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In this interview, we talk with author William F. Causey about his forthcoming book John Houbolt: The Unsung Hero of the Apollo Moon Landings.

John Houbolt tells the story of NASA engineer John Houbolt, and his advocacy for Lunar Orbit Rendevous (LOR) as the preferred method for getting American astronauts to the moon and back.


Q: What piqued your interest into the story of John Houbolt and the LOR decision?

William F. Causey: Beginning with the 15-minute Mercury flight of Alan Shepard in May 1961, through all the Apollo moon landings and then with the thrilling robotic landings on Mars and probes to the outer planets, I have been fascinated with our space program. As a youngster I followed every flight and read every book on space flight. In 1995, I read Jim Hansen’s Spaceflight Revolution, his book on the history of the Langley Research Center, and I became enthralled with the chapter on John Houbolt and the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous (LOR) decision. I wanted to learn more, but there was not much material on Houbolt or how the LOR decision was made. I began to compile my own research, and during one summer, I examined Houbolt’s voluminous papers that he had donated to the University of Illinois. Upon my return to Washington, I wrote him a letter (before the days of email) asking if I could meet and interview him. To my surprise, Houbolt invited my wife and me to Maine where John and his wife Mary were retired. We had a marvelous weekend talking about NASA and John’s role in the LOR decision. I had the good fortune to talk with John several times before his death in 2014 at the age of 95. I realized from these discussions that the LOR decision brought together all the amazing management and engineering talent that was at the core of the great adventure we call Apollo, and that it was largely this mid-level engineer from Langley who eventually convinced everyone that LOR was the only way to land astronauts on the moon and return them safely to earth by the end of the decade. I decided that Houbolt’s role in the LOR story needed a more complete examination, and my book tells that amazing story.


Q: Why do you think it took so long for this story to get told in full?

Causey: The Apollo story – perhaps the greatest adventure and achievement in human history – was told largely through the eyes of the astronauts, the people who took the journeys, which we as a nation followed with awe and wonder. Our collective experience in space involved watching dramatic launches and looking at captivating colorful photographs of the earth from space and of the gray and black “desolation” of the lunar surface. Very little attention was devoted during Apollo to the thousands of men and women who worked behind the scenes to make Apollo a successful endeavor.

The John Houbolt story of lunar orbit rendezvous took place during the early days of Project Mercury – indeed, Americans had been in space a total of six and one-half hours when NASA adopted the LOR lunar mode in July 1962. At that time, space rendezvous and docking were still years in the future. Although many people, primarily at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, contributed to the development of the LOR concept, John Houbolt was the Langley engineer who perhaps knew the most about orbital rendezvous. He became the person to promote LOR to a skeptical and at times hostile NASA management. While we understand today that thousands of people built the space hardware and software, manned the control and tracking stations, and worked with the astronauts during the training and flights, we did not know at the time that the idea of how to land men on the moon and return them safely to earth largely was the result of the persistence and tenacity of one person.

The Houbolt story was not widely known outside NASA until Jim Hansen’s book Spaceflight Revolution, published in 1995, about the history of the Langley Research Center. Hansen’s book contained only one short chapter on Houbolt and the the LOR story. My book attempts to expand on Hansen’s excellent chapter and provides the historical foundation for how NASA made the LOR decision that produced the astonishing feats of the Apollo program.


Q: How does telling Houbolt’s story affect the legacy of the Apollo program as a whole?

Causey: The lasting legacy of the Apollo program was that this nation could accomplish a seemingly insurmountable but truly momentous undertaking when the minds and resources of the country focused with laser precision on that one national goal. My book shows how dozens of truly remarkable and brilliant people fought hard to achieve the objective of getting a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth. John Houbolt was one of many great minds who participated in that thrilling adventure, but it was his tenacity and persistence in promoting the LOR idea, at first against enormous opposition and even open hostility, that finally provided NASA with the direction to get to the moon.


Q: Do you feel the fate of the program would be different without Houbolt’s persistence? Were any of the other methods truly viable?

Causey: When President Kennedy proposed in May 1961 that America should achieve the goal, before the end of the decade, of landing a man on the moon and returning him to earth, NASA had no idea how to do that. Although NASA considered two landing options, called Direct Ascent and Earth Orbit Rendezvous, it became apparent that neither plan was technically feasible. Several engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center, led by John Houbolt, proposed a third option, called Lunar Orbit Rendezvous. The LOR mode involved sending two crafts to the moon. The smaller, lighter spacecraft, called the lunar module, would take two astronauts to the lunar surface while the third astronaut stayed in lunar orbit in the larger command module. The two astronauts would take off from the moon and rendezvous in lunar orbit with the third astronaut before all three would return to earth in the command module. At first NASA flatly rejected Houbolt’s LOR idea, with several NASA planning committees even refusing to consider the concept. But after Houbolt wrote two letters to NASA management that placed his career in jeopardy, and after spirited internal debate involving the clash of powerful egos, NASA finally adopted Houbolt’s LOR idea in July 1962. And, of course, the United States landed men on the moon in 1969.

It is virtually certain that America would not have landed astronauts on the moon by the end of the 1960s if NASA had not adopted the LOR concept. There would not have been enough time to build and test the lunar lander and Saturn V rocket, perfect orbital rendezvous and docking techniques, conduct long-duration flights in the Gemini program, and master the mathematics of trajectory to and from the moon. Although it is likely that the United States would have eventually landed on the moon given enough time and money using Direct Ascent or Earth Orbit Rendezvous, what makes the Houbolt story so compelling is that without his persistence, Apollo 11 surely would not have landed on the moon and returned safely to earth in July 1969.


Q: It seems in the process of getting to the moon it took some pretty big pushes (e.g., John Houbolt’s persistence, the Apollo 1 tragedy), to get NASA going in the correct direction. It’s been quite some time since the US has been to the moon. Do you think the country is missing that push now?

Causey: The Apollo program was a huge undertaking that began months before President Kennedy committed the nation to a manned lunar landing. Engineers and scientists began seriously thinking of sending men to the moon years before NASA was created in 1958. But once President Kennedy proposed a manned lunar landing in May 1961, NASA had to quickly agree on a way to get to the moon. Fortunately, the idea of landing a man on the moon captured the imagination of Congress as well as the public, and there was more than adequate public funding and private initiative to get Apollo started and underway. As my book shows, the LOR decision –a major aspect of getting to the moon and back – was not an easy decision for numerous technical and managerial reasons. The significant events that led to the ultimate success of the Apollo moon landings, such as the accomplishments of Projects Mercury and Gemini, the development of the Saturn V rocket, remarkable advancements in computer technology, and a largely workable but expensive partnership between government and private industry, enabled the United States to land a man on the moon by July 1969.

To be sure, there were major delays, disappointments, and tragedies along the way as well. The March 1966 aborted Gemini 8 flight that almost took the lives of the crew made NASA appreciate with greater acuity the dangers of space flight. The Apollo 1 fire in January 1967 that took the lives of the crew on the test pad was a major setback that demonstrated the poor design and shoddy workmanship of the Apollo command module, but that resulted in a much-improved spacecraft. The long delays in the development of the lunar lander that led to the bold but risky flight of Apollo 8, and the delays in the development of the Saturn V booster that required an expedited all-ups testing schedule, helped NASA come together and overcome the tragedy of Apollo 1. Indeed, one of the central threads of the remarkable Apollo story is how NASA adapted to the vagaries of the program to meet the end-of-the decade deadline.

Humans have not walked on the moon since December 1972 – a span of almost five decades. Although the United States has expressed a desire to return to the moon by 2024, it is unlikely that that will happen. To begin with, we need to have the same collective national will that we had in 1961, and it does not appear that such collective will exists at this time. Returning men – and women – to the moon will be an expensive and complex project that will equal or surpass the Apollo program. And returning humans to the moon will have to compete with the less expensive and safer means of space exploration with robotics. In all likelihood, NASA will have to partner with the existing private space industry, and the United States will have to partner with other nations such as China, Russia, India, and Japan, to share the cost and risk of future human space travel. Returning to the moon will have to be a global undertaking in all respects.

Yet, we can be certain that one day people will walk on the moon again, and journey to Mars and the asteroids, just as we knew in the 1950s that humans would travel beyond the bounds of earth. It is an adventure worth pursuing.


Thank you to William Causey for taking the time to answer our questions! If you would like to learn more about the book, you can find him at Politics & Prose on Sunday, March 15 from 1-2 pm.

You can get 30% off John Houbolt and any other Purdue University Press books by ordering from our website and using the discount code PURDUE30.

Specialized scholarly books have long been the backbone of academia, but too often these books do not get the attention they deserve. In this series, we ask our authors which monographs have had a lasting influence on them. Follow this link to see the rest of the series.

This post is written by Alan M. Beck, a series editor for our New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond series.


I first met Leo Bustad around 1978, when he was the dean of Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where he served from 1973–1983. His varied experiences as an accomplished scientist and educator, fifteen months in a German prison camp, and his long-lasting marriage gave him a wonderful perspective on life. He passed away in 1998 at age 78.

As an academic leader with a wonderful sense of humor, he was a sought after event speaker. His speeches were not just appropriate little talks, but thoughtful, well-referenced essays exploring major issues worthy of discussion and further contemplation. There were many reasons that they should be available for further reading and so were compiled in books, the last of which was published in 1996, Compassion: Our Last Great Hope.

The speeches in Bustad’s Compassion address such issues as the college curriculum (compared to the saber-toothed tiger for its unchanging character), nurturing children, the Holocaust, the art of listening, freedom and responsibility, grief, writing your own eulogy, and the importance of animals to the well-being of people. Humans’ relationship with animals was a major part of his life, and his writings triggered a movement in both veterinary and human medicine.

Together with psychiatrist Michael McCulloch, they developed the Delta Society, which is now Pet Partners, to foster research on the value of our relationship with animals; indeed, Bustad coined the expression the human-animal bond. He shamelessly borrowed the wording from the often-discussed mother-infant bond. Both bonds indicated a relationship that is essential and mutual. It took a strong collaboration of a leading veterinarian and a respected physician for society to look past the biases in both fields. This was long before the present concept of One Health. The chapter on animals in Bustad’s Compassion ends with a quote from McCulloch: “If pet therapy offers hope for relief of human suffering, it is our professional obligation to explore every available arena for its use.”

In the last chapter Bustad discusses the scholars who believe the world’s greatest resource is compassion. As he notes, “Compassion is not merely feeling or sentiment, but actively helping to relieve pain and suffering in others.” He shares his sadness that this great source of energy remains relatively unused, unexplored, and unwanted. He argues that we should make compassion not a religion, but a way of life. We are reminded that Hebrew Scriptures note that God chose Moses to lead his people only when he observed how much compassion Moses had for his animals.

Bustad’s writings are well worth the read and the fresh considerations the text will promote. The life’s work of the author illustrates the importance of humans and animals to one another, as does this book—the indelible bond we share, the opportunities presented by these connections, and the empathy that unites all creatures. Bustad ends the chapter with “Everyone who is in need of help is my brother and my sister. That’s compassion.”


On March 2, the Libraries and School of Information Studies will host the third annual Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference Greater Lafayette at Purdue University.

The WiDS Conference Greater Lafayette @ Purdue is an independent event organized by Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies to coincide with the annual global Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference held at Stanford University and an estimated 150+ locations worldwide. At Purdue, the conference goal is to help build a community focused on data science and to inspire and raise awareness among students and community members about the opportunities for women in the data science field. All genders are invited to attend the conference, which features outstanding women doing outstanding work. Speakers include representatives from colleges across campus, as well as industry representatives. A full schedule and registration can be found at http://sites.lib.purdue.edu/wids/.

The daylong conference will take place at the Purdue Memorial Union. The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Registration and breakfast will begin at 8 a.m. before welcome and opening remarks at 9 a.m. In addition to speaker talks, the conference will feature a panel discussion, workshop and breakout sessions, and a live stream update from the Women in Data Science conference at Stanford which will announce the winners of the 2020 WiDS Datathon.

Bethany McGowan, Assistant Professor of Library Science, is chairing the 2020 WiDS Conference West Lafayette at Purdue and will answer questions at bmcgowa@purdue.edu or 765-494-2917.

A new book from Purdue University Press, John Houbolt: The Unsung Hero of the Apollo Moon Landings by William F. Causey, tells the story of John Houbolt’s advocacy for “LOR” (Lunar Orbit Rendezvous) as the preferred method for getting American astronauts to the moon and back.

In May 1961, President Kennedy announced that the United States would attempt to land a man on the moon and return him safely before the end of that decade. At this point, NASA did not have a specific plan for how to accomplish that goal. Over the next fourteen months, several options were vigorously debated. At first, the consensus was to send one big rocket with several astronauts to the moon, land and explore, and then take off and return in the same vehicle. Another involved launching several smaller Saturn V rockets into the earth orbit, where a lander would be assembled and fueled before sending the crew to the moon.

A small group of engineers led by John Houbolt advocated for a new plan called “LOR”. This plan, they believed, was not only faster, cheaper, and more reliable, but the only viable option by which they could make it to the moon by the end of the decade. Initially, LOR was ignored, criticized, and dismissed by many NASA officials, but in the face of overwhelming opposition, and at the risk of his career and reputation, John Houbolt persisted. LOR prevailed, and NASA made it to the moon before the end of the decade.

This book fills a gap in the history of America’s path to the moon, and finally gives John Houbolt his due.


“The choice of how to get to the moon was critical to meeting President Kennedy’s goal of a lunar landing ‘before this decade is out.’ Bill Causey’s deeply researched and clearly written book depicts how the persistence of one man, NASA engineer John Houbolt, decisively influenced the tortuous and contentious process of making that choice. The book nicely fills a glaring gap in the history of America’s journey to the moon, and reminds us that the lunar journey was far from straightforward.”

—John M. Logsdon, Professor Emeritus, Space Policy Institute, The George Washington University


John Houbolt: The Unsung Hero of the Apollo Moon Landings

by William F. Causey

ISBN: 9781557539465, Hardcover, $29.99

374 pages, 31 black and white images


Founded in 1960, Purdue University Press is dedicated to the dissemination of scholarly and professional information. We publish books in several key subject areas including Purdue & Indiana, Aeronautics/Astronautics, the Human-Animal Bond, Central European Studies, Jewish Studies, and other select disciplines.


You can get 30% off John Houbolt and any other Purdue University Press books by ordering from our website and using the discount code PURDUE30.

Parrish Library’s Featured Database will give you a very brief introduction to the basic features of one of the Purdue Libraries and the School of Information Studies (PULSIS) specialized subscription databases. This Featured Database highlights ABI-INFORM Global, brought to you by ProQuest, LLC.

Link: The List of Business Databases is the alphabetical list of the databases specially selected for those in a business program of study. Access the databases off-campus with your Purdue login and password.

Focus: Provides access to articles on business conditions, trends, management techniques, corporate strategies, company news and industry-specific topics worldwide.

Tutorial: Click Getting Started with ABI-INFORM Global to see the basics of using ABI-INFORM Global.

Start with this hint: Use the Advanced search options to combine keywords for a more precise search.

Why you should know this database: ABI-INFORM Global can help you find research on advertising, marketing, economics, human resources, finance, taxation, and computers, as well as information on over 60,000 companies.

Related Resources

Some other resources you might want to explore, are:

  • Business Source Complete, provides access to articles in business and management, marketing, MIS, accounting and more, including over 1,600 peer reviewed journals.
  • Regional Business News, provides full text coverage for regional business publications, incorporating 75 business news magazines, newspapers, and newswires.

Featured Database comes to you from the Roland G. Parrish Library of Management & Economics. If you would like more information about this database, or if you would like a demonstration of it for a class, contact parrlib@purdue.edu. Also let us know if you know of a colleague who would benefit from this, or future Featured Databases.

Since usage statistics are an important barometer when databases are up for renewal, tell us your favorite database, and we will gladly promote it. Send an email to parrlib@purdue.edu.

Five Purdue professors have been named recipients of awards from the 2019-20 Library Scholars Grants program.

The grants are awarded by the Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies to early-career Purdue professors to help them gain access to primary source materials and unique collections that are necessary for their research. Grants of up to $5,000 each are made possible through an endowment established by the generosity of the 50th Anniversary Gift of the Class of 1935.

Dr. Megha Anwer will travel to archives in Delhi, India, where she will be mapping women’s habitation and their encounters with crime and urban violence. This research will contribute to her current book project, “Forgettable Infractions: Everyday Violence and Female Mobility in Victorian London (1850-1900) and Delhi (1911-1947).” Anwer is a Clinical Assistant Professor and the Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in the Honors College.


Dr. J. Peter Moore will conduct research onsite at the University of California-Santa Barbara and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, utilizing the papers of the architect, Cliff May, and the poet, Gwendolyn Brooks. His current book project, “Other than a Citizen: Vernacular Poetics in Postwar America”, will explore daily used language with a multifaceted approach that encompasses a variety of expressive forms that include poetry and architecture. Moore is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Honors College.

Dr. Erik Otárola-Castillo will conduct archival research at the Ministry of Culture in Lima, Peru, with his project, “Climate Change Effects on the Migration and Subsistence Patterns of the First South Americans.” His current study focuses on climate change and its impact on migration in South America. Otárola-Castillo is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts.


Dr. Zoe Taylor, will visit the Refugee Studies Center at Oxford University to utilize their archives to advance her project, “Children on the Move in the Twenty-First Century: An Assessment of Resilience, Mental Health and Well-being of Migrant Children in Europe.” Her research broadly examines factors which contribute to health and positive development outcomes in underserved children, with a focus on migratory Latinx populations. Taylor is an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Health and Human Sciences.


Dr. Margaret Tillman will conduct research at the Shanghai Municipal Archives in the People’s Republic of China for her second book project, tentatively titled, “Tested: Cultivating Talent and China’s Standardized Exams, 1905-1950,” that examines Chinese educational testing in the aftermath of the abolition of the Civil Service Examination. The results of her expedition will inform a chapter about postwar policies to extend literacy campaigns and to implement a new postwar vision of international peace promoted by the United Nations. Tillman is an Assistant Professor of Chinese History in the College of Liberal Arts.

This year’s scholars will be recognized at a luncheon on March 4 in the Purdue Memorial Union. Presentations will be given by previous awardees, Dr. Silva Mitchell, Dr. Heather Fielding, and Dr. Kim Gallon, who conducted their research at the Archivo del Palacio Uceda in Spain, at the New York Public Library and Columbia University, and at the People’s Educational Association at the University of Ghana in Africa, respectively.

For more information about the program, and to see the past recipients of Library Scholars Grants, visit www.lib.purdue.edu/scholars/past_recipients.

Ruha Benjamin will give the Spring 2020 Critical Data Studies Distinguished Lecture “Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code” at 5:30-7 p.m. Feb. 17 in Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall. The hourlong talk will be followed by a half-hour Q&A with the audience. The event is free and open to the public.

Benjamin is a professor of African American studies and founder of the JUST DATA Lab at Princeton University. She is the author of “Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code” (Polity) and “People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier” (Stanford University Press), as well as the editor of “Captivating Technology: Race, Carceral Technoscience, and Liberatory Imagination in Everyday Life” (Duke University Press).

In her talk, Benjamin takes listeners into the world of biased bots, altruistic algorithms, and their many entanglements, and provides conceptual tools to decode tech promises with sociologically informed skepticism. In doing so, she challenges listeners to question not only the technologies being sold to them, but also the ones they manufacture themselves. Benjamin presents the concept of the “New Jim Code” to explore a range of discriminatory designs that encode inequity: by explicitly amplifying racial hierarchies, by ignoring but thereby replicating social divisions, or by aiming to fix racial bias but ultimately doing quite the opposite. She asks listeners to consider how race itself is a kind of tool designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice and discuss how technology is and can be used toward liberatory ends.

The Spring 2020 Critical Data Studies Distinguished lecture is organized by the Critical Data Studies Collective at Purdue in partnership with the Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, Division of Diversity and Inclusion, DiversiKey, African American Studies and Research Center, NSF Center for the Science of Information, The Data Mine and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

The Critical Data Studies Lecture Series is a cross-college collaboration that brings scholars engaged in public scholarship to Purdue’s campus, with the aim of engaging a wider audience in a dialogue about critical challenges related to data science, big data, digital technology and infrastructure in contemporary society. Previous distinguished guest speakers have included Safiya Noble, the author of “Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism”; Virginia Eubanks, the author of “Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor”; and Jenny Reardon, the founding director of the Science and Justice Research Center at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and author of “The Postgenomic Condition: Ethics, Justice, and Knowledge after the Genome.”

For more information about the Critical Data Studies Seminar Series and/or other related learning and research opportunities, contact Roark at 765-494-2637 or via email at roark6@purdue.edu.

Media contact: Abbey Nickel
Source: Kendall Roark

In this interview we talk to Steven G. Kellman, the author of Nimble Tongues: Studies in Literary Translingualism

Nimble Tongues is a collection of essays that continues the author’s work in the fertile field of translingualism, focusing on the phenomenon of switching languages.


Q: Could you explain the concept of literary translingualism?

Steven G. Kellman: Literary translingualism is the phenomenon of writers who write in an acquired language. It includes writers who switch from a native language and write exclusively in another language – e.g, Joseph Conrad (who wrote in his third language, English, rather than Polish or French), Aharon Appelfeld (Hebrew rather than German), and Ha Jin (English rather than Chinese). And it includes writers who write in more than one language – e.g., Samuel Beckett (English and French), Vladimir Nabokov (Russian, French, and English), and Yoko Tawada (German and Japanese). Literary translingualism is as ancient as the writers of antiquity who employed the imperial languages of Latin, Persian, or Sanskrit rather than their native vernaculars. And it is as current as the wave of immigrants who are enriching contemporary literature with texts written in the languages of their adopted homes.

Q: Why do you feel that it is an important concept to study?

Kellman: There is an intrinsic literary value to translingual texts written by Apuleius, Petrarch, Rainer Maria Rilke, Fernando Pessoa, Isak Dinesen, Edwidge Danticat, and other outstanding authors. Any reader can appreciate how very difficult it is write well in one’s first language – and marvel at the achievements of those who excel in a second, third, or even fourth language. However, linguistic switching also raises compelling questions about the relationships among language, thought, and identity. If, according to Ludwig Wittgenstein, “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world,” writers who switch languages free themselves from the limitations of one world, only to place themselves within the limits of another world. The choice of language is not a trivial matter; it determines the text. After Ariel Dorfman wrote his memoir Heading South, Looking North in English, he duplicated the feat in Spanish, as Rumbo al Sur, deseando el Norte. However, it was not exactly a translation as much as a reconception – of the autobiographical project and of the self that is its subject. There are certain themes, moods, and thoughts that come more easily to André Brink when he writes in Afrikaans than when he writes in English.

Q: Perhaps uniquely, you mention that no one scholar can possibly claim mastery in the field, could you expand on that?

Kellman: No one researcher possesses the linguistic equipment or energy to exhaust the study of translingual literature. If there are approximately 5,000 languages in the world, the number of translingual possibilities would equal 5,000 X 4,499 ÷ 2 = 12,497,500. And that is only calculating the number of bilingual translingual possibilities; authors who, like Kamala Das, Vladimir Nabokov, and George Steiner, move among three or more languages add even more possibilities to the challenge of mapping out the universe of translingual literature. Not even the most formidable polylingual scholars of comparative literature such as René Wellek or Erich Auerbach are equipped to master the field. The burgeoning study of translingual literature is a collective effort, pursued through books, dissertations, journals, and conferences throughout the world. Scholars approach it through the lenses of comparative literature, linguistics, language pedagogy, psychology, postcolonial studies, and other disciplines.

Q: Taking all of this into account, how do you feel this title contributes to the field of study?

Kellman: Nimble Tongues expands on earlier work I have done in The Translingual Imagination (2000) and Switching Languages: Translingual Writers Reflect on Their Craft (2003). Standing on the backs of giants, I have benefited from the growing community of specialists in translingual literature I have read and met throughout the world. The book discusses some translingual writers who have not received much attention, such as Hugo Hamilton, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Francesca Marciano. It also goes beyond just literary criticism to examine the strange case of a film made in Esperanto, the epidemic of xenolinguaphobia in the United States, and the challenges faced by the United Nations in producing a document, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, intended to be universally valid and equally authoritative in all of its hundreds of linguistic iterations. The opening chapter of Nimble Tongues is titled “Does Translingualism Matter?” I hope that the book provides a persuasive positive answer.



You can get 30% off of any Purdue University Press books by ordering from our website and using the discount code PURDUE30.

We are proud to announce that The Notorious Ben Hecht: Iconoclastic Writer and Militant Zionist by Julien Gorbach has been selected as a finalist of the 2019 National Jewish Book Award, in the category of Biography. The National Jewish Book Awards, now in its 69th year, is the longest-running program of its kind in North America.

The Notorious Ben Hecht is a biography of a great twentieth-century writer that treats his activism during the 1940s as the central drama of his life. Known widely for his roles in writing films like Scarface (1932), Gone with the Wind (1939), and Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious (1946), Hecht’s activism has often been overlooked. This book gives this part of the subject’s life its due, detailing the story of how Hecht earned admiration as a humanitarian and vilification as an extremist at a pivotal moment in history, and about the origins of his beliefs in his varied experiences in American media.

Julien Gorbach is an assistant professor in the School of Communications at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and an award-winning journalist and media historian.



You can get 30% all Purdue University Press titles by ordering from our website and using the discount code PURDUE30.

Humanities, Social Science and Education Library’s Featured Database will give you a very brief introduction to the basic features of one of our specialized subscription databases. This time we’re featuring History Reference Center, brought to you by EBSCO Industries, Inc.

Link: https://guides.lib.purdue.edu/db/histrc

Access the databases off-campus with your Purdue login and password.

Focus: This database provides full text from more than 1,620 reference books, encyclopedias, and non-fiction books. There is also full text for more than 150 leading history periodicals, nearly 57,000 historical documents, and biographies for over 78,000 historical figures. The database also includes historical photos, maps, and video.

Tutorial: Click here see the basics of using History Reference Center.

Why you should know this database: This database features full text for thousands of primary source documents and informational texts.

Quick tip: Be sure to locate the “Cite” button for any article you are planning to use in your research. It will bring up a window with a drop down menu listing various citation styles. You can select the style that you need, then cut and paste the citation to your bibliography.

Related Resources:

Another database you might want to explore is:


This Featured Database comes to you from the Humanities, Social Science and Education Library. If you would like more information about this database, or if you would like a demonstration of it for a class, contact hsselib@purdue.edu. Also let us know if you know of a colleague who would benefit from this, or future Featured Databases.

Since usage statistics are an important barometer when databases are up for renewal, tell us your favorite database, and we will gladly promote it. Send an email to hsselib@purdue.edu.