Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies and the CIA in Central America

Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall

“This important, explosive report forcefully argues that the ‘war on drugs’ is largely a sham as the U.S. Government is one of the world’s largest drug pushers… Scott and Marshall call for immediate political action to end Washington’s complicity. Their heavily documented book deserves a wide audience.”—Publishers Weekly

Publisher: University of California
Paperback: 386 pages

Marks of Civilization: Artistic Transformations of the Human Body

Edited by Arnold Rubin

Rubin, the late UCLA professor of non-western academic art history, is often remembered as the first to legitimize piercings, scarification and tattoos as serious objects of academic scrutiny. Reviled by some for popularizing body modification yet adored by many as the father of modern primitivism and the prophet of the tattoo renaissance, Rubin provides rigorous yet accessible ethnographic studies of the history of body art, offering art historians, anthropologists and aficionados alike an excellent comparative text. Since its publication by the UCLA Museum of Cultural History in 1988, Marks of Civilization has remained the ethnographic bible of body modification, with well-illustrated offerings from anthropologists, art historians and ethnologists, who span the globe from Africa to Japan, Micronesia to the Americas. Rubin’s closing essay, “Tattoo Renaissance,” brought well-deserved academic and popular acclaim to such artists as Don Ed Hardy, Cliff Raven, Leo Zulueta and the late Jamie Summers. HS

Publisher: University of California
Paperback: 280 pages

Nomads of Western Tibet: The Survival of a Way of Life

Melvyn C. Goldsmith and Cynthia M. Beall

A deep look into the harsh existence of the nomads of western Tibet. Some of the world’s most extreme climate can be found here, where tempertures can reach more than 100 degrees in summer and 15 to 30 degrees below zero on winter evenings. The nomadic way of life began about 10,000 years ago and has changed very little since. The nomads live in mobile tents, raise livestock and use or sell their by-products for survival. They migrate constantly to greener pastures, for the livestock rely solely on pastures of indigenous vegetation for food; hence the term “pastoralism” to describe the nomads’ way of life. The nomads collect skins and fleeces from yaks and sheep for wool and cashmere then travel to the marketplace to sell or trade for food and other necessities. The authors spent time living with the nomads, accompanying them on their journeys from home camp to pasture to marketplace and on hunting excursions. The data collected about the nomads of the Pala district “credit the nomads’ traditional pastoral system with maintaining the sensitive ecological balance necessary to guarantee its perpetuation for countless centuries.” Many color photos. DW

Publisher: University of California
Paperback: 200 pages

Ritualized Homosexuality in Melanesia

Edited by Gilbert H. Herdt

“This book marks the first time that anthropologists have systematically studied cross-cultural variations in homosexual behavior in a non-Western culture. Documents several societies where homosexual relations among men are both universal and obligatory, challenging a number of medical, biological and psychological theories of homosexuality.”

Publisher: University of California
Paperback: 455 pages

Gunfighters, Highwaymen and Vigilantes: Violence on the Frontier

Roger D. McGrath

Barbecues our Western heritage over the mesquite pit of mythology. “Suggests that violence in modern America is rooted less in the conquest of the frontier than in the formation of the modern city… research produces evidence of a powerful set of shared values that rigorously limited violence to consenting adults.” It wasn’t the West that was wild, it was us. Two frontier mining towns—Bodie and Aurora, California—are exhaustively researched, and the surprising and keen-eyed result “yields valuable insights into lives of the men and women who lived—and died—in them.” Chapters include: “The Esmerelda Excitement,” “Robbery, Rowdyism and Combat,” “In Illegal Pursuit of Wealth,” “Violence and the Minorities,” and “No Goodee Cow Man.” Lots of violence—funny, sad, dirty and stupid. GR

Publisher: University of California
Paperback: 333 pages

Oxford History of the Prison: The Practice of Punishment in Western Society

Edited by Norval Morris and David J. Rothman

“The U.S. rate of incarceration today (519 per 100,000 population) is second in the world, after Russia, and at least five times greater than that of most other industrialized nations.” As the first comprehensive study of its kind, this volume boasts contributions from criminologists and social, political and legal historians, nearly all of whom are pioneers in the young field of the history of incarceration. Based on the premise that to understand normative Western society we must first examine the deviance it suppresses, highlights include: theatrical execution on the scaffold and lesser punishments involving bondage and labor; female convicts and their prisons; and analyses of hard labor, juvenile justice and political prisoners. Generously illustrated, including 11 color plates of recent prison art, this scholarly yet enjoyable collection is the perfect companion to Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, as well as to the long tradition of prison notebooks and narratives, from Boethius to Mumia. HS

Publisher: University of California
Paperback: 489 pages

God, Harlem USA: The Father Divine Story

Jill Watts

The story of the ultrawealthy and powerful New York preacher who overcame poverty and racial inequality, and who (in a well-publicized meeting) gave Jim Jones the courage to take the long march. Father Divine’s flashy affluence and enthusiastic sexcapades also later made him a role model for the likes of Rev. Ike, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker and Dr. Gene Scott, yet he built his flock and fanatical following without television, on personal charisma and politics alone. This detailed biography covers every significant event and exploit in Father Divine’s rise to prominence, and shows the miserable lives of those who gave theirs over to him, lured by the notion that “God is practical, not spiritual.” MS

Publisher: University of California
Paperback: 249 pages

The Mystique of Dreams: A Search for Utopia through Senoi Dream Therapy

G. William Domhoff

It seems that everyone knows about the Senoi, a Malaysian tribe who have been celebrated for their use of dreams as a means of bringing peace to their culture. It is claimed that, at breakfast, Senoi families discuss dreams of the previous night and the parents make suggestions and give advice to their dreaming children based on the content of their dreams, and that because of this, these people have an unprecedented lack of violence and mental illness in their society. Here the author traces the origins of this myth and its influence on the “dreamwork” of late ’60s and ’70s America. He specifically looks into the character of one Kilton Stewart, a psychologist/anthropologist/beachcomber and follower of Otto Rank, who visited Malaysia in the 1930s and was the main source for the dissemination of these notions about Senoi dream theory. Dissecting Stewart's history and looking more closely into his message and motives, Domhoff concludes that it was Stewart, not the Senoi, who developed the idea that societies can benefit from sharing their dreams, and that they can shape them through principals of mind control. The Senoi do not practice dream theory, he states, nor is their society so free of conflict. As Domhoff shows in a later chapter, it took the dramatic social changes of the ’60s, which spawned the Human Potential movement, to bring Stewart's theories to a large and receptive audience which eagerly absorbed his utopian claims about the Senoi. AS

Publisher: University of California
Paperback: 156 pages

Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life

Claudio G. Segré

Italo Balbo’s life seems to embody many of the contradictions inherent in Fascism as it was originally conceived in Italy, its birthplace. Now obscure, Balbo was a beloved celebrity in the 1930s, greeted by ticker-tape parades in New York City and invited to lunch by FDR at the White House. Ruthless Blackshirt street fighter and union-buster, dashing commander of trans-Atlantic aviation squadrons, technology-embracing founder of Italy’s first airline, imperialist governor of the Italian colony of Libya, Germanophobe and crusader against anti-Semitism, Balbo was one of the fascinating, larger-than-life figures thrown up by the Mussolini era. SS

Publisher: University of California
Paperback: 482 pages

Deep Politics and the Death of JFK

Peter Dale Scott

A major, fact-filled statement on the JFK assassination and its implications in terms of an empirical view of both American and world politics. “Deep political analysis focuses on the usually ignored mechanics of accommodation. From the viewpoint of conventional political science, law enforcement and the underworld are opposed to each other, the former struggling to gain control of the latter. A deep political analysis notes that in practice these efforts at control lead to the use of criminal informants; and this practice, continued over a long period of time, turns informants into double agents with status within the police as well as the mob… Such dirty realities are not usually talked about in classrooms. But the mechanics of accomodation are important… in the area of political security, where security informants are first recruited, and eventually promoted to be double agents… A deep political system is one where the processes openly acknowledged are not always securely in control, precisely because of their accommodation to unsanctioned sources of violence, through arrangements not openly acknowledged and reviewed.”

Publisher: University of California
Paperback: 424 pages