The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 182

Very Early Winter 2008 - 2009


This month will mark
RALPH's fifteenth year.
Here are reviews of some books
that we most loved, plus
a scattering of poems and articles
from our earliest issues.

The Murder of Nikolai Vavilov
"The book follows
Vavilov's life from
his youth and early days as
an agronomist before 1917,
through his attempts to conduct
honest, normal science in
Stalin's Socialist wonderland,
to his arrest and imprisonment,
death in prison camp."

50 Photographers
You Should Know

"This is a work of love,
and we love it,
and would marry
editor Peter Stepan
if he would have us,
if he's free and willing,
has the time to take a myriad
of photographs of us
in the buff."

The Serpents Tale
"It is a rich mix of murder,
rumination on women's
place in 12th Century England,
medical science, evil churchfolk,
mercenaries, plots on the
life and holdings of a king,
the life of the poor nuns, and
the cold and the snow there
around Godstow Abbey."

The Logic of Life
"One study of New Orleans
suggests that the $800,000
spent per family on rebuilding
what is still a dying city
could more efficiently have been
used merely by doling out
checks for the same amount to all,
to let them set up housekeeping
anywhere in the world
they so chose."

Fifty-Eight Days in the Cajundome Shelter
"What a chance for Dobie
to humanize the double tragedy of
Katrina and Rita for all of us.
To interview, in depth,
those battered by the storms,
their beginnings, the aftermath,
their lives, their experiences,
their hopes, their sorrows."

Talking Taíno
"The chapter on Columbus
confirms that he was probably dotty,
as he proposed the unique theory
'that the earth was shaped like a pear
with a rise like a woman's breast,
on which rested the
Terrestrial Paradise
to which no man could sail
without the permission of God.'"

Steward of Song
"It's all good fun.
Bridie is a kick,
talks like a wise-ass,
has all the lines,
and should have starred in
a less cluttered movie.
When the trolls move in,
it gets noisy and ---
when the bad ones appear ---
very smelly."

Sex Talks to Girls
"Then he was gone,
at least for the rest
of my freshman year.
I couldn't have sex with Harper
because of Jesus,
and Harper got tired of
waiting outside the church
for a virgin with light
pouring out of her orifices
and nothing going in."

Scheisshaus Luck
"I felt as if
I had stepped into
a Jules Verne novel.
Did the Nazis want to
send us 'undesirables' into space,
using our ashes to
turn the moon into
one big cabbage patch?"

Cuba: Art and History
"The editors and
the Montreal Museum
deserve a big hurrah
with the appearance of this one.
They have neatly skirted
the appalling politics of Cuba,
a small nation that merely
wanted to be out of
the shadow of Spain (at first),
then the ham-fisted ministrations
of the United States (second)."

Great Reviews of the Past
The French Revolution
"Austria and France
had just concluded
a very long war,
called the Seven Year's War
even though it went on for nine years
due to inflation.
Wars lasted much longer
in those days ---
no nukes and missiles and smart-bombs,
just muskets and pikestaffs."

Managing Your Assets
In Troubled Times

Rev. Larry Parks
Shipping Parts


Reymundo Sanchez
My Bloody Life

Twenty-Seven Great Books on Disability
"Writing on disability
is like fine bone china ---
it demands a certain delicacy.
A worthy writer must show us the good
as well as the ghastlies without
the chill of unrelieved anger,
without descending into
fake heroics."

The Eyes of the City
"These tall apartment buildings
tended to lift eyes away
from street-level and make
the streets more dangerous:
You cannot leap up from
your vantage point on the stoop
and dash across the street
to rescue the victim of a stabbing
if you live on the fourteenth floor."

American Sugar Subsidies
"They raise costs for
American producers who
use sugar in their products,
such as candy manufacturers and
refiners of biofuels.
They raise costs for
American consumers.
They reduce demand for
American products abroad."

Pangur Bán My Cat
"So in peace our tasks we ply,
Pangur Bán, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.
Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light."

Two More from Wales
Fly in a Hospital
"Rumour has it
the basement contains a delicatessen of cold meat,
name-tags gracing big toes. For now, shrivelled grape
and crumpled tissue suffice, though it hopes
for a used dressing before the day is out."

The Bearded Lady and the Mannequin
"We are the ideal pair.
I am the father whom he never knew;
the mother also. He's the son I crave
though cannot form. We rise above taboo,
me with my perfume, he his aftershave."


All the back-issues of RALPH,
including titles of books under review,
along with author, subject, and publisher,
plus links to readings, articles, and poems
that have appeared on-line
since 1994.

of our most notorious reviews
as collected in the hard-copy

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T H E  F A C T S
Submitting Books
The best way to get books to RALPH for review.
Submitting Reviews
Suggestions for would-be reviewers --- and payment schedule.
RALPH didn't spring full-blown from the brows of the gods:
     We've been around (in different guises) for over thirty years.     
The Fessenden Fund
Describing the good works of RALPH's official godparent
Behind the Scenes

The Faces of Those Who Make Up the Face of RALPH
Copyright Notice
The Reginald A. Fessenden Educational Fund, Inc.

Lolita Lark, Editor-In-Chief
Post Office Box 16719
San Diego CA 92176

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