Book Reviews

Women and War: Opening Pandora’s Box – Intimate Relationships in the Shadow of Traumatic Experiences

“This book, Women and War, is a searingly readable collection of narratives, which painstakingly take us through the specific experiences of women in war, or resulting from war, in some cases as the remote victims of war. Running through these accounts are insights drawn from intercultural experience, and the tragedy arising from our human differentiation into races and cultures. An enthusiastic team of Editors, Marie-Claire Patron, the magician storyteller of intercultural tales, Roni Wildeboer, the wife of a Vietnam Veteran, and Ami Rokach with his psychological and editorial expertise, have assembled a work of great importance. No one who reads this book will forget it.” - Raoul Mortley AO FAHA (Officer in the Order of Australia, and Fellow of the Academy of Humanities of Australia); Pro Vice-Chancellor International. Executive Dean, Faculty of Society & Design. Bond University, Australia

“It was a real challenge to read the chapters - I had dealt with Veterans most of my working life (in the Department of Veterans' Affairs) and some of the stories brought back memories of these times. I am very happy to endorse this book. The stories put in real terms, in simple terms, the distress felt by those suffering from PTSD or those so close to those suffering. I wish we had something like this for the people I dealt with. It concerns real people, telling their real stories and I feel it would make much more sense to PTSD sufferers than us as "workers" telling them that it is real - real people so poignantly tell their stories. What I saw as well was some hope for an education resource for the medical and other professionals from these real stories.” - Rob Fitzgerald, (BSc, DipT (sec) and MBA) Australia

“As with all of Marie-Claire Patron’s books ('Diary of a French Girl', 'Victim Victorious', 'The Legacy of the Baby Boomers or the French Social System'), I wish I had read Women and War: Opening Pandora’s Box a decade earlier. Being a polyphony of female voices that brings different countries and tragic events in human history together, Women and War provides an insightful focus into the nature of PTSD and its intergenerational and intercultural legacy. It reveals the interconnectedness of human beings in the cruelties they inflict upon each other and the sufferings they share, regardless of their origin, race, colour, nationality, and the sides they happen to be on in any war conflict. I would recommend this book to young men, to prevent them from entrusting their lives and career choices into the hands of politicians. For it is not only their lives and careers, it is the lives and lifestyles of their future wives, children and grandchildren that are at stake. Women will also benefit enormously from the experiences of the brave authors who have worn their hearts on their sleeve. Marie-Claire Patron and her co-editors, Roni Wildeboer and Ami Rokach have produced a truly unique anthology of narratives and academic chapters told through the prism of multicultural contexts, which makes it obvious that one does not have to be directly involved in a war-torn conflict in order to experience the devastating aftershocks of war. I was born in a country that lost 27 million people to the fight against Nazis in the Second World War. It is only thanks to Women and War that I have fully realized the scale of that war’s horrific intergenerational influence on my grandmother, my mother and me. I probably would never have done it if I had not read Women and War.” - Julia Kraven, PhD, Intercultural Communication, Bond University | Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Nigerian Immigrants in Greece: Low-Status Work, Community, and Decollectivization

"Dr. Fouskas provides us with a scholarly first-class study of Nigerian migrant labour in Greece. It considerably adds to our understanding and through a penetrating macro and micro sociological analysis deprives us of misconceptions, clichés and theoretical fallacies of the origins, patterns and functions of migrant workers' exclusion. It is a valuable book for students and experts in migration, community and work studies." - Iordanis Psimmenos, Associate Professor, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Greece

“This book provides rich insights into the lives of migrants in Greece, portraying them not as victims or hustlers but people. Fouskas’ analysis of the impact of insecurity and deregulation on the Nigerian community has important lessons for all those interested in labour organising, migration and work across the European Union. Readers will see street vendors with a new appreciation of their lives and struggles after reading this fascinating study. - Bridget Anderson, Professor of Migration and Citizenship, Deputy Director at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford

“This important study provides a perceptive and comprehensive overview of the Nigerian immigrant experience in Greece. Creatively combining interviews with survey and census data, Fouskas vividly recounts the hopes, dreams, fears, trials, and triumphs of this emerging ethnic community with clarity and compassion. This book will become a reference point for research on low-status work, immigrant organizations, collective organizing, and labor rights in Greece. It not only effectively summarizes what we know about this immigrant group, but also puts a human face to how Nigerian immigrants have quietly, yet profoundly, reshaped Greek society today.” - Van C. Tran, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Columbia University

“Dr. Theodoros Fouskas, with his book Nigerian Immigrants in Greece: Low-status Work, Community, and Decollectivization, has stimulated an imperative discussion of the severe effects of precarious, low-status work on the collective organization of immigrant workers in the 21st century. This well-conceptualized book and unique in-depth research deals with crucial questions and complex issues and offers invaluable insights with remarkable efficiency. It helps fill a significant gap in Greek and international literature and should be recommended to academics, researchers, policymakers and all those seeking comprehension of labor and immigration issues. Its thorough analysis with sufficient clarity also makes it a required source suitable for classroom use. The book contributes significantly to the current discourse concerning the difficulties caused by acute employment precariousness in immigrant community organization, association formation and participation, immigrant workers’ representation, social and labor rights, trade unionism and solidarity and how these should be combated within a contemporary insecure socio-economic context.” - Angelos Syrigos, Assistant Professor, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Secretary General of Population and Social Cohesion, Ministry of Interior, Greece

"Modern Greece is a country used to economic hardship; the decades following World War II (especially the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s) and the last seven years of financial catastrophe (2009–16) have brought about major economic and social problems, the likes of which are rare in modern Western countries. As a result, during both periods (but even traditionally before World War II) Greece has been a country of emigrants." READ MORE... - John Mazis, Hamline University, Minnesota, USA

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The Doubling: Those Influential Writers that Shape Our Contemporary Perceptions of Identity and Consciousness in the New Millennium

“Diana Sheets has produced a lively and conversational presentation of the major storytellers of the modern literary tradition. It's a wonderful introduction for American students, high school and college, who come to these works often as strangers. The Q & A format is engaging and Sheets knows just when to inform and when to interpret. I would recommend this to my own students.” - Mark Bauerlein, Professor of English, Emory University

"The Doubling is an intellectual can-opener for closed minds. It’s the book that every 21st century undergraduate needs to understand how the great works of Western literature illuminate the human condition. Mustering a highly innovative-and easy-to-read approach-Dr. Sheets and Dr. Shaughnessy pair authors and their methods of storytelling to dissect how people tick. The Doubling is a trail guide to what Chekhov called “the matchless smell of humanity," imparting lessons on every page." - Jonathan Sanders, Professor of Journalism, Stony Brook University

"I highly recommend The Doubling, a series of literary interviews with Diana Sheets with questions posed by Michael F. Shaughnessy. It’s an edifying enhancement of The Great Conversation exemplified in the Hutchins/Adler Great Books of the Western World. The Doubling facilitates our educational understanding of great literature and enriches our appreciation of the humanities." - Max Weismann, Cofounder with Mortimer Adler, Center for the Study of The Great Ideas in Chicago

"These lively conversations take us back to fundamental truths about important books, works that have struck deep in the Western imagination, opening and exploring the nature of consciousness and the mystery of who and what we really are. There's no scholastic noodling here; any thoughtful reader can read these chapters, enjoy them, and come away refreshed." - Bruce Michelson, author of Printer's Devil: Mark Twain and the American Publishing Revolution

"The Doubling, by Dr. Diana Sheets is a compelling, richly analytical, witty and engaging work. The pairing of key literary figures, including for example Cervantes and Kafka; or Borges and Márquez, revolves around “the familiar and the strange," a concept fundamental to both the arts and anthropological research, at the heart of interpretation. Profound and playful at the same time, Sheets examines novels within their authorial and sociological contexts with depth, sophistication, and sensitivity." - Liora Bresler, Professor of Education, University of Illinois

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Political Concerns and Literary Topoi in French Grand Opera

"This book brings together 12 essays written by the author over 25 years, between 1992 and 2017. Letellier is the premier writer in the English language on Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864) and French grand opera. The book is set out over two parts: “Politics” and “Literature”. Apart from a lengthy consideration of the fascinating clash between the Old and New Covenants, ‘Historical and Theological Contents in La Juive (1835) by Scribe and Halevy’ (chapter 4), Meyerbeer’s compositions are a central concern of the book. So, in a sense, the unifying chapter lies in chapter 7 where the author writes on Meyerbeer the Man and Robert le Diable (1831).

The author in his first chapter raised a number of questions, including why Meyerbeer’s Grand operas (Robert, Les Huguenots (1836), Le Prophete (1849) and L’Africaine (1865) chose such sensitive and controversial religious settings. His answer is that ‘religion was perhaps the dominant force’ in Meyerbeer’s life. With chapter 7 it explains that Meyerbeer came from a devout and rich Jewish Reform Prussian family. He remained faithful to that faith and was buried in the Jewish cemetery Schonhauser Allee, Berlin. Yet he accepted the conversion decisions of his daughters Bianca , to Catholicism, and Cornelie to Lutheranism. This reviewer would argue the composer recognised the importance of religion to the human personality. Regrettably, his faith does not seem to have resulted in much joy. His marriage in 1826 to his first cousin, Minna Mosson, resulted in a devoted relationship. But Meyerbeer was a cosmopolitan traveller in pursuit of his musical career and from 1838 his wife chose to live in Berlin and later wander spas for sickness cures. Thus they led frequently independent lives.

Letellier’s extensive writings include a first rate biography of Meyerbeer. Although the composer’s musical reputation brought him fame, enhanced his wealth and brought him royal friendships and honours, he still experienced anti-semiticism (richesse). Extracts from his letters to his brother, Michael Beer in 1818 and Heine in 1839 are repeated in this volume. Arguably, the religious basis behind Meyerbeer’s first three grand operas was induced by the pain of ‘acculturation’, a preferred modern term over ‘assimilation’. The composer’s intimate correspondence was in German, not Yiddish, whilst being fluent in other languages. Yet he kept family anniversaries by reference to the Hebrew calendar. In this, he followed the western Ashkenazi differentiation from the Russian, Polish, Lithuanian eastern Jews, after the Jewish enlightenment (Haskala), led by Moses Mendelssohn (1792-86), and reflected in Meyerbeer’s Reform Jewish family antecedents and mother, Amalia. Professor Monika Richarz of the Holocaust and UN Outreach Programme has written insightfully about this distinction. If, crudely put, assimilation requires the Jewish minority to abandon its faith and accept the surrounding culture, that is to be deplored, but acculturation involves the minority’s active contribution to the surrounding culture.

Part I should perhaps be better headed Religion rather than Politics. Indeed, in his Introduction, the author explains that the issues of politics are dealt with through the ‘obvious vectors’ of power and religion. The book’s back page outline explains that it seeks to examine ‘the intellectual content and structural understanding of French Grand Opera…underscored by a theological hermeneutic of history’. This reviewer is too much of a secular historian to trace this theological hermeneutic through John Hus to a modern world created by Protestantism. Hermeneutics is after all the theory and methodology of interpretation. Article X of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (1789) granted religious freedom and opinion to all citizens, subject to public order. That, and Prussia’s extension of citizenship to Jews in 1812, was of obvious import to the composer. But such an hermeneutic ignores the enormous number of intellectual, military and political factors which are causative of events and how nations and individuals respond to them-and their unintended consequences.

The excellent chapter on La Juive, is set at the time of the Council of Constance (1414-18), regarded by some as the peak of medieval persecution of Jewry. The author sets out the Christian medieval persecution of the Jews. The heretical crime in the opera is centered on is the breach of the laws against miscegeny and inter-marriage occasioned by the affair between Rachel, the Jew of the title, and the scoundrel Leopold/Samuel. The representatives of the two covenants are Eleazar, the Jewish silversmith and local synagogue leader and Cardinal Brogli, President of the Council. The play is shot through with deceit. Rachel has been brought up by Eleazar, in his faith. Leopold is really the Christian nephew of the Holy Roman Emperor, Sigismund, and is married to the Princess Eudoxie. Broglie killed Eleazar’s two sons in his secular days and believed he had lost his daughter, who is Rachel. Eleazar is the only person who knows the truth of Rachel’s origins.

A beauty of Letellier’s working from the original composition and its singers is that it better enables consideration of subsequent revivals. This reviewer is still sometimes surprised at the critical severity of some opera reviewers. Thus the last revival of the opera at the Metropolitan Opera in 2004 included not only criticism of ‘the modernist’ costumes and stage setting, but also of the unbelievability of the plot. A critic, describing himself as a painter and writer on Jewish art, even raises the question whether it is a radically progressive work in a rare moment of 19th century liberalism or a complete capitulation to Christian society and a regretful example of Jewish self-loathing. The crowd scenes show both Jews and Christians are driven by mutual hostility and suspicion. The critic is at pains to attribute to Eleazar a motive purely of vengeance, unable to ignore his parental obligations. Scribe is right in presenting Rachel as the ultimate hero who has made the supreme sacrifice of love, forgiving Leopold by taking the whole of the blame on herself. Nevertheless, was she needlessly reckless in denouncing Leopold in Act 3?

Letellier’s operatic consideration is a tour de force of the sacramental and theological analysis behind the plot. One doubts that the opera goers at the original production at the Paris Opera (1835), and international acclaim in the 19th century, with more muted reception of modern revivals knew their Bible and theology as well. Also intriguing is the author’s consideration of how Scribe came to produce such a successful libretto. After all, Scribe made his living from running a factory of employees to produce c400 well known plays. He was a master of vaudeville, parodying, but satisfying, the bourgeois audiences he pandered to as a hard headed businessman. Letellier points to Scribe’s visit to Constance in 1826 and his probable use of Ulric de Reichental’s Manuscript Chronicle of the history of the Council, a lithograph from which is included in the text. This reviewer cannot dismiss entirely Fromental Halevy’s (1799-1862) guidance, which may have gone beyond any strict division between composer and librettist. Halevy was a Jew and the son of the cantor Elie Halevy, secretary of the Jewish community of Paris.

Another revival, that of the Bavarian State Opera in 2016, by Calixto Bieto, with de Billy as conductor, submits that Scribe never meant the opera to be performed as an integral edition, and to be eminently malleable to subsequent adaptations. The modern-dress costume is ‘dark and drab’, apart from Rachel’s green dress. The scenery is also modern. It freely admits that the overture and ballet and large chunks of music have been omitted. Vocally and dramatically Eudoxie captured the limelight.

Le Prophete revolves around the Anabaptist rebellion in Munster 1534-35, which the author sees as a logical continuation of the doctrines of John Hus, executed after Constance, as a result of the Catholic Church’s fury against heresy. Chapter 5 provides an excellent Biblical and sacramental and theological analysis of the plot, followed by chapter 6 on its presentations in London. Clearly, to be grand opera, the themes of love and death must be intertwined in the plot, which the author uses to characterise the principals. As the author writes, religion is ‘totally discredited’ but John and his beloved mother, Fides, are spiritually saved . Dare we hope that so is Berthe?. Nevertheless, the composition leaves this reviewer troubled as a warning against chiliastic prophets, not unlike those of the English Cromwellian period and arguably in visions of the Soviet era.

Part 2 ‘Literature’ is commended to readers, particularly the final chapter 12: The Pastoral as Structural Determinant in the Grand Opera Scenarios of Scribe and Meyerbeer. The concept of the pastoral has influenced not only music and dance , but also literature and art. The pastoral as a theme reflects the freedom of shepherds tending their flocks within the natural seasons. The quest is for ‘an ideal of peace, harmony and unity, traditionally realised through the symbolism of dance, feast, [and] marriage’. Theologically, it can be seen as a return to ‘the original justice’ of Genesis, or Adam and Eve before the Fall in Eden. This is realised in Robert, denied as in Les Huguenots, or expressed darkly and ambiguously in Le Prophete. Readers are left to consider the use of the theme presented by Letellier in Le Pardon de Ploermel and L’Africaine, considered in some depth in other chapters.

Once it is accepted that this ideal of Paradise cannot be achieved on earth, but only in heaven, then chapter 8’s focus on Goethe’s Faust , becomes understandable, if the reader is familiar at least with the plot of this major work of German literature. The pastoral is achieved by God’s grace through Alice in Robert. In Goethe, it is achieved by the soiled Gretchen’s penitent decision to refuse release from prison and accept her execution. Similarly Faust’s repentance when he recognises the limitations of human existence and experience. The author brilliantly compares Robert’s purgation and mystical ascent with the end of Goethe’s Faust 2.

This is a book for scholars, as each essay is of such depth, that ‘potted summaries’ would not do them justice and alternative interpretations would require a book sized review to explain. They assume an understanding of the plots or a willingness to study. Opera lovers-the music, singing and dance may be everything , but a little theological and literary underpinning can be beneficial. Thoroughly recommended." - Ian Rogers

“Robert Ignatius Letellier has delved into Meyerbeer’s opera Le Prophète in a deep and interesting way. This book focuses on ‘parables of politics, faith and transcendence,’ and is important to anyone with interest in French grand opera and religion. For those who are able to read and understand the music dramaturgy and revised score, the original music can be found on pages 71-78. In addition, the lovely presentation totaling 278 photographs, paintings, woodcuts, and cartoons are on heavy glossy paper. For example, Fig. 18 shows ‘Caricature of Meyerbeer bringing the Prophet to Berlin like a latter-day Messiah,’ Fig. 64 shows “the Cathedral scene (stage design, Philippe Chaperon, Paris 1875),” as well as photographs of Eugene Scribe and prints from Jan van Leeden and the Anabaptist leaders. Modern productions after WWII could only provide stages fitted for Le Prophète. Revivals were first seen in London in 1959 and in the United States in 1977 and 1979. Le Prophète was performed in Germany in 2000 and in Munster in 2004 with several other performances in 2007 and 2008. Letellier has collected concise and detailed information about Meyerbeer and Le Prophète. This makes me eager to learn about Meyerbeer’s other operas..” - Dale Hesdorffer, Professor, Epidemiology, and Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, Columbia University Medical Center, USA

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Recent Advances in Fixed Point Theory and Applications

“This book is a nice collection of research papers on Fixed Point Theory and Applications. Researchers in this field will find this volume invaluable because of the impact it has on practical applications. This book has been very beneficial for me and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about the subject.” - Ravi P. Agarwal, Professor and Chair of the Department of Mathematics, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Texas

"The book Recent Advances in Fixed Point Theory and Applications proposes several actual and important topics in nonlinear analysis. Fixed point problems, common fixed point problems, coincidence point problems, coupled coincidence problems are considered in various contexts and for different classes of single-valued and multi-valued operators. A consistent part is dedicated to the applications of the theoretical results. Different types of operator equations and applications to the mathematics of fractals are discussed. This book is an inspired choice of both the editors and the publishing house. The book will be useful to students and researchers in nonlinear analysis and related fields." - Adrian Petruşel, Professor, Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, Babeș-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca , Romania

“This book in a comprehensive way presents interesting contributions by well-established as well as young authors to different aspects of fixed point theory and its applications. Self-contained and unified in presentation, the book touches upon a wide range of areas that include solutions of functional integral equations and fractals apart from the results which deal with the existence of coincidence and common fixed points of various classes of mappings in different settings. The book will serve as a reference book to researchers in fixed point theory and will be a valuable addition to any library.” - S. N. Mishra, Professor Emeritus, Department of Mathematics, Walter Sisulu University, South Africa

"The contributions in this book have significant, interesting and novel applications of the fixed point theory in various branches of mathematics, physics and engineering sciences. The emphasis is given to interdisciplinary research. All the articles in this volume are treated in a unified and self-contained manner, which can be viewed as innovative style. Presentation of the techniques, theory and applications make this book an invaluable references for researchers and other professional interested in pure and applied sciences. Some papers published in this volume will be useful for graduate students and researchers, who are interested in latest information. Applications of the fixed points theory in fractal geometry and other branches are novel one and will have important impact in the developments of fixed point theory. These developments may be regarded a stranding point for future research." - Muhammad Aslam Noor, Eminent Professor, Department of Mathematics, Islamabad Campus, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan

"Fixed Point Theory is the cornerstone of Topology, Functional Nonlinear Analysis and Applied Sciences. The crucial role of fixed point theory in quantitative sciences make it attractive in researchers. As a consequence of its charm, this theory has been improved so fast in the last decades and several nice results have been announced. Among them, the recent book of Umesh Chandra Gairola and Rajendra Pant, Recent Advances in Fixed Point Theory and Applications, has a special place due to expressing of the connections between the theory and practice with concrete examples of applications." - Erdal Karapinar, Professor of Mathematics, ATILIM University, Ankara, Turkey

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Advances in Linear Algebra Research

"This book presents some recent theoretical and computational results on Linear Algebra and Applications. The investigations developed in each one of its ten chapters have been written by one or more experts. They analyze subjects as quadratic forms, homogeneous matrix polynomials, linear control systems, Hermitian matrix-valued functions, triangular matrices, linear matrix equations, simultaneous triangularization over principal ideal domains and matrix differential equations, among others. Matrix Analysis Theory and Generalized Inverses are two extreme usefulness tools used to solve several of the proposed problems. In addition, settings such as the complex field or an arbitrary field, a ring or a quaternion algebra are the structures to work with. This interesting book is written in a very readable style and it is a very good contribution to the Linear Algebra Community and other interested readers." - Nestor Thome, Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics of Polytechnical University of Valencia, Spain

"This is a worth-reading book about the recent developments in Linear Algebra and it includes contributions of fourteen authors from all over the world. The themes analyzed by the researchers in the ten chapters include quadratic optimization, matrix pencils, generalized inverses, matrix equations, maximal and minimal ranks and inertias, triangular matrices (tables) and their parafunctions, iterative methods, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, quasideterminants, regular rings and quaternions, among others. These developments have strong connections with other branches of mathematics like statistics, optimization, discrete mathematics and differential equations and they are related to important topics like fractals, graphs, power series, Markovian transitions and ODEs stability. Outside mathematics, potential applications to financial problems, electrical networks, filter design, chemical kinetics mechanisms and control theory, remark the importance of the topics considered. Finally, the inclusion of several open problems, numerical examples that clarify the theory and even a touch of humor in one of the footnotes, complete this interesting, enjoyable and easy readable book." - Victor Martinez-Luaces, Profesor, Universidad de la República, Uruguay

"This book is a very interesting overview of recent topics of Linear Algebra and matrix Analysis. It includes topics such as Quadratic optimization, generalized inverses, Matrix Polynomials, Matrix functions, Iterative methods for solving matrix equations, simultaneous triangularization over a principal ideal domain, matrix differential equations and other very important topics. The book is quite easy to read and is written for postgraduate and/or PhD students, and researchers in the field of Linear Algebra. It includes theoretical investigations and many clarifying examples to support them, as well as numerical experiments presented. It can be used as a strong reference for scientific publications. Open problems on these topics are also presented and discussed." - Dimitrios Pappas, Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece

"The book is devoted to advanced topics in Linear Algebra and its Application. It covers a broad range of topics. Some of them, for instance, paradeterminants and parapermanents, are not covered in the standard English books on the subject. Among the nice features of the book is the use of various tools of general algebra: fields, rings, quaternions, ... The book is interesting and should be useful for experts and Ph.D. students in such areas of mathematics as PDE, control systems, graph theory, combinatorics, as well as in theoretical physics. It can also be of interest to engineers and researches working on the border between mathematics and chemistry, biology, or medicine." - Professor Rostislav Grigorchuk, Mathematics Department of Texas A&M University

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Spectral Theory for Bounded Functions and Applications to Evolution Equations

“This monograph is devoted to the theory of spectra of bounded functions in abstractspaces. Spectral theory is very important as it gives important qualitative properties ofsolutions to evolution equations. It is particularly useful in the study of the asymptoticbehavior of mild solutions of evolution equations. The monograph is divided into fivechapters. Chapter 1 is about some basic defnitions and notations. Chapter 2 is devotedto the theory of almost periodic functions. These functions have important applicationsin celestial mechanics, control theory and other fields. In chapter 3, the author discussesthe concepts of almost automorphic functions and sequences, which are generalizationsof almost periodic functions and sequences. After these chapters, the author moves onto defining the spectrum of bounded functions, in chapter 4. The concepts of Carleman,Beurling, uniform and circular spectra are defined. The last chapter is devoted to thestudy of difference and first- and second-order differential equations.Overall, this monograph is useful for researchers working in the field of spectraltheory of bounded functions and the qualitative theory of differential equations inabstract spaces. The monograph is written for graduate students, and to read it oneneeds to first go through the basics of abstract spaces and functional analysis.” - Dr. Syed Abbas, Professor, Indian Institute of Technology Mandi, India

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Constrained Bayesian Methods of Hypotheses Testing: A New Philosophy of Hypotheses Testing in Parallel and Sequential Experiments

"Hypothesis testing is one of the basic branches of mathematical statistics which is very important for other problems of statistics and has a great application to many theoretical and practical problems. The first statement of the problem and its solution, applying t-test, was realized by Student at the beginning of the previous century." READ MORE... - Alexander Topchishvili, Professor, Dr. Habil. Ing.

"The monograph suggests a new approach to the statistical hypothesis testing, the constrained Bayesian method (CBM). It maintains all the benefits of the basic methods of hypotheses testing. Namely, it uses a data-dependent measure like in Fisher’s test; for making decision it exploits a posteriori probabilities like in Jeffrey’s test and compute Type 1 and Type 2 error probabilities like in Neyman-Pearson’s approach." READ MORE... - Sergei Chobanyan, Visiting Professor of Department of Statistics, Michigan State University, USA

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Infant Feeding: Parental Perceptions, Behaviors and Health Effects

"This is a fascinating book but not one to skim through quickly. Aimed at researchers, practitioners and health professionals, many of its chapters could be expanded to book-length, describing experimental studies or literature reviews on a range of behavioural, biological and health questions around infant feeding.A fair bit of stamina may be needed to get through the first two chapters, which although covering important topics, appear to be written more for readers already familiar with the authors’ academic field. Nonetheless, they help to establish something of the range of research around breastfeeding that has taken place over the past 50 years.

Chapter 1 reviews evidence for the nutritional and biological effects of breastfeeding, while Chapter 2 summarises more than four decades of research at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Nursing, on the development of theoretical models to understand mothers’ experience of feeding. The work stresses the need for those supporting mothers with feeding problems to consider the mothers’ perceptions and goals in order to help resolve any issues.I found subsequent chapters more accessible, and was especially interested in studies touching upon the relationships between breastfeeding behaviour and maternal depression, and self-image.

Chapter 3, for example, describes a doctoral study suggesting that depressed mothers may need additional feedback, based on an objective measure of how much milk her baby is receiving, in order to help raise their self-efficacy, or confidence, around breastfeeding. Chapter 4 describes a study showing that breastfeeding appears to help overcome the negative effect of depression on a mother’s interactivity with her baby during feeding: depressed mothers who breastfeed are more similar in their interactivity with babies to non-depressed mothers, compared to depressed mothers who bottle feed, across the first three months of life.

The reasons are unclear but could involve the role of tactile stimulation in triggering the release of oxytocin in the mother, which in turn improves her mood and interactivity with her child. In Chapter 5, Amy Brown from the University of Swansea highlights the strong influence that a mother’s body weight and body image can have on her feeding decisions in the first year. For example, mothers with higher body weight and concerns about their weight are more likely to be restrictive in how they feed their infants, regardless of their baby’s actual body weight. A mother’s dissatisfaction with her body image may also reduce self-esteem and contribute to anxiety and depression - all of which can influence decisions around breastfeeding.A major theme throughout the book is the shift in research over the past few decades from a focus on the quality of attachment between mother and baby to the practice of responsive feeding and its influence on infant growth and weight. Responsive feeding refers to a practice in which the mother or other caregiver responds sensitively to infant feeding cues for hunger and satiety and avoids the use of controlling actions such as force-feeding.

This is thought to encourage better feeding practice in multiple settings, as reviewed in Chapters 9 and 10. In low-income countries such as Bangladesh, responsive feeding can lead to improved weight gain in faltered growth or underweight children, but only if linked to access to nutritional foods. Although a complex picture, in some settings this may relate to the apparent controlling behaviour of caregivers who are concerned that undereating may cause illness or death, and high rates of food refusal by young children. Intriguingly, the same strategy - encouraging responsive feeding - is showing promise in slowing weight gain and reducing the risk of obesity. This is of broader policy and practical relevance, as interventions aimed at encouraging a more responsive style of feeding are now endorsed by WHO and UNICEF as a way to tackle both underweight and faltered growth in children, and childhood obesity.

The statistics are sobering: 30% of children under five in low- and middle-income countries are stunted (168 million), while obesity affects 40 million children under five worldwide.Clinical guidelines provided by WHO, the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Academy of Pediatrics promote responsive feeding, based on the premise that babies have an innate ability to self-regulate their food. They advocate that parents should focus on choosing what a child eats, while the child be allowed to decide how much they eat. Practitioners are recommended to discuss with parents how to respond to infant hunger and satiety cues, including when bottle feeding, to allow infants to pause and rest between feeds.I was disappointed with the little direct attention given to the reasons why bottle feeding is associated with poorer outcomes, and how a practitioner might help overcome these when supporting mothers who are bottle feeding. Only Chapter 6 directly examines differences between breast and bottle feeding, with an impressively detailed comparison of the mechanics of mouth positioning and sucking patterns, for example, and how these may influence infant feeding and growth.

It dispels certain notions based on earlier studies, such as babies who are bottle fed having lower oxygen saturation than babies who are breastfed. Once thought to be due to differences in coordination of sucking, breathing and swallowing, more recent studies using soft teats instead of hard rubber teats reveal no such differences. Similarly, the idea of ‘nipple confusion’, in which infants who are offered bottle feeding may develop a preference for this over breastfeeding, has no scientific basis. While anecdotal and clinical reports suggest it, observational studies do not support a causal link between bottle introduction and breastfeeding cessation.Of considerable practical use, the book’s editor John Worrobey, reviews and catalogues 15 different methods for measuring and evaluating the behaviour and interaction of feeding mothers and babies, from birth to toddlerhood, for use in both research and clinical observational assessment.

This includes a ‘Feeding checklist’ which can differentiate reliably between the responsive and non-responsive behaviours of mothers and babies who are either thriving or showing faltered growth.Some of the experimental studies described are limited by their small size or uncertainty over their applicability to other health care settings. The topics covered, however, provide sufficient food-for-thought to prompt debate around what we do actually understand about what goes on during infant feeding, and how this information can be used to develop appropriate interventions that enhance the feeding experience for all mothers and their babies, tailored to different situations and decisions about breast versus bottle feeding." - Dr. Julie Clayton, Editor Perspective, NCT. This review will be published in the June edition of MIDIRS Digest

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Informed Parents, Healthy Kids: Information You Need to Know to Find the Right Mental Health Practitioner

“Few books exist on the topic of guiding parents concerning the choice of health care providers in finding professional services for their emotionally distressed or psychologically disordered children and teens. And even fewer still have the substantial evidence based from science, the exceptional depth and breadth of the author’s clinical experience, and the wisdom contained in this book. I can think of no better resource for a parent to turn to first concerning the science-based care and treatments their child may require than this one. It will certainly be the first I recommend to families when asked for advice on this matter. My compliments to the author for investing the extraordinary amount of time such a book requires and the care taken in its preparation and my compliments to the reader for having the good sense to use it to guide them in their choice of health care professionals for their child..” - Russell A. Barkley, Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Virginia Treatment Center for Children and Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, Richmond, VA, USA

"This book is a wonderful resource for families and clinicians alike. Dr. Paniagua’s content in Informed Parents, Healthy Kids can be used to empower families in finding mental health providers that will provide services that are aligned with their cultural values. In order to make decisions, families need to have a good understanding of the purpose of intervention services and they need to recognize how critical it is to have a provider that is a true partner in supporting their needs. The old days of the mental health provider as “expert” and setting treatment goals outside the knowledge of the family are over. We are now in a pluralistic society that implores mental health providers to partner with families and set culturally appropriate treatment goals. The material shared in this book is a perfect tool for enabling that process to occur." - Janine Jones, Ph.D, NCSP, Associate Professor, School Psychology, Director, School Psychology Program, University of Washington, USA

To read the review, click here - Thomas A. Parham, Ph.D., President of California State University, Dominguez Hills, USA

For more information about this book, please click here.