Let’s Talk About It

Family: The Way We Were, The Way We Are

For every human being, family life encompasses enduring seasons that form a cycle: growing up, breaking away or breaking down, making choices, looking back, surviving. Such categories may have little to do with age, economic status, or geographical location. But their commonality in American life, as reflected in these books, will challenge readers to define or redefine the meaning of “family” today and, in so doing, to discover something of themselves.

Exploring the West ... Whose West?

The American West no longer offers one story, but many. The record of the interactions between the very different peoples who produced today’s West offers us a more honest creation myth, a story truly shared.

End of the World or World Without End

The year 2000 A.D. was entered with a mixture of fear and hope. For five centuries, people in Europe and then the Americas looked to this year as an ultimatum or culmination. Texts ranging from science fiction to fantasy and poetry explored such questions as this: “Have we exhausted the resources of humanity and the planet, or have we been preparing the ground for a compatible, sustainable world?”

The End of Life

The works in this series offer wide-ranging explorations of death and dying and the challenges of end of life care. They raise many important questions: What wishes regarding dying must we as a society struggle to better hear? How can these wishes be satisfied with the help of existing health and social resources? What new resources must we develop in response to these wishes?

Destruction or Redemption

Such a transcendent force as romantic love can have great power to destroy or redeem, and this ambiguity is a central theme in these five novels. Perhaps the most basic aspect of this kind of love is its potential to transform us in some way, however briefly.

Contemporary Japanese Literature

Modern Japan fascinates Westerners. Its industrial and technological advances challenge us. Its ancient traditions and venerable culture intrigue us. We wonder how a people living in an area the size of Montana could have survived the devastation of World War II to become one of the most productive nations on Earth. The engimas of the Japanese spirit can be explained through the nation’s literature. Gifted writers reveal the nature of modern Japan.

Being Ethnic, Becoming American

We all know the image of melting-pot America—the land of the free and home of the brave that welcomes persons of all heritages to hitch their wagons to the stars and stripes. We all are part of it. The very food we eat, clothes we wear, homes and neighborhoods we live in, family life and traditions all mark as as Americans—and as something else. For in addition to being Americans, we also are very separate groups of peoples, made different by our ethnic heritages by what we or our families were before.

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