Good Reads: New Books of Interest for the Longhorn Universe

Frank Lloyd Wright, Art Collector: Secessionist Prints From the Turn of the Century

By Anthony Alofsin

Despite having his Austin home, which he designed himself, in Better Homes and Gardens magazine, UT architecture professor Anthony Alofsin isn’t most famous for his own handiwork; instead, he’s known world-round as the leading expert on Frank Lloyd Wright. In his fifth book on the prominent 20th-century architect, Alofsin explores Wright’s artistic taste by delving into the architect’s personal art collection. The author reveals Wright’s affinity for the work of turn-of-the-century European artists who emphasized landscapes and modernism—two characteristics that were reflected in his most famous structures, including New York’s Guggenheim.

 

A Mess of Greens: Southern Gender and Southern Food

By Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt

When one thinks of racial and gender divides, Jim Crow laws, the civil rights movement, or even Rosie the Riveter may come to mind—but rarely Southern comfort food. In A Mess of Greens, American Studies associate professor Elizabeth Engelhardt cooks up an interesting theory: women’s food choices are inextricably linked to race, gender, and social issues. Using letters, cookbooks, and diaries from throughout the late 19th and early 20th century, Engelhardt illuminates the strange powers of Southern staples like moonshine, biscuits, and cornbread; they could unite cooks and mistresses around a kitchen table, or damage a family’s reputation irreparably.

 

Drilling Down: The Gulf Oil Debacle and Our Energy Dilemma

By Joseph A. Tainter and Tadeusz W. Patzek

A leader in oil and energy research, Tad Patzek, chairman of UT’s petroleum and geosystems engineering department, has briefed Congress, NPR, BBC, and CNN on the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. Now, he has picked up a pen to help anthropologist and historian Joseph A. Tainter create an accurate account of the factors that led up to the Deepwater calamity, which they believe was the worst environmental catastrophe in memory. But Drilling Down isn’t simply a history lesson; it’s an exploration of how our world revolves around oil and how it will continue to do so as resources dry up. From extraction to alternative energy options, Patzek and Tainter tackle it all in this all-too-relevant account of Earth’s energy woes.

 

Inequity in the Technopolis: Race, Class, Gender, and the Digital Divide in Austin

Edited by Joseph Straubhaar, Jeremiah Spence, Zeynep Tufekci, and Roberta G. Lentz

Dell, Intel, Facebook—over the last 10 years, Austin’s city limits have begun to burst at the seams as more and more technology companies set up shop in the Lone Star State.

But, according to the editors of Inequity in the Technopolis, that’s not exactly a good thing. The researchers’ 10-year-long study on the digital divide in Austin reveals that the economic boom caused by the influx of tech companies has left poorer residents in the dust. And to the dismay of Joseph Straubhaar, RTF professor and former director of Brazilian Studies at the Long Institute, a lot of those left behind are Latinos. But all hope isn’t lost, the authors say, praising Austin’s public libraries and nonprofits for making digital inclusion their top priority—an example they hope others will follow.

 

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