Corporate Eponymy: A Biographical Dictionary of the Persons Behind the Names of Major American, British, European and Asian Businesses

Adrian Room

“This book can render a general service here, since by definition it has singled out the names from the words, the people from the places.” In Corporate Eponomy, one finds listed the many names of inventors and entrepreneurs who have come to the United States to profit from the experience and expertise of the land of consumerism. The book is filled with mini-biographies of founders of companies whose names became infamous in the corporate world. Names of British origin dominate the book although there are many continental European and Asian names too. The aim of the book is to give insight “into who those people were.” Included are: Campbell; Du Pont; Harper and Row; Schwepp; Sally Line, of Finland; Smirnoff, of Russia; Cartier, of France; Hasselblad, of Sweden; Honda, of Japan. OAA

Publisher: McFarland
Hardback: 280 pages

The Cotton Club

James Haskins

“This chronicle of the club that met international acclaim in the roaring ‘20s and hard-luck ‘30s includes unromantic details regarding the mobsters who ran it, the African-American talent that made it famous and exciting, and the troubles that brought it to a close. Harlem in its heyday was a mecca for entertainment, for both blacks and whites—the blacks who were to entertain, and the whites who were invited to be entertained. While the attention the Cotton Club brought to Harlem might have been short-lived, the stardom it brought to its talent would last longer than lifetimes.”
Accurate and filled with dozens of photos, The Cotton Club returns us to an era that has too easily been forgotten. Entertainers today lack a nucleus such as the Cotton Club—a focus for overwhelming talent that challenged the racial status quo. We shall never see the likes of such legends again, raw and multidimensional. This book commemorates this bygone era and the greatest talent ever to have lived, created and performed in the U.S. OAA

Publisher: Hippocrene
Paperback: 213 pages

Juba to Jive: The Dictionary of African-American Slang

Edited by Clarence Major

An investigation of the chronological cultural and linguistic development and etymology of Ebonics in American history. A thoroughly researched work that can be employed as a subcultural reference text. OAA

Publisher: Penguin
Paperback: 548 pages

Life on the Hyphen: The Cuban-American Way

Gustavo Pérez Firmat

A sociocultural overview of the contemporary development of the first and second immigrant generations (labeled by Ruben Rumbaut as “1.5 or one-and-a-half” Cuban-Americans) that have lived “life on the hyphen” for the last half-century. It is the author’s search for identity that led to his examination of the history of Cuban-American culture and the adjustments that have been made living a hybrid life in contemporary America. He tries to define various Cuban Americans ( for example, YUCAs, or Young Upwardly Cuban Americans) and show “how tradition and translation have shaped their lives in Cuban-American culture, a culture which is built on the tradition of translation, in both the topographical and linguistic senses of the word.” Perez Firmat claims that it is one thing to be Cuban in America and another to be Cuban-American.
Music, movies, television, and literature are used to illustrate his investigations. Cubans who have become icons in American culture—Desi Arnaz, Perez Prado, poet Jose Kozer, writer and Pulitzer-Prize winner in literature Oscar Hijuelos, and even the Madonna of Miami herself, Gloria Estefan—all get their due in this book. The author does give us plenty of dirt on many of the personalities that he examines but also gets sidetracked and exposes more of himself. He quotes Desi Arnaz from his autobiography A Book:”writing a book is, I discovered, not an easy thing to do. It also proves that the brain is a wonderful thing. It starts up when you are born and stops when you sit down at the typewriter.” OAA

Publisher: University of Texas
Paperback: 231 pages

Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn

David Hajdu

A provocative biography dutifully illustrating the life of Billy Strayhorn, jazz’s long overlooked musician, composer and visionary. Overshadowed by his lifetime associate “Duke” Ellington (“Ellington referred to Strayhorn with cryptic aesthetic intimacy as ‘our writing and arranging companion’”), he was the force behind many Ellington compositions. Strayhorn easily allowed himself to fall into the background. Now is the time for the mysterious, complex, shy, openly homosexual, always graceful legend to receive his due.
Descriptive and refreshingly lyrical, the text encapsulates with various corrective metaphors the lost truths of the jazz composer who sat back as his peers and community reveled in shame and laughter. Cut short when he was one of jazz’s leading practitioners, Strayhorn left behind an unmatched legacy. His life overlapped and deeply influenced many jazz legends: Horne, Holiday, Hodges, Pettiford, to name but a few. Lush Life is as bittersweet as the tune itself. OAA

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hardback: 306 pages

P.T. Barnum: The Legend and the Man

Arthur H. Saxon

A scholarly study that exposes the life of P.T. Barnum. The author portrays a grand and mesmerizing figure in the world of entertainment, and includes many insights into the impresario and entrepreneur’s private and social life. This is a tale of success and tragedy and its impact on the world of the carnival, and Saxon cuts Barnum little slack in relating his con-man tendencies and racial attitudes. Illustrated with many photographs of Barnum’s early marketing tactics. OAA

Publisher: Columbia University
Paperback: 439 pages

The Trouble With Cinderella: An Outline of Identity

Artie Shaw

Written by one of the finest clarinetists in the history of jazz, Artie Shaw’s words swing with an eloquence that is nothing short of brilliant. A dominant theme which emerges is the story of a man whose gift for music which heartened and energized a troubled nation masked his very American struggle with identity (Shaw is a name he adopted to hide his Jewish heritage). Shaw’s perspective is clearly focused and refined. No sucker punches here. A true philosophical investigation into a life of travel on all continents and meetings with people of all ranks, colors and prestige. Shaw should be viewed not only as a talented clarinetist but also a writer filled with majestic verse. Shaw’s is a life fully realized, in which he overcame many trials, often through his sheer persistence alone. A grand persona who clocked and valued thousands of unforgettable, frozen moments. OAA

Publisher: Fithian
Paperback: 394 pages

Butoh: Shades of Darkness

Jean Viala and Nourit Masson-Sekine

Butoh, a Japanese form of avant-garde dance founded in the 1960s, is a fusion of global influences in dance from both hemispheres. From Japan’s own culture it draws on Noh, kabuki and Shingeki (a radical 1920s Japanese theater) and from the West on Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual Eurhythmics, Mary Wigman’s Neue Tanze and the theories of Emile Dalcroze on movement and education. Yet Butoh differs from both Western and Eastern dance forms because the “Butoh spirit confronts the origins of fear”—distilling the literary and theoretical ideas of Lautréamont, Artaud and Genet into a marriage of opposites fusing beauty and pain.
The word Butoh is made up of two ideographs: “bu” meaning dance, and “toh” meaning step. The founders of Butoh believed that the body is fundamentally chaotic yet controlled by religious and cultural repressions that are instilled with hate from cradle to grave. In Butoh, the dancer must isolate himself from physical and social identity, only to be guided by the soul expressing its purity by reverting to the original memory of the body—allowing escape from surface reality in order to attain the essence of life. After designing what is now the blueprint for today’s modern dance, the Butoh pioneers then made an extensive journey back to the origins of dance, seeing it as a prehistoric painting, and performance as a ceremony for the audience. Illustrated with 250 exquisite photos, Butoh: Shades of Darkness, the first comprehensive study of its kind in English, explores the evolution of Butoh through interviews with its mystical fathers (the cosmic Ono and the dark Hijikata) and chronologies of its troupes and legendary performances. OAA

Publisher: Tuttle
Hardback: 208 pages

The Memoirs of Giorgio de Chirico

Giorgio de Chirico

Known to some as the initiator of Surrealism, de Chirico wrote vast memoirs which complement his stunning paintings. With vivid descriptions of Italian tradition, de Chirico relates his life story through his heavy egocentrism and rich imagination, and includes anecdotes about his artistic community. He attacks the Surrealist movement because its practitioners lived comfortably, dressed very well, ate excellent meals washed down with fine wines,” above all they worked as little as possible, or not at all.” De Chirico examines his obsessions and inner conflicts that eventually convinced him of his artistic supremacy. Also included: “The Technique of Painting,” a chronological table, and a bibliography of his writings. OAA

Publisher: Da Capo
Paperback: 278 pages

View: Parade of the Avant-Garde 1940-47

Edited by Charles Henri Ford

View, a magazine of the 1940s, defined the avant-garde movement in America. Established in New York, founded and edited by Charles Henri Ford, View first appeared in September 1940. It was the first art magazine to publish interviews with such artists as André Breton, Jorge Luis Borges, translator and longtime contributor Paul Bowles and many visual artists—Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, Georgia O’Keefe, Isamu Noguchi, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray and Yves Tanguy, to name but a few. Ford’s roster of artists was always impressive, and well ahead of its time. View established the avant-garde’s standards and claimed New York as its center.
“View is the impossible magazine of the arts no one could have dreamed,” said writer William Carlos Williams. The book gives a chronological presentation of Ford’s career, acquaintances, and influences. Surprisingly, even though View was distributed worldwide, its circulation “peaked at 3,000.” The intention of the magazine was not “to shock the bourgeoisie but to amass evidence that this (America) was not the land of Puritans and the American dream.” The magazine stands as a testament to its creed of “advocating nothing political other than individual resistance to all forms of authority.” The book also details historical events and social conditions in regard to homosexuality. View thrived with an intoxicating combination of wit, appetite for transgression, humor and business acumen. OAA

Publisher: Thunder's Mouth
Paperback: 287 pages