Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media

Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman

“Analysis of the ways in which individuals and organizations of the media are influenced to shape the agendas of knowledge and, therefore, belief. Contrary to the popular conception of members of the press as hard-bitten realists doggedly pursuing unpopular truths, Chomsky and Herman prove conclusively that the free-market economics model of the media leads inevitably to normative and narrow reporting.”

Publisher: Pantheon
Paperback: 412 pages

The Invisibles: A Tale of the Eunuchs of India

Zia Jaffrey

“In this spellbinding book—at once travelog, history, interview and fiction—Jaffrey invents a hybrid voice to match her subject as she meets journalists, police commissioners, detectives and doctors and tries to trace the hijiras´ tradition through layers and layers of obfuscation and denial, as well as through Hindu, Muslim and British history. This is the first major book on this taboo and invisible subject, a compelling work on an enthralling subject.”

Publisher: Pantheon
Hardback: 293 pages

Herculine Barbin: Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a 19-Century French Hermaphrodite

Introduced by Michel Foucault

Born in France in 1838, Adéläide Herculine Barbin was to all outward appearances a gentle and religious, albeit flat-chested and hairy, young girl. But she carried a secret, one that became harder and harder to conceal as she entered adolescence and young adulthood. For Herculine Barbin was a hermaphrodite, with genitals that displayed both masculine and feminine characteristics. Legally declared a man in 1860, Barbin committed suicide eight years later, unable to live in a society that both assumed and demanded a definitive (Michel Foucault would say “true”) sex.
In this volume, historian/philosopher Foucault has brought together Barbin’s memoirs, contemporary medical reports and press accounts of his/her transformation from female to male, and a 19th-century fictionalization of his/her story. Foucault himself contributes only the introduction, choosing to let these documents stand on their own merits. While Foucault presents Barbin’s tale as a chapter in the “strange history of ‘true sex’” and identity, readers will delight in its outright eroticism, as the young Herculine swoons among her half-dressed classmates at the convent school, and later falls in love with her fellow schoolmistress (and employer’s daughter) before Barbin’s abrupt and devastatingly public reclassification as a man. A most enjoyable and thought-provoking read. LP

Publisher: Pantheon
Paperback: 199 pages

Bridge of Light: Yiddish Film Between Two Worlds

J. Hoberman

As established in the recent cultural history An Empire of Their Own, the monolithic Hollywood studio system has, from its inception, been primarily a Jewish-run operation. Yet by delving into the low-budget movies shot in Yiddish and made for a primarily Jewish audience, Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman has excavated not only an overlooked chapter of film history but also a compelling history of the real-life Jewish experience from the era of the Russian pogroms until the establishment of the Hebrew-speaking state of Israel. He brings to life Yiddish cinema and its relation to the once-roaring Yiddish theater world of New York (also a breeding ground for such Hollywood talent as Edward G. Robinson and Eddie Cantor) and shows how ironically they both functioned as a secularizing force setting both American and Soviet Jews on the road from blind tradition and rabbinical oppression.
Hoberman also establishes Yiddish film’s connections to Hollywood movie history with examples such as Jimmy Cagney’s fluent, rapid-fire cameo as the Yiddish-speaking, Irish-American cabbie in Taxi! (1932) and the early Yiddish talkies of B-movie directing genius Ed Ulmer (Detour, The Black Cat), who is regarded as having created the greatest artistic moment in Yiddish film with the earthy shtetl-nostalgia flick Grine Felder (Green Fields). Bridge of Light also explores the Yiddish-language European art films such as the truly gloom-laden, Hasidic-Gothic of The Dybbuk, shot in the years before the almost total demise of the Jewish population of Poland. This book contains the story of how Yiddish-speaking, often culturally avant-garde, politically radical, sexually libertine and ultimately tragic Jews, persevered to create their own cinema under adverse circumstances which would make the Sundance Festival-feted “scrappy” indie filmmakers of today shrink back in abject terror. SS

Publisher: Pantheon
Hardback: 350 pages

The Secret Language of Film

Jean-Claude Carrière

“Everything behind the camera forces itself to appear as real even when it just projects simulations and dramatizations. Spectators are witnesses behind the mirror. Cinema has the power to possess, dominate and manipulate people through the use of illusion, briefly isolates a group from the rest of the world. It freezes time, it moves it faster and ages constantly.” After experimenting and making use of all other art expressions, through an entire century, cinema has arrived. It too has its own language. Screenwriter Carrière (who collaborated with director Luis Buñuel for 18 years) explores the elements and roots of film and analyzes the process of creation and the importance of the screenplay. LB

Publisher: Pantheon
Hardback: 224 pages

The Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon

Daniel Farson

Farson was a close friend and confidant of Francis Bacon for over 40 years. They drank together and traded notes on many a morning after. The author knew his subject’s kinks and quirks, and shares them in a way that one can imagine would have made Mr. Bacon proud. For Francis Bacon was alarmingly frank about his proclivities in life. His style of painting did not allow for mistakes and bore some resemblance to his penchant for gambling. For Bacon, if the paint didn’t cooperate on the huge, unwieldy, unprimed canvases, they had to be destroyed, and many were. This volume took a certain amount of heat for its frankness, but Francis Bacon was never one to hide under a rock unless it was for a quick bit of shagging. This book is heavy on personal mementos and photographs, with few color plates. SA

Publisher: Pantheon
Hardback: 293 pages