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In The Spotlight  

Timely resources and good seasonal reads from the library's collections.
Last Updated: Oct 24, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

The Other December Holidays Print Page

Bill of Rights Day

Bill of Rights Day was declared by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941, to be held on December 15th of each year. These library resources discuss the Bill of Rights and its interpretation in present-day issues.

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Our Constitution: a conversation (DVD)
Call Number: KF4550 .O87 2005
Publication Date: 2005
United States Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Stephen Breyer talk about the Constitution with high school students and discuss why we have and need a constitution, what federalism is, how implicit and explicit rights are defined and how separation of powers ensures that no one branch of government obtains too much power.

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Democracy, expertise, and academic freedom: a First Amendment jurisprudence for the modern state - Post, Robert C.
Call Number: KF4772 .P67 2012
ISBN: 0300148631
Publication Date: 2012
A leading American legal scholar offers a surprising account of the incompleteness of prevailing theories of freedom of speech. Robert C. Post shows that the familiar understanding of the First Amendment, which stresses the "marketplace of ideas" and which holds that "everyone is entitled to an opinion," is inadequate to create and preserve the expert knowledge that is necessary for a modern democracy to thrive. For a modern society reliably to answer such questions as whether nicotine causes cancer, the free and open exchange of ideas must be complemented by standards of scientific competence and practice that are both hierarchical and judgmental. Post develops a theory of First Amendment rights that seeks to explain both the need for the free formation of public opinion and the need for the distribution and creation of expertise. Along the way he offers a new and useful account of constitutional doctrines of academic freedom. These doctrines depend both upon free expression and the necessity of the kinds of professional judgment that universities exercise when they grant or deny tenure, or that professional journals exercise when they accept or reject submissions.

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Forge of union, anvil of liberty: a correspondent's report on the first federal elections, the first federal Congress, and the Bill of Rights - St. John, Jeffrey
Call Number: E303 .S79 1992
ISBN: 0915463628
Publication Date: 1992
This is the final volume of St. John's you-are-there trilogy, which includes Constitutional Journal and A Child of Fortune, on the founding of the U.S. government. St. John describes historical events as though he were a political correspondent of the time. A series of "monthly reports," with such titles as "Surgery Saves Life of President" and "Bill of Rights Stalled in Virginia," follows the process of establishing the first federal government from July 4, 1788, to January 1790. As he emphasizes the importance of the Bill of Rights in securing the Constitution's ratification, St. John's Jeffersonian tilt appears: he characterizes the Constitution as a "living document," interpreted from its beginnings in social and political contexts. While neither his arguments nor his research here are notably original, undergraduates and advanced high school students will find this book a useful introduction to its subject.

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A companion to the United States Constitution and its amendments - Vile, John R.
Call Number: KF4550 .V55 2011
ISBN: 1442209909
Publication Date: 2011
A Companion to the United States Constitution and Its Amendments is designed to show students just how revolutionary the Constitution was-and how relevant it remains today. The Companion begins by revisiting the key events leading to the Constitution's ratification, including the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention, then goes article by article, amendment by amendment, to describe each section of the document, as well as the important court cases that add to its meaning.

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Cruel & unusual: the American death penalty and the founders' Eighth Amendment - Bessler, John D.
Call Number: KF9227 .C2 B478 2012
ISBN: 1555537162
Publication Date: 2012
The conventional wisdom is that the founders were avid death penalty supporters. In this fascinating and insightful examination of America's Eighth Amendment, law professor John D. Bessler explodes this myth and shows the founders' conflicting and ambivalent views on capital punishment. Cruel and Unusual takes the reader back in time to show how the indiscriminate use of executions gave way to a more enlightened approach--one that has been evolving ever since. While shedding important new light on the U.S. Constitution's "cruel and unusual punishments" clause, Bessler explores the influence of Cesare Beccaria's essay, On Crimes and Punishments, on the Founders' views, and the transformative properties of the Fourteenth Amendment, which made the Bill of Rights applicable to the states. After critiquing the U.S. Supreme Court's existing case law, this essential volume argues that America's death penalty--a vestige of a bygone era in which ear cropping and other gruesome corporal punishments were thought acceptable--should be declared unconstitutional.

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Gunfight: the battle over the right to bear arms in America - Winkler, Adam
Call Number: KF3941 .W56 2011
ISBN: 0393077411
Publication Date: 2011
The stage was set on the morning of March 18, 2008 for one of the most important legal battles in recent times. Seeking to breathe new life into the Second Amendment was Alan Gura, a young litigator who had never before argued a case at the Supreme Court. Not only was he up against two of the nation's most formidable lawyers, but, after fighting the National Rifle Association (NRA) at every turn, he now carried the weight of the American gun rights movement on his shoulders. Win or lose, his case would forever reshape the national dialogue over guns and gun ownnership. In this book the author, a professor of Constitutional law, uses the landmark 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, which invalidated a law banning handguns in the nation's Capitol, as a springboard for a historical narrative of America's four-centuries-long political battle over gun control and the right to bear arms. From the Founding Fathers and the Second Amendment to the origins of the Ku Klux Klan, ironically as a gun control organization, the debate over guns has always generated controversy. Whether examining the Black Panthers' role in provoking the modern gun rights movement or Ronald Reagan's efforts to curtail gun ownership, the author weaves together the dramatic stories of gun rights advocates and gun control lobbyists, providing often unexpected insights into the venomous debate that now cleaves our nation.


Wright Brothers Day and Pan American Aviation Day

Wright Brothers Day is held on December 17th in honor of their famous first flight, and Pan American Aviation Day is observed on December 17th as well. The following resources on flight, aircraft, and aviation celebrate these occasions.

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Flight in America: from the Wrights to the astronauts (e-book) - Bilstein, Roger E.
ISBN: 0801866855
Publication Date: 2001
Roger E. Bilstein's Flight in America has won acclaim as the foremost history of one of the twentieth century's landmark achievements—human flight. In this revised and expanded third edition, Bilstein chronicles changes in military, commercial, and space aviation in the 1990s. He offers a glimpse of the developments one might expect in the new millennium.

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Into the blue: American writing on aviation and spaceflight - Corn, Joseph J., ed.
Call Number: PS374 .A37 I68 2011
ISBN: 1598531085
Publication Date: 2011
Into the Blue revisits the remarkable trajectory of Americans in air and space, gathering sixty of the best eyewitness and participant narratives from Benjamin Franklin's letters on the first hot air balloons to Chris Jones's account of being marooned on the International Space Station. Here are those who made flight happen: Orville and Wilbur Wright, self-taught pioneers whose homespun invention stunned the world; World War I ace Eddie Rickenbacker, whose memoirs (excerpted here for the first time in unedited form) describe the frightening novelties of aerial combat; and daredevils like Texas barnstormer Slats Rodgers and test pilot Jimmy Collins. Ernest Hemingway offers a vivid dispatch on a 1922 flight over France, and Gertrude Stein muses on the look of America from the air; Charles A. Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart narrate their groundbreaking transatlantic flights; Ralph Ellison reflects on the experience of African American airmen at Tuskegee; William F. Buckley Jr. recounts his mishaps as an amateur pilot; Wernher von Braun envisions a space station of the future, while astronauts John Glenn, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin provide firsthand recollections of the conquest of space. Here too, among many other subjects, are scenes and episodes in the development of commercial aviation, from the hiring of the first stewardesses and the high stress lives of air traffic controllers to the new ubiquity of what Walter Kirn calls "Airworld." A thirty-two-page insert offers photographs, some previously unpublished, of the writers and their crafts.

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The Wright brothers and the invention of the aerial age - Crouch, Tom D., and Peter L. Jakab
Call Number: TL540 .W7 C7824 2003
ISBN: 0792269853
Publication Date: 2003
Wilbur and Orville were two eccentric owners of a bicycle shop in the heartland. But it was invention, engineering, and the new possibilities of manned flight that obsessed them. In just three years, they went from designing and flying a glider and creating a test wind tunnel to Wilbur’s history-making moments in December 1903 above the dunes at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. In moving prose, Crouch and Jakab explain the Wrights’ achievements and the moments of their great successes, and they paint a masterful personal portrait of the two sometimes erratic, genius personalities (never married, the brothers lived together all their lives), and, most important, the world of pioneering aviation in which they operated.

Poignant archival photographs throughout the book capture that world, where ox carts and airplanes co-existed and where two determined brothers from Dayton were celebrated by presidents and kings. But the most poignant of all the images remains that of an airplane, almost kite-like in its simplicity, struggling skyward from the dunes at Kitty Hawk.

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An illustrated dictionary of aviation (e-book) - Kumar, Bharat, Dale De Remer, and Douglas M. Marshall, eds.
ISBN: 1849721432
Publication Date: 2005
More than a dictionary—though it certainly offers all a dictionary can—this magnificent illustrated reference work will be the centerpiece and foundation of many aviation collections. Seven years in the making, the carefully wrought handiwork of a military air leader and a dedicated writer, Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation is virtually a visual min-encyclopedia of aviation and all its aspects.

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The Aviator (DVD)
Call Number: PN1997.2 .A95 2005 (Popular DVD collection)
ISBN: 079079523X
Publication Date: 2005
Howard Hughes was a rich young man from Texas, heir to his father's fortune, when he decided he wanted to make movies. Age 21, he made the most expensive Hollywood film ever (at the time); and went on to break air-speed records, make another fortune in aircraft design, smash Charles Lindbergh's round-the-world flight record, and be romantically linked with almost all of Hollywood's famous beauties. Nevertheless, he died alone, sealed into a room he never left, the victim of compulsions that drove him to greatness, while containing the seeds of his undoing.


International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Declared in 2003 by the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA (SWOP-USA), this call to social consciousness is observed on December 17th.

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Global sex workers: rights, resistance, and redefinition - Kempadoo, Kamala, and Jo Doezema, eds.
Call Number: HQ111 .G56 1998
ISBN: 0415918294
Publication Date: 1998
Global Sex Workers presents the personal experiences of sex workers around the world. Drawing on their individual narratives, it explores international struggles to uphold the rights of this often marginalized group.

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Girls like us: fighting for a world where girls are not for sale, an activist finds her calling and heals herself - Lloyd, Rachel
Call Number: HQ281 .L57 2011
ISBN: 0061582050
Publication Date: 2011
At thirteen, British-born Rachel Lloyd found herself spiraling into a life of torment and abuse. Vulnerable yet tough, she eventually ended up a victim of commercial sexual exploitation, until she broke free of the street and her pimp thanks to the help of a local church. But that was just the beginning. . . . Three years later, Rachel arrived in the United States to work with adult women in the sex industry and soon founded her own nonprofit, GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services), to meet the needs of those shunned by society. She also earned her GED and won full scholarships to college and a graduate program. Today, Lloyd is the director of GEMS in New York City, one of the nation's most groundbreaking nonprofit organizations. In stunning detail and with cinematic style, Lloyd tells her story -- a harrowing and inspirational tale of suffering, recovery, discovery, and nobility.

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Dangerous pleasures: prostitution and modernity in twentieth-century Shanghai (e-book) - Hershatter, Gail
ISBN: 0520204395
Publication Date: 1999
This pioneering work examines prostitution in Shanghai from the late nineteenth century to the present. Drawn mostly from the daughters and wives of the working poor and declassé elites, prostitutes in Shanghai were near the bottom of class and gender hierarchies. Yet they were central figures in Shanghai urban life, entering the historical record whenever others wanted to appreciate, castigate, count, regulate, cure, pathologize, warn about, rescue, eliminate, or deploy them as a symbol in a larger social panorama.

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Daughters of Rahab: prostitution and the church of liberation in Brazil - Guider, Margaret Eletta
Call Number: BX2347.8.P75 G85 1995
ISBN: 0800670930
Publication Date: 1996
Employing the biblical narrative of Rahab the Harlot as a framework, Guider recounts the 500-year history and social meaning of prostitution in Brazil. She then tracks the Brazilian church's increasing consciousness of the issues and its determination to address the plight of prostitutes as marginalized women, as victims not sinners.


International Migrants Day

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed December 18th to be International Migrants Day, honoring migrant workers and migrant entrepreneurs around the world.

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Return to sender - Alvarez, Julia
Call Number: FIC ALV (Children's book collection, Room 116)
ISBN: 0375858385
Publication Date: 2009
After his family hires migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure, eleven-year-old Tyler befriends the oldest daughter, but when he discovers they may not be in the country legally, he realizes that real friendship knows no borders.

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Immigration in the United States - Dvorak, W. S.
Call Number: JV6465 .I4595 2009
ISBN: 0824210913
Publication Date: 2009
Articles, editorials, and letters from mainstream newspapers and magazines provide a range of opinions for high school and college students debating or researching immigration to the US. Among the themes are immigration since 1965, social and cultural changes, security and fear on the border, opinions on legal and illegal immigration, and federal policy and the future of immigration.

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Give us your best and brightest: the global hunt for talent and its impact on the developing world - Kapur, Devesh, and John McHale
Call Number: HD8038 .D44 K36 2005
ISBN: 1933286032
Publication Date: 2005
Examines the political and economic implications of migrant flows from a development perspective.

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Migration in a global world (Concilium 2008/5) - Lefebvre, Solange, and Luiz Carlos Susin, eds.
Call Number: BV2240 .M5 2008
Publication Date: 2008
Focuses on both theological analysis of the historical and contemporary experience of migration, and the phenomenon of migration itself, especially in highlighting positive or negative characteristics.

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Fruit fields in my blood: Okie migrants in the West - Sonneman, Toby F.
Call Number: HD1527.A17 S66 1992
ISBN: 0893011525
Publication Date: 1992
College-educated spouses Sonneman and Steigmeyer rejected conventional careers to work for years as itinerant fruit pickers, beginning in the early 1970s. During that time, Sonneman's romantic notion of migrant life waned, but her respect for pickers' dignity and independence lasted, and this valuable book is the result. She terms "Okies" those pickers whose parents left Oklahoma and nearby states to follow the crops in the 1930s; she first relates that history. Though she sometimes weaves in her personal experiences awkwardly, Sonneman offers detailed accounts of migrants' lives, including their search for work and the rich but not-so-private sense of community in their trailer camps. Bosses still hold the cards, since legal and illegal immigrants will work for lower wages and ornery Okies resist organizing themselves into groups. Sonneman does not ignore the roles of sexism and fundamentalist religion, but she also defends migrants: her experiences lead her to argue against child labor laws with her liberal friends, and to explain how migrants feel stigmatized by shopkeepers and police. Steigmeyer's black-and-white photographs honestly and intimately portray the rugged existence of these people who self-mockingly call themselves "fruit tramps."


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