Explore Magazine Volume 3 Issue 1


The Great Lobster War

Ron Formisano

University of Massachusetts Press

"Informative, moving, and humorous. Formisano displays strong narrative skill and is deft at penning sharp portraits of the diverse cast of characters - the opposing lobstermen, the dealers, the lawyers on both sides, the judge - in ways that add to the drama and human interest of the story."
- Joseph Conforti, University of Southern Maine

In 1955, the independent small owners who made up Maine's lobster fishery broke with tradition and established the Maine Lobstermen's Association (MLA), an organization formed to bargain with wholesalers for better lobster prices. But when the MLA called for strikes in 1957 after prices dropped for the second year in a row, dealers refused to negotiate and brought the U.S. Justice Department into the dispute. Soon the federal government indicted the MLA under the Sherman Antitrust Act and, at the ensuing trial, weathered lobstermen in workshirts matched wits with a team of government lawyers from New York City.

In The Great Lobster War, Ron Formisano offers a lucid description of the romance and reality of the Maine lobster industry, the strike, the trial, and the aftermath of the controversy. He views the "lobster war" as a classic American conflict between economic interest and independence and, ultimately, between cooperation and individualism.

Ron Formisano is a professor of history at the University of Florida. He spends his summers on Chebeague Island in Maine's Casco Bay. His most recent book is Boston Against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Modern Political Campaign
Mudslinging, Bombast, and the Vitality of American Politics

Richard K. Scher

M.E. Sharpe, Inc.

Political campaigns have been favorite targets of critics since our nation's origin. "Too long," "too expensive," "too negative," "too personal," "too corrupt"- these charges were made in the 19th century just as they are made today; but are they compelling?

This short book takes a fresh look at the American style of campaign politics, past and present, warts and all, to argue that campaigns reflect both our popular culture and the place of politics in our national life. In the end, the purpose of campaigns is to draw voters' attention to a candidate or issue, even though politics is not of immediate interest to many or most citizens. That is what campaigns do and always have done in America - and there is no reason to think that a more cerebral approach to politics would be more effective. What is, and should be, of great concern is the problem of campaign finance - both as a corrupting influence and as a major drain of candidates' time and attention. On this point, the author makes a controversial, but eminently workable, proposal for reform.

Reflective, analytical and firmly committed to democratic values, this book challenges citizens to trade cynicism for realism - to take a clear-eyed look at our politics and ourselves, and appreciate both for what they are.

Richard K. Scher, professor of political science at the University of Florida, is an active political consultant and a frequent commentator on political life. His most recent books are Voting Rights and Democracy: The Law and Politics of Districting and Politics in the New South: Republicanism, Race, and Leadership in the Twentieth Century.

Procreative Man

William Marsiglio

New York University Press

"It is difficult to imagine embarking on an investigation of men's sexual, fertility, and parenting practices without consulting this volume. Marsiglio has organized and explored a vast amount of scholarly work with a keen eye for sociological and policy-related relevance. Moreover, he does it with a flair that holds the reader's interest throughout."
- Frank Furstenberg, University of Pennsylvania

In what ways do men think about and express themselves as procreative beings? Under what circumstances do they develop paternal identities? What is their involvement with partners during the pregnancy and delivery process, and how do they feel about it?

In Procreative Man, William Marsiglio addresses these and other timely questions with an eye toward the past, present and future. Drawing upon writings ranging from sociology to biomedicine, Marsiglio develops a novel framework for exploring men's multifaceted and gendered experiences as procreative beings.

Addressing such issues as how men feel about their limited role in the abortion decision and process, how important genetic ties are for men who want to be fathers, and men's reactions to infertility, Marsiglio shows how men's roles in creating and fathering human life are embedded within a rapidly changing cultural and sociopolitical environment.

The most comprehensive analysis of men and procreation, this theoretically informed work challenges us to expand our vision of fatherhood.

William Marsiglio is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Florida. He has written extensively on men's sexuality and fatherhood. He is the editor or co-author of numerous books and articles, including most recently Fatherhood: Contemporary Theory, Research, and Social Policy.

Landscaping for Florida's Wildlife
Re-creating Native Ecosystems in Your Yard

Joe Schaefer and George Tanner

University Press of Florida

As the natural landscape becomes more humanized, the habitat for many wildlife species has been lost or degraded. In a clear, step-by-step format, this book tells how to create a wildlife-friendly landscape that takes into account both people and nature. The authors' theme - "put back what you don't need" - allows the gardener to reduce maintenance costs while providing a habitat that offers wildlife the essentials of food, cover, water and space.

The book addresses such fundamental questions as which ecosystem is appropriate to a particular piece of property and how to determine which species use the property.

It discusses how to consider soils, drainage patterns, utility lines, adjacent land uses and existing native vegetation.

It describes how to prepare a base map; add plant and non-plant elements such as birdhouses, burrows and tree frog houses; and calculate the cost of materials. It tells how to install, maintain and evaluate the new yard.

Throughout, helpful drawings, tables and worksheets illustrate the procedures. Appendices include an extensive list of native plants by ecosystem type, contacts with public agencies and private conservation organizations, lists of field guides and related books, and a table that shows which wildlife species use various ecosystems.

Joe Schaefer is associate professor and George Tanner is professor of wildlife ecology and conservation at the University of Florida. Both have written popular articles and books that apply scientific knowledge to conservation actions.

Auden and Documentary in the 1930s

Marsha Bryant

University Press of Virginia

"Marsha Bryant's contribution to documentary studies, particularly the history of the documentary during the 1930s, is truly significant. By focusing on Auden's 'lesser' work, she shows how documentary itself is always understood as marginal - a hybrid genre uneasy with its tenuous connections to cinema, literature and journalism. This book opens up rich possibilities for interconnecting divergent fields of study that complicate the simplistic divisions governing national (literary) histories, media, genres and movements."
- Paula Rabinowitz, University of Minnesota

W.H. Auden established his literary reputation in a decade framed by economic depression and global war. He emerged as the defining literary voice of the 1930s while the documentary genre emerged as the decade's principal discourse of social reality. In Auden and Documentary in the 1930s, Marsha Bryant examines this cultural convergence to challenge standard assumptions about socially engaged art. Restoring to Auden's canon the commentaries he wrote for documentary films and the photographs he published in his documentary travelogues, she considers the decade's interplay of visual and literary texts.

Auden's first-hand experience with the British documentary film movement, along with his status as a gay man, prompted him to interrogate the politics of documentary representation. His work with the G.P.O. film unit reveals ways in which the act of men filming men can blur boundaries of class and homoerotic voyeurism. In Letters from Iceland Auden juxtaposes poetry, prose and photographs, using modernist collage to question documentary ideas of order. The famous poem Spain challenges the artist's role as observer by rejecting journalistic techniques such as interviews and reportage and obscuring distinctions between civilian and soldier, reader and text. In Journey to a War, another collaboration between photographs and words, Auden and Christopher Isherwood use their position as gay Englishmen in China to expose the heterosexism and imperialism inherent in traditional British documentary discourse.

The 1930s continue to provide our dominant models of socially engaged art, especially through the documentary genre. In Auden's alternative documentary texts, Bryant reveals, the 1930s can also suggest new models of representation. This multilayered study should appeal to scholars of film studies, modernism, cultural studies and gay studies, as well as to Auden's legions of fans.

Marsha Bryant is associate professor of English at the University of Florida and editor of Photo-Textualities: Reading Photographs and Literature.