Also:   Books    |    Movies    |    Music      RSS         X         Zotero         Comments         KWSnet's Cookie Notice

Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf print by Stephen Alcorn, 1999.

Recommended Books: V (author sort)

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Vaganova, Agrippina (1969). Basic Principles of Classical Ballet: Russian Ballet Technique. New York, NY, Dover Publications.
Discusses all basic principles of ballet, grouping movement by fundamental types. Diagrams show clearly the exact foot, leg, arm, and body positions for the proper execution of many steps and movements. Offers dancers, teachers, and ballet lovers information often difficult to locate in other books. 118 illustrations.

Vaidhyanathan, Siva (2001). Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity. New York, New York University Press.
In Copyrights and Copywrongs, Siva Vaidhyanathan tracks the history of American copyright law through the 20th century, from Mark Twain's vehement exhortations for "thick" copyright protection, to recent lawsuits regarding sampling in rap music and the "digital moment," exemplified by the rise of Napster and MP3 technology. He argues persuasively that in its current punitive, highly restrictive form, American copyright law hinders cultural production, thereby contributing to the poverty of civic culture.

In addition to choking cultural expression, recent copyright law, Vaidhyanathan argues, effectively sanctions biases against cultural traditions which differ from the Anglo-European model. In African-based cultures, borrowing from and building upon earlier cultural expressions is not considered a legal trespass, but a tribute. Rap and hip hop artists who practice such "borrowing" by sampling and mixing, however, have been sued for copyright violation and forced to pay substantial monetary damages. Similarly, the oral transmission of culture, which has a centuries-old tradition within African American culture, is complicated by current copyright laws. How, for example, can ownership of music, lyrics, or stories which have been passed down through generations be determined? Upon close examination, strict legal guidelines prove insensitive to the diverse forms of cultural expression prevalent in the United States, and reveal much about the racialized cultural values which permeate our system of laws. Ultimately, copyright is a necessary policy that should balance public and private interests but the recent rise of "intellectual property" as a concept have overthrown that balance. Copyright, Vaidhyanathan asserts, is policy, not property.

Bringing to light the republican principles behind original copyright laws as well as present-day imbalances and future possibilities for freer expression and artistic equity, this volume takes important strides towards unraveling the complex web of culture, law, race, and technology in today's global marketplace.

Valentine, Douglas (2016). The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World
. Atlanta, GA, Clarity Press.
This book provides insight into the paradigmatic approaches evolved by CIA decades ago in Vietnam which remain operational practices today in Afghanistan, El Salvador, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere. Valentine's research into CIA activities began when CIA Director William Colby gave him free access to interview CIA officials who had been involved in various aspects of the Phoenix program in South Vietnam. The CIA would rescind it, making every effort to impede publication of The Phoenix Program, which documented the CIA's elaborate system of population surveillance, control, entrapment, imprisonment, torture and assassination in Vietnam. A common theme is the CIA's ability to deceive and propagandize the American public through its impenetrable government-sanctioned shield of official secrecy and plausible deniability.

Valery, Paul and James R. Lawler (1977). Paul Valery: An Anthology
. London, Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Vallianatos, E.G. and McKay Jenkins (2014). Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA
. New York, Bloomsbury Press.
For twenty-five years E.G. Vallianatos saw the EPA from the inside, with rising dismay over how pressure from politicians and threats from huge corporations were turning it from the public's watchdog into a "polluter's protection agency." Based on his own experience, the testimony of colleagues, and hundreds of documents Vallianatos collected inside the EPA, Poison Spring reveals how the agency has continually reinforced the chemical-industrial complex.

Writing with acclaimed environmental journalist McKay Jenkins, E.G. Vallianatos provides a devastating expose of how the agency created to protect Americans and our environment has betrayed its mission. Half a century after after Rachel Carson's Silent Spring awakened us to the dangers of pesticides, we are poisoning our lands and waters with more toxic chemicals than ever.

Van Ronk, Dave and Elijah Wald (2005). The Mayor of Macdougal Street: A Memoir
. Cambridge, MA, Da Capo Press.
Singer-songwriter Van Ronk did more than most to earn the heady title of his memoir, gussied up for publication by the author of the outstanding blues history Escaping the Delta (2004). In the folk-music ferment of late-fifties/early-sixties Greenwich Village, Van Ronk was a larger-than-life presence with a blustery personality to match his big frame, headlining the famous folk-music haunts and mentoring such up-and-coming stars as Bob Dylan. A masterful storyteller and robust singer who prided himself in making a living without leaving the Village, he was a musical sponge who picked up a wildly eclectic repertoire. He recalls the heyday of the pretourist, 1950s Village, before the so-called Folk Scare, when regulars went to Washington Square on Sunday afternoons for loose sessions that continued late into the night. He recalls first hearing Dylan - "the scruffiest-looking fugitive from a cornfield I do believe I had ever seen" - at a Village coffeehouse and being impressed (the new arrival thereafter often crashed on Van Ronk's sofa). A richly evocative paean to a lost era. - June Sawyers

Van Vechten, Renee B. (2014). California Politics: A Primer
. Los Angeles, Sage: CQ Press.
Delivers the essential concepts and details needed to understand how California's political system works. The thoroughly revised third edition retains and builds on all the strengths of the first two editions, including tightly organized chapters, information-packed visuals, and contemporary examples that illustrate the immediacy of state politics.

Vargas, Fred (2011). An Uncertain Place: A Commissaire Adamsberg Mystery
. New York, Penguin.
When Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg, the chief of police in Paris's seventh arrondissement, is called to the scene of a ghastly and highly unusual murder, he thinks it can't have anything to do with the nine pairs of shoes and severed feet discovered outside of London's Highgate Cemetery just a few days earlier. With the help of the murdered man's gifted physician, Adamsberg delves into the victim's disturbed psyche and unexpectedly finds himself on a path that takes him deep into the haunted past of Eastern Europe, where a centuries-old horror has come to life and is claiming victims far and wide.

Vargas, Fred (2009). The Chalk Circle Man: A Commissaire Adamsberg Mystery
. New York, Penguin Books.
This first novel in the series introduces the unorthodox detective Commissaire Adamsberg-one of the most engaging characters in contemporary crime fiction.

When blue chalk circles begin to appear on the pavement in neighborhoods around Paris, Adamsberg is alone in thinking that they are far from amusing. As he studies each new circle and the increasingly bizarre objects they contain-empty beer cans, four trombones, a pigeon's foot, a doll's head-he senses the cruelty that lies within whoever is responsible. And when a circle is discovered with decidedly less banal contents-a woman with her throat slashed-Adamsberg knows that this is just the beginning.

Vargas, Fred (2013). The Ghost Riders of Ordebec: A Commissaire Adamsberg Mystery
. New York, Penguin.
As the chief of police in Paris's seventh arrondissement, Commissaire Adamsberg has no jurisdiction in Ordebec. Yet, he cannot ignore a widow's plea. Her daughter Lina has seen a vision of the Ghost Riders with four nefarious men. According to the thousand-year-old legend, the vision means that the men will soon die a grisly death. When one of them disappears, Adamsberg races to Ordebec, where he becomes entranced by the gorgeous Lina'and embroiled in the small Normandy town's ancient feud.

Vargas, Fred (2008). This Night's Foul Work: A Commissaire Adamsberg Mystery
. New York, Penguin.
On the outskirts of Paris, two men have been found with their throats cut, and despite the common assumption that the crime is a drug-related incident, Commissaire Adamsberg becomes convinced that the deaths are the work of a serial killer with split personalities and enlists the assistance of pathologist Ariane Lagarde to help him unravel the truth.

Vargas, Fred (2007). Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand: A Commissaire Adamsberg Mystery
. New York, Penguin.
Commissaire Adamsberg faces his personal demon, a serial killer called the Trident who, 30 years previously, framed the commissaire's brother for a murder, successfully avoiding prosecution for that and numerous other slayings. Supposedly dead for more than 15 years, the Trident has risen from the grave'or so Adamsberg believes after encountering a new victim whose corpse bears the tell-tale signs of the Trident's work. Convincing anyone of this fact is impossible, of course, and, distracted by a trip to Ottawa to attend a forensics course, Adamsberg returns to Paris to find himself well and truly framed for the murder of a young woman. Vargas continues to mix styles effectively, combining the light, comic touch of the best Simenon with much darker themes. This time, too, with the hero forced to look deep into himself, the novel adds an extra pinch of Rendellian psychology to the stewpot.

Varon, Jeremy (2004). Bringing the War Home: The Weather Underground, the Red Army Faction, and Revolutionary Violence in the Sixties and Seventies
. Berkeley, University of California Press.
Jeremy Varon focuses on America's Weather Underground and Germany's Red Army Faction to consider how and why young, middle-class radicals in prosperous democratic societies turned to armed struggle in efforts to overthrow their states. Based on a wealth of primary material, ranging from interviews to FBI reports, Varon reconstructs the motivation and ideology of violent organizations active during the 1960s and 1970s.

Varoufakis, Yanis (2016). And the Weak Suffer What They Must?: Europe's Crisis and America's Economic Future
. New York, NY, Nation Books.
"My book offers a history of Europe's monetary union. America plays a central role in the narrative. Indeed, the book begins with developments in Washington D.C. in the run up to the Nixon Shock of August 1971 but also ends with an account of how the Eurozone's crisis affects the United States and the world economy today. In between, the story of how Europe mishandled its yearning for a common currency by never having learned the lessons that U.S. policy makers learned the hard way in the 1930s and 1940s; namely that if the burden of crisis falls upon the ‘weak', capitalism goes into hideous spasms that threaten its very existence. Thus the fate of the global economy hangs in the balance, and Europe is doing its utmost to undermine it, to destabilize America, and to spawn new forms of authoritarianism. Europe has dragged the world into hideous morasses twice in the last one hundred years. It can do it again." --Yanis Varoufakis

Varoufakis, Yanis (2018). alking to My Daughter About the Economy: Or, How Capitalism Works — and How It Fails
. New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Varoufakis offers a series of letters to his young daughter about the economy: how it operates, where it came from, how it benefits some while impoverishing others. Taking bankers and politicians to task, he explains the historical origins of inequality among and within nations, questions the pervasive notion that everything has its price, and shows why economic instability is a chronic risk. Finally, he discusses the inability of market-driven policies to address the rapidly declining health of the planet his daughter’s generation stands to inherit.

Throughout, Varoufakis wears his expertise lightly. He writes as a parent whose aim is to instruct his daughter on the fundamental questions of our age—and through that knowledge, to equip her against the failures and obfuscations of our current system and point the way toward a more democratic alternative.

Vassiliev, Alexei (2000). The History of Saudi Arabia
. New York, New York University Press.
Based on a wealth of Arab, Western, and Eastern European sources and spanning the entire history of Saudi Arabia, Alexei Vassiliev's account will stand as the definitive account of the Arabian peninsula's dominant state.

Vatsyayana, Wendy Doniger, et al. (2002). Kamasutra
. Oxford; New York, Oxford University Press.

Vaughan, Brian K. and Fiona Staples (2014). Saga: Book One
. Berkeley, Image Comics.
Collecting the first 18 issues of the series, this edition features a striking new cover, as well as special extras, including never-before-seen sketches, script pages, and a roundtable discussion with the creators about how Saga is made. Saga is the story of Hazel, a child born to star-crossed parents from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war. Now, Hazel's fugitive family must risk everything to find a peaceful future in a harsh universe that values destruction over creation.

Vaughan, Brian K. and Fiona Staples (2017). Saga: Book Two
. Portland, OR, Image Comics.
Saga: Book Two continues the education of Hazel, a child born to star-crossed parents from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war. Collecting 18 issues of the comic, this edition features a striking original cover from Fiona Staples, as well as a brand-new gallery of exclusive, never-before-seen Saga artwork from legendary creators including Cliff Chiang, Pia Guerra, Faith Erin Hicks, Karl Kerschl, Jason Latour, Sean Gordon Murphy, Steve Skroce, and more.

Vaughan, Brian K., Pia Guerra, et al. (2015-2017). Absolute Y: The Last Man, Volumes 1-3
. New York, NY, DC Comics.
Winner of three Eisner Awards and one of the most critically acclaimed, best-selling comic books series of the last decade, is that rare example of a page-turner that is at once humorous, socially relevant and endlessly surprising.

Written by Brian K. Vaughan, with art by Pia Guerra, this is the saga of Yorick Brown—the only human survivor of a planet-wide plague that instantly kills every mammal possessing a Y chromosome. Accompanied by a mysterious government agent, a brilliant young geneticist and his pet monkey, Ampersand, Yorick travels the world in search of his lost love and the answer to why he's the last man on earth.

Vaughan, J.G., Catherine Geissler, et al. (1997). The New Oxford Book of Food Plants
. Oxford; New York, Oxford University Press.
Describes and pictures fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, grains, and nuts from around the world, most familiar but some unfamiliar. Vaughan (emeritus, food sciences) and Geissler (nutrition), both at King's College, London, revised all the original entries but kept the same format and plant groupings; B.E. Nicholson's beautiful full-page color illustrations were also retained, and a few new ones were added. A one-page description of the plant group and its plants, often mentioning specific cultivars, is followed by illustrations of those plants on the facing page. A new chapter on nutrition and health and some food composition tables are included.

Venturi, Robert and Museum of Modern Art (New York N.Y.) (1977). Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture
. New York. Boston, Museum of Modern Art ; Distributed by New York Graphic Society.
First published in 1966, and since translated into 16 languages, this remarkable book has become an essential document in architectural literature. As Venturi's "gentle manifesto for a nonstraightforward architecture," Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture expresses in the most compelling and original terms the postmodern rebellion against the purism of modernism. Three hundred and fifty architectural photographs serve as historical comparisons and illuminate the author's ideas on creating and experiencing architecture. Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture was the winner of the Classic Book Award at the AIA's Seventh Annual International Architecture Book Awards.

Verlaine, Paul (1961). Selected Poems of Verlaine
. Berkeley, University of California Press.
Verlaine, possessed by the madnesses of love, brimming over with desires and prayers, the rebel railing against the complacent platitudes of society, of love, of language'. Jean Rousselot Verlaine ranks alongside Baudelaire, Mallarme, and Rimbaud as one of the most outstanding poets of late nineteenth-century France whose work is associated with the early Symbolists, the Decadents, and the Parnassiens. Remarkable not only for his delicacy and exquisitely crafted verse, Verlaine is also the poet of strong emotions and appetites, with an unrivalled gift for the sheer music of poetry, and an inventive approach to its technique. This bilingual edition provides the most comprehensive selection of his poetry yet, offering some 170 poems in lively and fresh translations and providing a lucid introduction which illuminates Verlaine's poetic form within the context of French Impressionism and the poetry of sensation.

Verne, Jules; tr. by William Butcher (2007). Lighthouse at the End of the World: The First English Translation of Verne's Original Manuscript
. Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press.
'A lively modern translation of one of Verne's tensest, tautest thrillers, a lean, ferocious, breakneck yarn readers will devour in a single evening. William Butcher renders action scenes with great color and dash, dialogues with sparkling fluency. . . . His research, commentaries, and analyses are riveting new contributions to our understanding of this Protean novelist. Outstanding entertainment, admirable scholarship.' - Frederick Paul Walter

Vidal, Gore (1973). Burr: A Novel
. New York, Random House.
Burr is a portrait of perhaps the most complex and misunderstood of the Founding Fathers. In 1804, while serving as vice president, Aaron Burr fought a duel with his political nemesis, Alexander Hamilton, and killed him. In 1807, he was arrested, tried, and acquitted of treason. In 1833, Burr is newly married, an aging statesman considered a monster by many. Burr retains much of his political influence if not the respect of all. And he is determined to tell his own story. As his amanuensis, he chooses Charles Schermerhorn Schuyler, a young New York City journalist, and together they explore both Burr's past and the continuing political intrigues of the still young United States.

Vidal, Gore (1976). 1876: A Novel
. New York, Random House.
Gore Vidal's Narratives of Empire series spans the history of the United States from the Revolution to the post-World War II years. With their broad canvas and large cast of fictional and historical characters, the novels in this series present a panorama of the American political and imperial experience as interpreted by one of its most worldly, knowing, and ironic observers.

The centennial of the United States was celebrated with great fanfare--fireworks, exhibitions, pious calls to patriotism, and perhaps the most underhanded political machination in the country's history: the theft of the presidency from Samuel Tilden in favor of Rutherford B. Hayes. This was the Gilded Age, when robber barons held the purse strings of the nation, and the party in power was determined to stay in power. Gore Vidal's 1876 gives us the news of the day through the eyes of Charlie Schuyler, who has returned from exile to regain a lost fortune and arrange a marriage into New York society for his widowed daughter. And although Tammany Hall has faltered and Boss Tweed has fled, the effects of corruption reach deep, even into Schuyler's own family.

Vidal, Gore (1984). Lincoln: A Novel
. New York, Random House.
Lincoln is a masterwork of historical fiction, in which Gore Vidal combines a comprehensive knowledge of Civil War America with 20th-century literary technique, probing the minds and motives of the men surrounding Abraham Lincoln, including personal secretary John Hay and scheming cabinet members William Seward and Salmon P. Chase, as well as his wife, Mary Todd. It is a book monumental in scope that never loses sight of the intimate and personal in its depiction of the power struggles that accompanied Lincoln's efforts to preserve the Union at all costs--efforts in which the eradication of slavery was far from the president's main objective. As usual, there's plenty of room for Vidal's wickedly humorous deflation of American icons, including a comic interlude in a Washington bordello in which Lincoln's former law partner informs Hay that Lincoln had contracted syphilis as a young man and had, just before marrying Mary Todd, suffered what can only be described as a nervous breakdown.

Vidal, Gore (1992). The Decline and Fall of the American Empire
. Berkeley, Calif., Odonian Press.
Six essays on the theme of empire and republic, with particular focus on the national security state and the failure of the U.S. economic system.

Vidal, Gore (1995). Palimpsest: A Memoir
. New York, Random House.
A candid memoir of Vidal's first 40 years of life. His famous skills as a raconteur, his forthrightness, and his wicked wit are brilliantly at work in these recollections of a difficult family, talented friends, and interesting enemies.

Vidal, Gore (1998). The American Presidency
. Monroe, Me., Odonian Press.
If Vidal isn't the last wild man remaining in the American literary left, then it's hard to say who is. At any rate, this little volume will certainly add to the novelist's reputation in that role. In fact, the book looks like something that Vidal dashed off on his coffee break. Consisting of the text of a three-part British TV series, with a brief afterword added, its an extremely condensed thumbnail history of the institution of the presidency, from its almost accidental beginnings in the aftermath of the Revolution to the offices present-day decay into what Vidal gleefully dismisses as a glorified broadcasting job. "Currently, the American empire is governed not from the Oval Office, but from the White House TV studio,'' he opines, a statement that recent events have done nothing to gainsay. Vidal regards the evolution of the presidency as a peculiar product of domestic paralysis enforced by the powers of the rich and corporatecombined with a free hand in the realm of foreign affairs. As a result, activist presidents have tended to be those who concocted expansionist policies, usually to the sorrow of countries that were beneficiaries of a rather brutal form of American largesse. Scattered throughout here are small surprises, such as Vidal's sympathy for Lyndon Johnson as a president genuinely concerned with a progressive domestic agenda, and his almost throwaway characterization of Polk as ''intelligent, low-key.'' Most of the time, though, the author giddily, flippantly slags off every occupant of the White House, from Washington to Bush.

Vidal, Gore (2000). Empire: A Novel
. New York, Vintage International.
In this extraordinarily powerful epic Gore Vidal recreates America's Gilded Age - a period of promise and possibility, of empire-building and fierce political rivalries. In a vivid and beathtaking work of fiction, where the fortunes of a sister and brother intertwine with the fates of the generation, their country, and some of the greatest names of their day, including President McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryan, William and Henry James, the Astors, the Vanderbilts, and the Whitneys, Gore Vidal sweeps us from the nineteenth century into the twentieth, from the salvaged republic of Lincoln to a nation boldly reaching for the world.

Vidal, Gore (2000). The Golden Age: A Novel
. New York, Doubleday.
The latest in Vidal's series of intelligently wrought historical novels tracing the rise and development of the American republic joins its predecessors in the front rank of historical fiction written over the past three decades. This one covers U.S. politics and culture from 1939 to 1954, the period when American democracy triumphed over fascist tyranny and just before the cold war settled in over the globe and brought a new kind of international conflict. Vidal makes history palpable by writing about what he knows best--specifically, Washington, D.C., in the 1940s and 1950s and the literary and social milieu in Hollywood. The primary figure around which Vidal spins his elaborate, authentic, and compelling story is Caroline Sanford, an actress turned Washington newspaper publisher who is also a friend of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. As Vidal's tale opens, we see political Washington divided over the issue of whether to aid the Allies in their fight against German aggression. His large cast of characters includes both real and fictional politicians, moviemakers, and writers, with Vidal himself making an appearance). All, in their own fashion, weigh in on the the major issues of what Vidal terms the Golden Age: prewar indecisiveness, the war itself, FDR's unprecedented third and fourth presidential elections, and the immediate postwar "responsibility" of the U.S. to take care of the world. Outstanding historical fiction. - Brad Hooper, Booklist

Vidal, Gore (2000). Hollywood: A Novel of America in the 1920s
. New York, Vintage International.
In his brilliant and dazzling novel, Gore Vidal sweeps us into one of the most fascinating periods of American political and social change. The time is 1917. In Washington, President Wilson is about to lead the United States into the Great War. In California, a new industry is born that will transform America: moving pictures. Here is history as only Gore Vidal can re-create it: brimming with intrigue and scandal, peopled by the greats of the silver screen and American politics, from Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks to Franklin D. Roosevelt and the author's own grandfather, the blind Senator Gore. With Hollywood, Vidal once again proves himself a superb storyteller and a perceptive chronicler of human nature's endless deceptions.

Vidal, Gore (2001). The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000
. New York, Doubleday.
Beginning with essays about Edmund Wilson, Isabel Potter, Isabel Bolton, and Dawn Powell is a subtle launch, since many listeners haven't thought about these literary luminaries since college, if ever. But soon more familiar names and events from literature and politics ignite sparks of interest: Bill Clinton, FDR, Al Gore, Sinclair Lewis, Charles Lindbergh, Harry Truman, Mark Twain, the Bill of Rights, World War II, and the war on drugs. Whether describing events the public witnesses through the news media lens (one chapter is titled "Birds and Bees and Clinton") or as legend (Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt's marriage), Vidal's perspectives are neither ordinary nor vernacular. The result is a satisfying intellectual workout for those who missed his original works in issues of The Nation, New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and the like. This, Vidal's ninth collection, picks up where his 1993 National Book Award for Nonfiction winner, United States: Essays, 1952-1992, left off. Narrator Dan Cashman's neutral and unbiased tone is the perfect trumpet for Vidal's snappy vocabulary and literary allusions.

Vidal, Gore (2002). Creation: A Novel
. New York, Vintage.
In 445 B.C., Cyrus Spitama, the grandson of the prophet Zoroaster, is the Persian ambassador to the city of Athens. He has a rather caustic appreciation of his situation: "I am blind. But I am not deaf. Because of the incompleteness of my misfortune, I was obliged yesterday to listen for nearly six hours to a self-styled historian whose account of what the Athenians like to call 'the Persian Wars' was nonsense of a sort that were I less old and more privileged, I would have risen to my seat at the Odeon and scandalized all Athens by answering him." Having thus dismissed Herodotus, Cyrus then dictates his life story to his nephew, Democritus, with similar disdain for the Greeks--whom we in the modern world have come to view as the progenitors of civilization, but whom Cyrus considers to be bad-smelling rabble.

Of course, Cyrus Spitama speaks with a very modern, ironic voice supplied to him by Gore Vidal--and the political intrigues in which Cyrus finds himself immersed are likewise familiar territory for fans of Vidal's historical fiction. But the narrator's delightfully wicked observations are the icing on a narrative of truly epic scope--out of his desire to understand the origins of the world, Cyrus undertakes journeys to India, where he encounters disciples of the Buddha, and China, where he engages Confucius in philosophical conversation while the great sage fishes by the riverside. Creation offers insights into classical history laced with scintillating wit and narrative brio.

Vidal, Gore (2002). Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta
. New York, Thunder's Mouth Press/Nation Books.
When Gore Vidal's New York Times bestseller Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace was published, the Los Angeles Times described Vidal as the last defender of the American republic. In Dreaming War, Vidal continues this defense by confronting the Cheney-Bush junta head on in a series of devastating essays that demolish the lies American Empire lives by, unveiling a counter-history that traces the origins of America's current imperial ambitions to the experience of World War Two and the post-war Truman doctrine. And now, with the Cheney-Bush leading us into permanent war, Vidal asks whose interests are served by this doctrine of pre-emptive war? Was Afghanistan turned to rubble to avenge the 3,000 slaughtered on September 11? Or was "the unlovely Osama chosen on aesthetic grounds to be the frightening logo for our long contemplated invasion and conquest of Afghanistan?" After all he was abruptly replaced with Saddam Hussein once the Taliban were overthrown. And while "evidence" is now being invented to connect Saddam with 9/11, the current administration are not helped by "stories in the U.S. press about the vast oil wealth of Iraq which must- for the sake of the free world- be reassigned to U.S. consortiums."

Vidal, Gore (2002). Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to Be So Hated
. New York, Thunder's Mouth Press/Nation Books.
The United States has been engaged in what the great historian Charles A. Beard called "perpetual war for perpetual peace." The Federation of American Scientists has catalogued nearly 200 military incursions since 1945 in which the United States has been the aggressor. In a series of penetrating and alarming essays, whose centerpiece is a commentary on the events of September 11, 2001 (deemed too controversial to publish until now) Gore Vidal challenges the comforting consensus following both September 11th and Timothy McVeigh's bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City: these were simply the acts of "evil-doers."

Vidal, Gore (2003). Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson
. New Haven, Yale University Press.
Much of Vidal's contempt for contemporary America may originate in his admiration of how the Founding Fathers handled human nature. At least the founders, Vidal seems to say in this sinuous essay, were not hypocrites disclaiming interest in power; rather, they made an honest attempt in the original Constitution to restrain what they saw as politicians' inevitable appetites for ambition and avarice. Long fascinated with the behind-the-scenes aspects of politics in the 1780s and 1790s, Vidal muses on Alexander Hamilton's machinations against John Adams and analyzes similar political sleights of hand by Jefferson, Aaron Burr, John Marshall, and James Madison. Along with these characteristically brilliant and acerbic reflections on power and personality, Vidal offers a generally positive portrayal of Washington, taking time to note how the Father of His Country looked with his wooden teeth.

Vidal, Gore (2006). Point to Point Navigation: A Memoir, 1964 to 2006
. New York, Doubleday.
"Celebrated novelist, essayist, critic, and controversialist Vidal ranges freely over his remarkable life with the signature wit and literary elegance that is uniquely his. From his desks in Ravello and the Hollywood Hills, Gore Vidal travels in memory through the arenas of literature, television, film, theater, politics, and international society, where he has cut a broad swath, recounting achievements and defeats, friends and enemies made and lost. Among the gathering of notables to be found in these pages are Jack and Jacqueline Kennedy, Tennessee Williams ("the Glorious Bird"), Eleanor Roosevelt, Orson Welles, Johnny Carson, Greta Garbo, Federico Fellini, Rudolph Nureyev, Elia Kazan, and Francis Ford Coppola. Some of the book's most moving pages are devoted to the illness and death of his partner of five decades, Howard Austen, and indeed the book is, among other things, a meditation on mortality written in the spirit of Montaigne.

Vincent, Rickey (2013). Party Music: The inside Story of the Black Panthers' Band and How Black Power Transformed Soul Music
. Chicago, Chicago Review Press.
A fascinating history of the Black Panthers, their house band and the music that inspired them. Rickey Vincent is well qualified to tell the story of the Black Panthers; his mother was a party member, his father a black politics historian and it's that combination of first-person insight and thorough research that makes this book so riveting. Like the Panthers, Vincent thinks outside the box, telling their story through the lens of The Lumpen, the Panthers' house band. Vincent takes each song played at a 1970 Oakland show as the springboard for discussion. For example: Their radical reworking of Sly and the Family Stone's Dance to the Music leads to a brief history of Sly; the intelligent debate on the Bay Area counter culture revolution, the 10 point programme and so on." --MOJO

Vinge, Vernor (1992). A Fire Upon the Deep
. New York, TOR.
Vinge presents a galaxy divided into Zones--regions where different physical constraints allow very different technological and mental possibilities. Earth remains in the "Slowness" zone, where nothing can travel faster than light and minds are fairly limited. The action of the book is in the "Beyond," where translight travel and other marvels exist, and humans are one of many intelligent species. One human colony has been experimenting with ancient technology in order to find a path to the "Transcend," where intelligence and power are so great as to seem godlike. Instead they release the Blight, an evil power, from a billion-year captivity. As the Blight begins to spread, a few humans flee with a secret that might destroy it, but they are stranded in a primitive low-tech world barely in the Beyond. While the Blight destroys whole races and star systems, a team of two humans and two aliens races to rescue the others, pursued by the Blight's agents and other enemies. With uninterrupted pacing, suspense without contrivance, and deftly drawn aliens who can be pleasantly comical without becoming cute, Vinge offers heart-pounding, mind-expanding science fiction at its best.

Vinge, Vernor (1999). A Deepness in the Sky
. New York, Tor.
This hefty novel returns to the universe of Vernor Vinge's 1993 Hugo winner A Fire Upon the Deep--but 30,000 years earlier. The story has the same sense of epic vastness despite happening mostly in one isolated solar system. Here there's a world of intelligent spider creatures who traditionally hibernate through the "Deepest Darkness" of their strange variable sun's long "off" periods, when even the atmosphere freezes. Now, science offers them an alternative. Meanwhile, attracted by spider radio transmissions, two human starfleets come exploring--merchants hoping for customers and tyrants who want slaves. Their inevitable clash leaves both fleets crippled, with the power in the wrong hands, which leads to a long wait in space until the spiders develop exploitable technology. Over the years Vinge builds palpable tension through multiple storylines and characters. In the sky, hopes of rebellion against tyranny continue despite soothing lies, brutal repression, and a mental bondage that can convert people into literal tools. Down below, the engagingly sympathetic spiders have their own problems. In flashback, we see the grandiose ideals and ultimate betrayal of the merchant culture's founder, now among the human contingent and pretending to be a senile buffoon while plotting, plotting. Major revelations, ironies, and payoffs follow. A powerful story in the grandest SF tradition. - David Langford

Virgil and Robert Fitzgerald (1992). The Aeneid
. New York, Knopf: Distributed by Random House.
Virgil's great epic transforms the Homeric tradition into a triumphal statement of the Roman civilizing mission. Translated by Robert Fitzgerald. "A rendering that is both marvelously readable and scrupulously faithful. Fitzgerald has managed, by a sensitive use of faintly archaic vocabulary and a keen ear for sound and rhythm, to suggest the solemnity and the movement of Virgil's poetry as no previous translator has done (including Dryden). This is a sustained achievement of beauty and power." - Boston Globe

Vltchek, Andre (2015). Exposing Lies of the Empire
. Jakarta, ID, Badak Merah.
Vltchek's Exposing Lies takes us to all the continents, to slums and palaces, to the villages bombed into the ground, and to the front lines of the revolution. It alerts and provokes, clarifies and leads forward. It is a book of philosophy, a collection of exceptional investigative journalist reports, and a manifesto.

Vogel, Amos (1974). Film as a Subversive Art
. New York, Random House.

Vogt, Paul (1981). Contemporary Painting
. New York, H.N. Abrams.

Vollard, Ambroise and Violet M. MacDonald (2002). Recollections of a Picture Dealer
. Mineola, N.Y., Dover.
Art merchant and bon vivant Vollard (1867-1939) recounts captivating anecdotes from his professional and social life: selling the works of Cezanne; partying with Renoir, Forain, Degas, and Rodin; the studios and personalities of Manet, Matisse, Picasso, and Rousseau; and encounters with Gertrude Stein, Zola, other noteworthies.

Vollmann, William T. (2002). Argall: The True Story of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith
. New York, Viking.
A novel about the founding of the Virginia colony, this is the third volume in Vollmann's ambitious historical Seven Dreams series, which includes The Ice-Shirt and Fathers and Crows.Reader Right Honorable; I warn'd you that this Book of mine doth drag me down toward the worst," writes William the Blind, chronicler of this third "dream" of Vollman's projected seven-novel series. The settling of Jamestown, far from being a Disney movie fantasy, prefigured the genocide that was eventually to quell the "Salvage" resistance to the settlement of North America. Vollman's angle on the "romance" of Capt. John Smith and "Pokahuntas" is not pretty. Still, Vollman doesn't connive at rote political correctness, either. Inspired by John Smith's own Generall Historie of Virginia, the novel is a vast fresco unfolding the encounter between the Virginia settlers and Powhatan's "People." Smith is "Sweet John," who like a good Elizabethan has taken Machiavelli as his guide to "Politick." His rise to brief eminence as the governor of the colony over the snobbish objections of the council is a tragicomedy of disappointed expectations, yet his policy of bringing war to the "People" has long-range consequences. When Vollman turns to the enigmatic Pokahuntas, he paints a portrait that is both respectful and moving, much different from the author's usual mannered sexual outrageousness. The eponymous Captain Argall edges into the foreground in the second part, succeeding Smith as Jamestown's leading spirit; he has the sinister bearing of some Jacobean theater devil like Iago, there's menace in his meanings. He kidnaps Pokahuntas and manipulates her assimilation into settler culture. Vollman's ability to write in Smith's English and endow it with a contemporary snap is an extraordinary feat. For readers willing to undertake Vollman's somewhat forbidding oeuvre, this is the book to begin with. The book is divided into two sections, the first focusing mainly on John Smith, the second on Pocahontas. Both parts are told in the voice of the dreamer William the Blind, who for this occasion adopts his own weird version of Elizabethan English. Aside from this minor stylistic difficulty, Argall is much more reader-friendly than the other volumes in the series, in part because of the greater familiarity of the material but also because the narrative is completely straightforward, without the intentional dreamlike obscurities of the earlier titles. Vollmann's history emphasizes the paranoia and cruelty of both the English settlers and the indigenous Virginians. Pocahontas's eventual transformation into a God-fearing Englishwoman is a chilling demonstration of 16th-century brainwashing techniques. In William the Blind's summary, the Powhatans lost their princess and their kingdom but gained discount cigarettes and gospel radio.

Vollmann, William T. (2000). Fathers and Crows
. New York, N.Y., Viking.
Idiosyncratic, inspired, and convoluted as ever, Vollmann offers the second installment in his seven-part series (Seven Dreams), moving from the Vikings and Vinland of The Ice-Shirt (1990) to the French and their impact on native populations in and around Quebec in the first half of the 17th century. Taking the Iroquois Saint Catherine Tekakwitha (1656-80) as a point of departure, Vollmann launches himself into a turbulent mytho-historico-geographical "Stream of Time"--which in this case swirls and eddies first around the adventures of Samuel de Champlain, his comings and goings in New France, and his indefatigable efforts to map the unfamiliar territory for his own edification as much as for posterity. Always suspicious of the ``savages,'' meticulous in protecting the property of those chartered to reap the beaver harvest and other riches of the region while eager to gain his share, courageous and feared to the end, Champlain emerges as a man frequently at odds with circumstance but oddly worthy of his legendary status. The man of action gives way to men of the cloth in the latter half, as the Jesuits outmaneuver all opposition on a zealous mission of God to convert the Huron Nation or die trying. Advancing beyond the tentative fringes of French settlement along the St. Lawrence River, they seem to be the black-gowned harbingers of death when one plague after another decimates Huron villages. Happy to baptize the dead and the dying, they are resisted by shamans who have no power to halt either them or their diseases, but the ferocious Iroquois, traditional Huron enemies, are on hand to deliver the coup de grace. Jesuit martyrs are among the victims as the Huron cease to exist as a people but- -like Vollmann's restless dream-vision of North America--they are unstoppable. Vast and vivid as Canada itself, mingling the cold, deep waters of history with the present, and quixotic and ironic to its core. An immensely rewarding saga.

Vollmann, William T. (1990). The Ice-Shirt
. London, A. Deutsch.
This hefty illustrated novel, the first installment of a seven-volume "symbolic history" of North America, is an imaginative retelling of the Norse discovery of Vinland, with the accent on "imaginative." The scholarship is impeccable--the book is packed with glossaries, chronologies, and bibliographies--but Vollmann takes liberties with his sources in order to "further a deeper sense of truth." For insight into shape-changing he interviews a couple of San Francisco transvestites; other informants include Inuit teens, Scandinavian backpackers, and alcoholics Vollmann meets on the bus. The technique has more in common with New Journalism than with history or fiction. Utterly different in subject matter from Vollmann's previous books-- You Bright and Risen Angels and The Rainbow Stories -- The Ice-Shirt nevertheless resembles them in scope and degree of difficulty.

Vollmann, William T. (1994). The Rifles
. New York, Viking.
In an endnote to the latest installment in a projected seven-volume series, Vollmann states, "I have mixed my colors. from the palate of times." The Rifles addresses three historical topics in one hallucinatory narrative: the disastrous Franklin expedition to the North Pole in the 1840s, the Canadian government's forced relocation of Inuit families in the 1950s, and the devastating effects of Western technology on indigenous peoples. Captain Subzero, the book's narrator, journeys to Northern Canada in the 1990s, where he encounters the gasoline-sniffing descendants of a once-proud hunting race. Obsessed with Franklin, he retreats to a remote island outpost to experience cold and starvation firsthand. Huddled in his useless high-tech sleeping bag, Subzero "becomes" Franklin in a long fever dream that comprises most of the book. The text is augmented by maps, drawings, bibliographical notes, and a "consumer's report" on the equipment used. The Rifles is the best of the Seven Dreams series and one of Vollmann's most enjoyable books.

Voltaire and Peter Constantine (2005). Candide, or, Optimism
. New York, Modern Library.
Candide is the story of a gentle man who, though pummeled and slapped in every direction by fate, clings desperately to the belief that he lives in "the best of all possible worlds." On the surface a witty, bantering tale, this eighteenth-century classic is actually a savage, satiric thrust at the philosophical optimism that proclaims that all disaster and human suffering is part of a benevolent cosmic plan. Fast, funny, often outrageous, the French philosopher's immortal narrative takes Candide around the world to discover that -- contrary to the teachings of his distringuished tutor Dr. Pangloss -- all is not always for the best. Alive with wit, brilliance, and graceful storytelling, Candide has become Voltaire's most celebrated work.

Von Schmidt, Eric and Jim Rooney (1994). Baby, Let Me Follow You Down : The Illustrated Story of the Cambridge Folk Years
. Amherst, University of Massachusetts Press.
Long out-of-print, Baby Let Me Follow You Down is a classic in the history of American popular culture. The book tells the story of the folk music community in Cambridge, MA, from its beginnings in living rooms and Harvard Square coffee houses in the late 1950s to the heyday of the folk music revival in the early 1960s. Hundreds of photographs and dozens of interviews combine to re-create the years when Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and a lively band of Cambridge folksingers led a generation in the rediscovery of American folk music. In honor of the 50th anniversary of Harvard Square's iconic Club 47, all photos have been rescreened to achieve a higher quality of reproduction.

von Unwerth, Ellen and Ingrid Sischy (2011). Ellen Von Unwerth: Fraulein
. Los Angeles, CA, Taschen.
Ellen von Unwerth was a supermodel before the term was invented, so she knows a thing or two about photographing beautiful women. Now one of the world's most original and successful fashion photographers, she pays homage to the world's most delectable females in Fraulein. This celebration of our era's sexiest female icons includes Claudia Schiffer, Kate Moss, Vanessa Paradis, Britney Spears, Eva Mendes, Lindsay Lohan, Dita von Teese, Adriana Lima, Carla Bruni, Eva Green, Christina Aguilera, Monica Bellucci and dozens more.

Switching effortlessly between color and immaculate black and white, on Unwerth's photography revels in sexual intrigue, femininity, romance, fetishism, kitsch humor, decadence and sheer joie de vivre. Whether nude or in lingerie and a dazzling smile, her subjects are never objectified. Some flaunt personal fantasies; others are guarded, suggesting that we have stumbled into a secret world. Fashion and fantasy were never so enchantingly combined.

Vonnegut, Kurt (2011). Novels & Stories, 1963-1973
. New York, Library of America.
Capturing Vonnegut in pyrotechnic mid-career, this first volume of a projected three-volume edition gathers four of his most acclaimed novels. Cat's Cradle (1963) is a comedy of the end of the world (it ends with ice). God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965) is the tale of a so-called fool, his money, and the lawyer who contrives to part them (it ends with fire). Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), Vonnegut's breakout book and one of the iconic masterpieces of twentieth-century American literature, is the tale of Billy Pilgrim, who, being unstuck in time, is doomed to continually relive both the firebombing of Dresden and his abduction by space aliens. And, in a text enhanced by the author's spirited line drawings, Breakfast of Champions (1973) describes the fateful meeting of "two lonesome, skinny, fairly old white men," one of whom disastrously believes that everyone else is a robot. The volume is rounded out with three brilliant short stories and revealing autobiographical accounts of the bombing of Dresden.

Vonnegut, Kurt (2014). Novels, 1976-1985
. New York, Library of America.
With the success of Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), Kurt Vonnegut cemented his reputation as America's funniest and most original satirist. This third volume of the definitive edition of his fiction collects four novels written in the 1970s and '80s, when Vonnegut was at the height of his storytelling powers. Slapstick (1976) takes the form of the post-apocalyptic memoirs of Wilbur Daffodil-11 Swain, architect of a brilliant scheme to rid mankind of loneliness. Jailbird (1979) is a political fable of our time, the biography of a good man who becomes embroiled in several of the worst political scandals of the American Century. Deadeye Dick (1982) depicts a talentless playwright's struggle to atone for the crimes of his youth, and the sins of his country. Galápagos (1985), a favorite of the author's among his books, tells the story of how and why a million years ago - during the global ecological disaster of 1986 - humankind embarked on an unlikely evolution. The volume is rounded out with an assortment of Vonnegut rarities: speeches, essays, and commentary from the period that touch upon the themes, incidents, and particulars of the novels.

Vonnegut, Kurt (2016). Novels 1987-1997
. New York, Library of America.
Here are the final three novels of the visionary master who defined a generation. Bluebeard (1987) is the colorful history of a phenomenally gifted realist painter who, in the 1950s, betrayed his artistic vision for commercial success. now, at seventy-one, he writes his memoirs and plots his revenge on the worldly forces that conspired to corrupt his talent. In Hocus Pocus (1990), a freewheeling prison memoir by a Vietnam vet and disgraced academic, Vonnegut brings his indelible voice to a range of still-burning issues - free speech, racism, environmental calamity, deindustrialization, and globalization. Timequake (1997), the author's last completed novel, is part science fiction yarn (starring perennial protagonist Kilgore trout), part diary of the mid-1990s (starring the author himself). the result is a perfect fusion of Vonnegut's two signature genres, the satirical fantasy and the personal essay, and a literary magician's fond farewell to his readers and his craft. Rounded out with a selection of short nonfiction pieces intimately related to these three works, this volume presents the final word from the artist who the San Francisco Chronicle, reviewing Timequake, called an "old warrior who will not accept the dehumanizing of politics, the blunting of conscience, and the glibness of the late-twentieth-century Western world."

Voronsky, Aleksandr Konstantinovich (1998). Art as the Cognition of Life: Selected Writings, 1911-1936
. Oak Park, Mich., Mehring Books.
Voronsky was an outstanding figure of post-revolutionary Soviet intellectual life, editor of the most important literary journal of the 1920s in the USSR and a supporter of Trotsky and the Left Opposition in the struggle against Stalinism. He was executed by Stalin in 1937. A defender of the "fellow traveler" writers and an opponent of the Proletarian Culture movement, Voronsky was one of the authentic representatives of classical Marxism in the field of literary criticism in the twentieth century.

It has long been a weakness in the West that Marxist literary criticism is usually discussed with little direct knowledge of Voronsky's work. The publication of this volume of essays intends to correct that weakness by making available to an English-speaking audience many translated texts for the first time. Following his "rehabilitation" in 1957, several of his writings were published in the USSR in heavily censored form. All cuts have been restored for this edition.

Vowell, Sarah (2011). Unfamiliar Fishes
. New York, Riverhead Books.
Unfamiliar Fishes (the title refers to a Hawaiian scholar's grim warning that "large and unfamiliar fishes will come from the dark ocean, and when they see the small fishes they will eat them up") is a whiplash study of the Americanization of Hawaii and the events leading to its annexation. Its scintillating cast includes dour missionaries, genital-worshiping heathens, Teddy Roosevelt, incestuous royalty, a nutty Mormon, a much-too-merry monarch, President Obama, sugar barons, an imprisoned queen and Vowell herself, in a kind of 50th-state variety show. It's a fun book, which is reason enough to admire it.

About KWSnet  

KWSnet is an Internet subject directory of U.S. national and international news, the arts, computing, culture, environment, law, literature, media, politics, science and technology. Based in San Francisco, California, KWSnet contains over 190,000 annotated links to resources worldwide. Use Google Custom Search, located at the top of each page, to search within this site. Use Ctrl-F (Windows) or ⌘-F (Mac) to search within individual pages.

My Zotero Library provides news articles, primary and secondary sources, and bibliographic information for your research.  Zotero  More information on Zotero – a powerful, easy-to-use research tool – can be found at its site. Also recommended, subscribe to My Zotero Library RSS content for the latest updates.  RSS

KWSnet provides news, arts/culture, environment, media, nature, politics, sci-tech, society, comics, b-days, obits, lists, and other floating wreckage and jettisoned cargo posts at:  X

KWSnet is completely noncommercial: no advertising, no tracking, no marketing. It has no commercial objective or emphasis. Instead, it is intended for educational purposes, research, and personal use. It is updated regularly.

KWSnet is IPv6 enabled, HTTPS deployed, and fully HTML5 compliant.

KWSnet may be contacted via email with any comments, suggestions or link submissions. However, KWSnet does not accomodate guest posts, advertising, nor offers of link exchanges, and it will ignore requests for same. It does welcome requests to add links of quality sites, but chooses which sites to add to its directory based on perceived merit, interest, distinction, usefulness, or educational value. Particularly welcomed are comments correcting broken links, suggesting improvements, and recommendations for worthy additions to the site.

KWSnet is designed and maintained, in its entirety, by Kirk W. Smith.  Comments

Kirk W. Smith

This webpage last updated on Friday, March 3, 2023 5:26 PM.
© 2001-2024 by Kirk W. Smith.
Go to top of page.