. I review work email over breakfast, often so I can go into a...Read More

Book Giveaway! Dean's List: Eleven Habits of Highly Successful College Students

by bjs | Friday, August 3, 2012 - 1:17 PM

If you have shopped at any large retailer lately, you probably realize school is almost back in session. Not only can you easily find parents buying lunchboxes and backpacks for the younger set, but shopping carts filled with new dorm decor for the Class of 2016 also dot the aisles. While we understand the importance of finding the right comforter and can advocate for the importance of empty milk crates as a key to dorm-room organization, we also know that the transition to college also requires good decisions. John B. Bader's 2011 book Dean's List: Eleven Habits of Highly Successful College Students offers a thoughtful, common-sense approach to higher education that allows every student to achieve. The book features tips from deans at many top U.S. institutions on not only how to get an "A" but also how to effectively embrace college life and become independent. We want to share these tips with one lucky blog reader. The first reader to name one of the 11 habits Bader talks about in his book in the comments below with advice on how to develop that habit will get a free copy of Dean's List .Read More