Significant Others: The Ape-Human Continuum and the Quest for Human Nature
by Craig Stanford
Basic Books, $28
Even though humans and chimpanzees share some 99 percent of their genes, many anthropologists, psychologists and linguists insist that apes are only superficially like humans and that the things that make us human – emotion, cognition, language, mating rituals and culture – make such a gulf that comparison is not possible. But primatologist Craig Stanford, an associate professor of anthropology in the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, argues that the gap between apes and humans is very narrow. Ape families, for instance, also live in highly complex societies and practice patterns of pair bonding, with frequent cheating by both sexes, and infanticide. As well, they hunt other mammals and attack and kill trespassers. Many people are familiar with the early work of Jane Goodall, Stanford writes, “But you may be less familiar with the past decade’s discoveries of what great apes and other primates do with their lives. These revelations are astonishing enough to force a re-examination of what it means to be human.” Stanford is also co-director of the Jane Goodall Research Center at USC and the Bwindi-Impenetrable Great Ape Project in Uganda.
Maekawa Kunio and the Emergence of Japanese Modernist Architecture
by Jonathan M. Reynolds
University of California Press, $60
This is first book-length study of Maekawa Kunio (1905-86), one of the giants of Japanese modernism. Maekawa’s architectural work and critical writing spanned the 1930s to the 1980s. Jonathan M. Reynolds, an assistant professor of art history in the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, shows how the architect bridged the transition in Japan between prewar and postwar architecture and how his work also exploited new technology and materials, incorporating them into modernist design and ideology. “This study is not a conventional biography,” writes Reynolds. Rather, he concentrates on this single figure to “concretize the mechanisms through which specific social relationships and institutional connections shaped modernist identity and ad vanced the modernist cause.” To do this, Reynolds also examines Maekawa’s family history and education – characteristic of architects of his generation – and how it affected the development of his architectural career.
The Sixteen-Trillion-Dollar Mistake:
How the U.S. Bungled Its National Priorities From the New Deal to the Present
by Bruce S. Jansson
Columbia University Press, $27.50
This is the first analysis of American national priorities that links social policy, military policy, tax policy and national politics in a critique of the way the United States expends its national resources. Bruce S. Jansson, a professor in the USC School of Social Work, documents how presidents from FDR to Clinton have made questionable choices that wasted trillions of dollars. Jansson’s expose reveals useless projects, unnecessary tax concessions and the use of interest payments to cover deficit spending, among other costly mistakes. Through the use of U.S. Office of Management and Budget projections through 2004, he shows how the practice continues, and how an informed electorate can put an end to it. “Had the $16 trillion in squandered resources been diverted to the domestic agenda,” Jansson writes, “American society would have been dramatically transformed.” (See story this issue)