UPK Has Books for Every Reader on Your Holiday Shopping List

By Weston Loyd

(Dec. 4, 2015) — The University Press of Kentucky (UPK) is now offering a myriad of titles, many of which would be perfect for that hard-to-buy-for person on your holiday shopping list.

Friends and family who enjoy learning about the Commonwealth’s history may enjoy several publications from UPK, including recent releases The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia, "Committed to Victory," "Venerable Trees," "Lincoln’s Final Hours" or "Kentucky by Design."

The history of African Americans in Kentucky is long and vast. The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia, edited by Gerald L. Smith, the Theodore A. Hallam Professor and the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar in Residence in the University of Kentucky Department of History; Karen Cotton McDaniel, professor emeritus at Kentucky State University; and John A. Hardin, a history professor at Western Kentucky University, is the first encyclopedia of its type in the nation. The encyclopedia includes biographical sketches of politicians and community leaders as well as pioneers in art, science and industry. For researchers, students and all who cherish state history, The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia is an indispensable reference that highlights the diversity of the state’s culture and history.

When World War II broke out in Europe in September 1939, Kentucky was still plagued by the Great Depression. In "Committed to Victory: The Kentucky Home Front during World War II," UK alumnus Richard Holl offers the first comprehensive examination of the Commonwealth’s civilian sector during this pivotal era in the state’s history. "Committed to Victory" is a timely and engaging account that fills a significant gap in our understanding of a crucial period of American history.

When the first settlers arrived in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, they found an astonishing landscape of open woodland grazed by vast herds of bison. In "Venerable Trees: History, Biology, and Conservation in the Bluegrass," former UK faculty member Tom Kimmerer showcases the beauty, age, size and splendor of historical trees across the Bluegrass. Featuring more than 100 color photos, "Venerable Trees" is an informative call to understand the challenges faced by our companions so deeply rooted in the region’s heritage and a passionate plea for their preservation.

Readers get a front-row seat to the historical drama and horror of Abraham Lincoln’s death by putting them in the shoes of the audience in Ford’s Theatre that dreadful evening in "Lincoln’s Final Hours: Conspiracy, Terror, and the Assassination of America’s Greatest President." Kathryn Canavan explores John Wilkes Booth’s personal and political motivations in this fast-paced account of the dramatic consequences that would upend the lives of ordinary Washingtonians and Americans alike.

"Kentucky by Design: The Decorative Arts and American Culture" offers the first comprehensive examination of the objects from the Commonwealth featured in the Index of American Design as part of the Federal Art Project. Using more than 200 color photos and illustrations, it showcases a wide array of offerings, including architecture, furniture, ceramics, musical instruments, textiles, clothing, and glass- and metal-works. Edited by Andrew Kelly, "Kentucky by Design" provides unique and valuable study into an important chapter in both United States and Kentucky design history.

For more holiday-themed publications, check out "Haunted Holidays" or "The Christmas Truce."

"Haunted Holidays: Twelve Months of Kentucky Ghosts," is a year’s worth of eerie stories centered on the holidays. In addition to spooky stories, authors Lonnie E. Brown and Roberta Simpson Brown reveal many Appalachian legends and their importance to the storytelling tradition, such as the phantom bells that guide the dead to the other side, and the "chime child" who is born when the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Day, rumored to be blessed with the gift of second sight.

In "The Christmas Truce: Myth, Memory, and the First World War," Terri Blom Crocker provides the first comprehensive examination of both scholarly and popular portrayals of the Christmas Truce from 1914 to present. Crocker’s groundbreaking, meticulously researched work challenges conventional analyses and sheds new light on the history and mythology of the War to End All Wars. Crocker is a doctoral candidate in history and senior paralegal for investigations in the Office of Legal Counsel at UK.

Those on your shopping list who enjoy culinary creations will likely have a taste for "The Birth of Bourbon," "The Manhattan Cocktail" and "Flavors From Home."

In "The Birth of Bourbon: A Photographic Tour of Early Distilleries," award-winning photographer Carol Peachee takes readers on an unforgettable tour of lost distilleries as well as facilities undergoing renewal, such as the famous Old Taylor and James E. Pepper distilleries in Lexington. The book features 238 color photos that Peachee created using a technique known as high-dynamic-range imaging — a process that produces rich saturation, intensely clarified details and a full spectrum of light. Her work also includes spaces that well-known brands, including Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, Four Roses and Buffalo Trace, have preserved as a homage to their rich histories.

Alongside other classic cocktails such as the old-fashioned, the mint julep and the martini, the Manhattan has been a staple of the sophisticated bar scene since the late 19th century. "The Manhattan Cocktail: A Modern Guide to the Whiskey Classic," by Albert W. A. Schmid, is the essential guide covering everything that the aficionado needs to know about the cocktail through an examination of its history and ingredients while featuring more than 50 recipes with notes and anecdotes.

In "Flavors from Home: Refugees in Kentucky Share Their Stories and Comfort Foods," Aimee Zaring shares fascinating and moving stories of perseverance, courage and self-reinvention from Kentucky’s resettled refugees. As these individuals and their families struggle to adapt to a new culture, the kitchen often becomes one of the few places where they are able to return "home." Featuring more than 40 recipes from around the globe, "Flavors from Home" reaches across the table to explore the universal language of food.

If those publications don’t do the trick, surely pop culture publications “Crane” and “Stuntwomen” will.

On June 29, 1978, Bob Crane, known to "Hogan’s Heroes" fans as Colonel Hogan, was discovered brutally murdered in his apartment in Scottsdale, Arizona. His eldest son, Robert Crane, was called to the crime scene. In "Crane: Sex, Celebrity and My Father’s Unsolved Murder," Robert Crane discusses that terrible day, and how he has lived with the unsolved murder of his father. But that storyline is just one thread in his tale of growing up in Los Angeles, his struggles to reconcile the good and sordid sides of his celebrity father, and his own fascinating life in a poignant memoir.

For decades, stuntwomen have faced institutional discrimination, unequal pay and sexual harassment even as they jumped from speeding trains and raced horse-drawn carriages away from burning buildings. Author Mollie Gregory conducted 65 interviews for "Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story" to go behind-the-scenes of this part of the entertainment industry. The book explores the trials and tribulations stuntwomen have faced, providing relevance to readers interested in feminism, culture and contemporary law, as well as lovers of the world of cinema and television.

With UPK currently offering more than 1,300 titles at discounts up to 80 percent, there is no better time to share and gift these historic and regional titles. The holiday sale will continue to run through Feb. 1, 2016. To order any of the highlighted titles or to see the entire sale selection, visit online at www.kentuckypress.com.

Place orders by tonight, Dec. 4, to ensure holiday delivery. For those worried about delivery deadlines, many of UPK books can be found at bookstores throughout the state.

UPK is the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, representing a consortium that now includes all of the state universities, five private colleges, and two historical societies. UPK's editorial program focuses on the humanities and the social sciences. Offices for the administrative, editorial, production and marketing departments of the press are found at UK, which provides financial support toward the operating expenses of the publishing operation.

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