“By far the best dressing up outfit I ever had was a wonderful pair of clown dungarees, which my Granny made.” –Kate Middleton

Tomorrow, Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton are getting hitched, and the question on everyone’s mind is: what is Kate going to wear?

Since their engagement, the media world has been abuzz with what’s going on in Britain. Princess Diana is remembered as her son prepares to start a new chapter of his life. Her incredible sense of style is also remembered as talk of Kate’s mystery dress has become a popular topic of conversation.

Kerrily Sapet, author of Morgan Reynolds’s Profiles in Fashion: Jimmy Choo, writes, “As a fashion icon [Diana] wanted to revive the British fashion industry by wearing clothes and accessories created by British designers.”

Following in her footsteps, Kate will most likely be wearing British designs on her big day. Who knows, she may even wear a pair of shoes by Choo to walk down the aisle. (Since Jimmy Choo lives in London, it would count!)

That’s not to say that American designers aren’t just as excited to dream up the perfect dress for the princess-to-be.

According Lisa Petrillo, author of Morgan Reynolds’s Profiles in Fashion: Vera Wang, Wang once said, “For most women, a wedding gown represents far more than just a dress. It is also the embodiment of a dream.”

Like many U.S. designers, Wang has designed what she considers to be a “regal, yet poetic” dream gown for Kate.

Whatever Kate has chosen, we can be sure that it will reflect her character and style.

Isaac Mizrahi, a believer that anyone can be stylish, once said, “One thing that you can do no matter who you are or what you look like: You can actually get passionate instead of remaining cool or instead of trying to look like everybody else. You can—you must– immerse yourself passionately in who you are if you want to have style.”

Kate Middleton has definitely shown the world who she is by the styles she wears. She is classic. She is modern. She is feminine. She’s got the makings of a princess.

Adrianne Loggins
Associate Editor

For more information about some of the world’s leading fashion designers, see Morgan Reynolds’s Profiles in Fashion series (ISBN 978-159935-149-8), a  Booklist Top 10 Series Nonfiction.

Profiles in Fashion: Jimmy Choo by Kerrily Sapet

ISBN: 978-1-59935-151-X

Profiles in Fashion: Vera Wang by Lisa Petrillo

ISBN: 978-1-59935-150-1

Profiles in Fashion: Isaac Mizrahi by Lisa Petrillo

ISBN: 978-1-59935-152-8

Profiles in Fashion: Kate Spade by Margo Freistadt

ISBN: 978-1-59935-154-4

Profiles in Fashion: Marc Jacobs by Leslie Wolf Branscomb

ISBN: 978-1-59935-153-6

Published in: on April 28, 2011 at 2:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

“If you see the President, tell him from me that whatever happens there will be no turning back.” – Ulysses S. Grant

The attack on Fort Sumter

Yesterday was the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. That’s the day Confederate soldiers fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, triggering the start of a four-year-long war between a country split in two.”No one was ready for a war,” Carla Joinson, author of Civil War Doctor: The Story of Mary Walker, writes. “Neither side expected the magnitude of the war that was about to begin.”

Details of what happened on that fateful day are chronicled in Morgan Reynolds’s The Firing on Fort Sumter: A Splintered Nation Goes to War, by author Nancy Colbert. Colbert writes: Major Robert Anderson was in command of the Union militia stationed at Fort Moultrie, nearby Sumter, in 1860. In the past, the army and the locals had been friendly. But Lincoln’s election caused a major rift in this relationship. Charlestonians were outraged, and Anderson knew his soldiers were not safe from their anger. They needed a sturdier fort, and Anderson looked to Sumter for protection of his troops. But he knew re-locating to Sumter would inevitably anger the locals even more.

Colbert further explains in The Firing on Fort Sumter that Anderson was told by Washington not to fan the flame with the people of Charleston, only to act when confronted with hostility. However, “It became clear to Anderson that his superiors in Washington were as confused as to what was the proper course of action as he was.”

In December of 1860, Anderson moved his garrison to Sumter. “Anderson’s move, which was meant to protect the peace, served as a rallying cry for war in the North. In the South the move was called even worse. The Charleston Courier shouted: ‘Maj. Robert Anderson, U.S.A., has achieved the unenviable distinction of opening civil war.’”

Early in the morning of April 12, 1861, Colbert writes,

The sky became like a night of holiday fireworks. People in Charleston trooped up to the rooftops and along the waterfront to watch the show. The rumbling, deadening roar of the Confederate artillery filled the air. But Fort Sumter lay silent. No guns fired. The Confederates wondered if Anderson had decided to quite without a fight. When dawn came, though, the American flag was still flying proudly over the fort.

Thus the American Civil War began. And as Joinson writes, no one expected the four year long saga it would become. “Expecting a short war, few bothered to put the infrastructure in place that would move supplies efficiently, take men where they needed to go, and look to their needs after a battle.”

In the end, both the North and the South were burnt out from war and loss. After General Robert E. Lee’s surrender, General Robert Anderson returned to Sumter exactly four years after those first shots were fired to reclaim the fort, ceremoniously signifying the end of the war. As the United States flag was fastened to the pole, Anderson said, “After four long, long years of bloody war, I restore to its proper place this dear flag which floated here during peace, before the first act of this cruel Rebellion. I thank God that I have lived to see this day and to be here to perform this . . . duty to my country. I thank God who so singly blessed us.”

Adrianne Loggins
Associate Editor

*For more information on the Civil War, check out Morgan Reynolds titles:

Civil War Doctor: The Story of Mary Walker by Carla Joinson

(ISBN: 978-1-59935-028-8)

The Firing on Fort Sumter: A Splintered Nation Goes to War by Nancy Colbert

(ISBN: 978-1-883846-51-0)

Ulysses S. Grant: Defender of the Union by Earle Rice Jr.

(ISBN: 978-1-931798-48-8)

Robert E. Lee: First Soldier of the Confederacy by Earle Rice Jr.

(ISBN: 978-1-931798-47-1)

Published in: on April 13, 2011 at 12:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

“As I have said for many years throughout this land, we’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the future of human civilization. Every bit of that has to change.” -Al Gore

U.S. gas prices are pushing toward $4 a gallon. With the summer driving and flying season right around the corner, this is bad news for travelers. Political unrest in the Middle East is blamed for the rising prices, and in a recent speech President Obama rolled out a blueprint for curbing our dependence on foreign oil. Unfortunately, Obama is not the first president to promise and then fail to reduce energy imports.

The question is how did the U.S. become so dependent on foreign oil in the first place. You can find the answer to this question within the pages of Diminishing Resources: Oil (978-1-59935-117-9)a beautifully illustrated 112-page Morgan Reynolds book. Oil provides the historical background needed to understand how the U.S. got into its current situation, as well as explores how the country might pull itself out of this predicament with renewable energy sources, such as corn ethanol, wind and solar power, and even expanded domestic oil and gas production.

Diminishing Resources: Oil is one of four books in a Morgan Reynolds series that takes a hard look at how we’re managing, or mismanaging, the diminishing resources of oil, water, forests, and soil.

Veteran journalist Timothy Gardner, currently the energy and environment correspondent for the international news service Reuters, is the author of Oil. He writes that “In the summer of 1859, “Colonel” Edwin L. Drake drilled the first successful oil well in the United States.” Before the discovery of petroleum, Gardner explains that oil extracted from whales was used to light homes and businesses. (Read Morgan Reynolds The Great Whaleship Disaster of 1871 (978-1-59935-043-1) to learn more about the worldwide whaling industry and how it fueled the massive machinery of the thriving Industrial Revolution.)

Now, some 150 years later, the U.S. gets roughly half of its daily fuel needs from foreign oil. “And since OPEC countries have most of the world’s remaining oil reserves, the continued reliance on petroleum would likely increase tensions between the Middle East and consumers,” Gardner writes in Oil. He adds that “demand for oil is growing in a new part of the world. Early in the new century Asia became the world’s top region for growth in oil demand. A race is already on for oil from the Middle East and North Africa because China and India, which want to industrialize like the United States has, have little oil of their own.”

“One thing is certain, though,” Gardner concludes, “drillers will look to riskier frontiers—even to the ends of the Earth—for new oil sources.”

So what is our best bet? Stick with oil until it dries up? Build new nuclear plants? Modernize existing ones to prevent the kind of meltdown and radiation exposure Japan recently experienced? Put more money and effort into developing wind and solar power? Biofuels?

All of these options and more are explored in Diminishing Resources: Oil.

By Sharon Doorasamy (Managing Editor) and Adrianne Loggins (Associate Editor)

Published in: on April 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,