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Behind the Bench

The Supreme Court's hearing on the constitutionality of President Obama's health care law has attracted a nearly unprecedented amount of interest, not only from individuals demonstrating on the court's steps—or waiting in line literally for days for a seat inside—but from organizations either supporting or opposing the law. Apparently a record number of briefs have been filed—so-called amicus curiae, in which organizations provide historical and legal data to influence the process. As these briefs are processed by the court's law clerks, we thought we would go to Todd C. Peppers and Artemus Ward, editors of In Chambers: Stories of Supreme Court Law Clerks and Their Justices, with some of our questions about the preparation for this historic ruling.


Been Here Before

As the EU approves a second bailout for the failing Greek economy, we thought it would be a good time to hear from historians John P. Kaminski and Richard Leffler. Their most recent project, an English-language edition of Jürgen Heideking's The Constitution before the Judgment Seat, reveals many compelling parallels between Europe's current fiscal challenges and those faced by the founders in the days of the early republic.


Figuring Out Jefferson

This being the week of President's Day, we thought we would ask one of our favorite authors, Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hemingses of Monticello and Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy, about her recent reading on the third president.
Q: We at UVA Press, along with Maurizio Valsania, were delighted to learn that you were reading his latest book, The Limits of Optimism: Thomas Jefferson's Dualistic Enlightenment. How did you come to his work?

Gordon-Reed: My good friend Peter Onuf of the University of Virginia had read the book in manuscript and suggested I read it.

Q: Jefferson is well known as an enlightenment thinker. Did anything in Valsania's book surprise you?

Gordon-Reed: Well, it’s such a fresh take on Jefferson. It moves beyond the “He was a man of contradictions” approach. That is true, but as Valsania shows, a lot of what Jefferson says and does hangs together.


LBJ Wins PROSE Award

Winners of the 36th PROSE Awards were announced on February 2, and our electronic imprint, Rotunda, was honored for its digital edition of The Presidential Recordings of Lyndon B. Johnson, which won 2011 Best eProduct in the Humanities.



Enter the First Ladies, 2012

Undoubtedly one of the brightest spots in the tedious, tendentious slog of the Republican presidential debates came in Jacksonville, Florida on January 26, when Wolf Blitzer asked the candidates which of their wives would be the best First Lady. The Twitt-O-Sphere went wild, howling at Gingrich's gaffe that made him sound like he was evaluating all his wives for the job.


Grab a Lifeboat

The still-unfolding story of the Costa Concordia, the Italian cruise ship run aground off the coast of the Tuscan island Giglio, has reminded us of dangers, and remedies, nearly as old as seafaring itself. Reports of the thousands of passengers' struggle to escape made us think of John Stilgoe, whose book Lifeboat is the definitive study of one of the fixtures of survival at sea. Stilgoe took a few minutes from his duties as Lois Orchard Professor in the History of Landscape at Harvard to answer our questions about the sinking ship and the enduring role played by the smaller boat you never thought you'd have to use.


UPCC Opens Its Doors

The University of Virginia Press is among a group of 70 scholarly publishers that are participating in the University Press Content Consortium (UPCC), which offers readers a new way to locate and browse e-books.  You will find e-book editions of many of Virginia's most recent titles here.


A Tip for that Wild Boar

For those of you who would like to start the new year with a different sort of dish, Golden-Bristled Boar author Jeffrey Greene passes along the following recipe for Jabalí en adobo, which serves 6 to 8  as part of a selection of tapas.


Salomé Live

A reading of Joseph Donohue's new translation of Oscar Wilde's one-act tragedy Salomé was staged at Charlottesville's Live Arts theater on December 2, 2011. This clip comes at a crucial moment in the play's action, when Salomé, having danced for her stepfather Herodias, reveals to him what the price will be.


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