Metrics used to refer to a baffling system of weights and measures that Americans refused to adopt. These days, however, sports fans quote a different kind of metrics that measure everything from K/BB ratio to Kobe’s plus-minus. We live in an age of statistics. That being the case, here’s a number all of us can understand: forty percent off. That’s 40% savings on selected sports books from UI Press to celebrate our new regional catalog. We’re not talking the garbage time scrubs here, either. These titles represent the current stars we’re running out onto the floor game after game.

NFL Football - Richard CrepeauFounded as an obscure sports body, the National Football League has grown into a multi-billion-dollar colossus and cultural phenomenon at the center of American sports. Richard C. Crepeau goes into the back rooms and boardrooms to show how it happened. Probing and learned, NFL Football tells an epic success story peopled by larger-than-life figures and driven by ambition, money, sweat, and dizzying social and technological changes.





SmithF13Revered as a straight shooter in a tumultuous time, John Wooten rewrote the X’s and O’s of college basketball and remains synonymous with hardwood victory. In The Sons of Westwood, John Matthew Smith traces the Wizard’s UCLA years, showing how Wooten turned a has-been into a dynasty, but also learned to bend–for better and worse–in the face of change.






For a limited time you can purchases our regional Best of Illinois titles at a 40% discount with the promo code BEST40. Sale ends December 31, 2014. View the Best of Illinois catalog here.

AM 31_4 Emily Abrams Ansari 2The University of Illinois Press wishes to congratulate Emily Abrams Ansari, a recipient of the 46th annual ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award. Her award winning article, “Vindication, Cleansing, Catharsis, Hope”: Interracial Reconciliation and the Dilemmas of Multiculturalism in Kay and Dorr’s Jubilee (1976), was published in the University of Illinois Press’s own American Music, Vol. 31:4 (Winter 2013).

The Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson awards, established by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in 1967, commemorates the late composer, critic, commentator, and president of ASCAP, Deems Taylor. Virgil Thomas was added this year to the award’s title to honor his service to ASCAP as a member of its board of directors and his contribution to American music as both a composer and critic.

We are proud to publish the work of outstanding scholars like Professor Ansari and look forward to many more significant accomplishments from her.

Professor Ansari was honored at a ceremony for the Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomas award winners at the New York Institute of Technology Auditorium in Manhattan, New York on November 12.

American Music is the first journal that was devoted exclusively to American music and the wide-ranging scope implied by its title. Articles cover a rich array of composers, performers, publishers, institutions, performing traditions, and events. The journal also includes reviews of books, recordings, films, websites, and concerts.

Whether you want to feed the mind or the body, the UI Press steadily serves up titles in food studies and culinary history that offer astounding insights on our eats. Indeed, we wouldn’t think of printing a Best of Illinois regional catalog without giving you an opportunity to sample the buffet. Look at these prices. And such large portions!


ClampittS15Hush puppies and hominy. Pone and polenta. Bourbon and biofuels. Maize is the wonder grain that pleases and powers a planet. In Midwest Maize, Cynthia Clampitt blends history and expert reportage to pen the kernel-to-tassel epic of the staff of life that transformed a hemisphere and built a nation.

“A comprehensive, clear-eyed view of the plant that made America what it is today.” —Betty Fussell, author of The Story of Corn “Clearly a work of enormous curiosity and passion, is truly a job very well done!”—Linda and Fred Griffith, authors of Onions, Onions, Onions, winner of the James Beard Award Available February 2015. Pre-order now.



AgnewS14You know you live in the golden age of craft brewing when the India Pale Ale is considered as passe as knee-high socks and Netscape Navigator. How to navigate this brave and immense new world of suds? Set sail with Certified Cicerone® Michael Agnew, czartender of the web site A Perfect Pint, as he samples the best beer sensations at over 200 breweries and brewpubs across the Midwest. Whether you like Belgians, hop-bombs, or German styles we frankly can’t even spell, The Perfect Pint’s Beer Guide to the Heartland offers history, tour info, and a passel of full-color logos and pictures, plus Michael’s exclusive opinions on which beers to try at each location.


For a limited time you can purchase our regional Best of Illinois titles at a 40% discount with the promo code BEST40. Sale ends December 31, 2014. View the Best of Illinois catalog here.

Shilpa Davé writes about the “brown voice” of South Asian characters in tv and on film in her book Indian Accents: Brown Voice and Racial Performance in American Television and Film.

Featured on the cover of that book is actor Kal Penn in a still from the movie Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.

Both Davé and Penn recently attended the Beyond Bollywood Film Festival at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

The pair posed for the photo above after Davé interviewed Penn after a screening of his film The Namesake.

Indian Accents also amplifies the work of South Asian American actors who push back against brown-voice performances, and challenge such narrow stereotypes.


The Best of Illinois regional catalog highlights some Press titles that focus on Midwestern subjects including history, art, architecture, food, politics, music and more.

Three titles that focus on natural history provide readers an opportunity to take an excursion into the wild places of Illinois and the surrounding states.

JeffordsS14Exploring Nature in Illinois
by Michael Jeffords and Susan Post is a field guide to fifty beautiful wildlife havens in the Land of Lincoln.

This lavishly illustrated book provides a panorama of the state’s overlooked natural diversity. Naturalists Jeffords and Post explore preserves, forests, restoration areas, and parks, bringing an expert view to wildlife and landscapes. Maps and descriptions help travelers access some of the harder-to-find sites.



KuoS14Mushrooms of the Midwest
by Michael Kuo and Andrew S. Methven is an all-in-one guide to finding, collecting, studying and saving over 500 mushroom species found throughout the Midwest.

The book offers a broad cross-section of fungi, edible and not, found growing in the diverse ecosystems stretching across nine states. Kuo and Methven give recommendations for scientific mushroom collecting, with special focus on ecological data and guidelines for preserving specimens. Lists of amateur mycological associations and herbaria of the Midwest are also included. A must-have for all mushroom enthusiasts!

McFarlandS09Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois and Surrounding States
by Joe McFarland and Gregory M. Mueller is filled with detail of which fungi are good for eating and how to identify the species best avoided at the table.

Veteran mycologists McFarland and Mueller impart expert advice on the best areas and time periods to locate forty different edible species of wild mushrooms. In addition to practical wisdom on preparing, storing, drying, and cooking with wild mushrooms, readers will find recipes for dishes including Beer Battered Morels, Parasol Mushroom Frittatas, and even Morel Tiramisu.


For a limited time you can purchases our regional Best of Illinois titles at a 40% discount with the promo code BEST40. Sale ends December 31, 2014.

View the Best of Illinois catalog here.

December 4, 2014, 4:00-5:00pm
Lorado Taft: The Sculptor’s Legacy
Spurlock Museum, Knight Auditorium
600 S. Gregory St., Urbana, IL

Cover for WELLER: Lorado Taft: The Chicago Years. Click for larger imageLorado Taft is known to University of Illinois students and alumni worldwide for creating the revered Alma Mater statue.  Learn about his American art legacy in presentations from experts Robert La France, co-editor of the new book Lorado Taft: The Chicago Years, and Wayne Pitard, Director of the Spurlock Museum.  Dr. La France will highlight Taft’s great American works and the sculptor’s dedication to teaching underserved students of the era, especially women and minorities.  Director Pitard’s discussion will focus on “The Plaster Taft” and the sculptor’s goal to create a museum of the history of sculpture that would have gathered copies of masterpieces from across cultures and centuries into a single location.

A book signing with light refreshments will immediately follow in the lobby.  Free and open to the public.

Robert G. La France is Director of the David Owsley Museum of Art at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and former Curator of Pre-Modern Art at Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Wayne Pitard is Director of the Spurlock Museum and Professor of Hebrew Bible in the Department of Religion.

Co-Sponsored by Spurlock Museum, Krannert Art Museum, and the University of Illinois Press

Cover for jacobson: Squeeze This!: A Cultural History of the Accordion in America. Click for larger imageSqueeze This! A Cultural History of the Accordion in America by Marion Jacobson has won the 2014 Klaus Wachsmann Prize for Advanced and Critical Essays in Organology from the Society for Ethnomusicology.

The award is given every two years to “recognize a major publication that advances the field of organology through the presentation of new data and by using innovative methods in the study of musical instruments” and was announced at SEM’s annual conference, which was held November 13-16 in Pittsburgh.

Two UIP titles are available in paperback editions today.

Charles Ives in the Mirror: American Histories of an Iconic Composer

PaulS13Charles Ives was a virtual unknown in his lifetime. But in the 60 years since the composer’s death he has become one of the most lauded composers in American music.
In Charles Ives in the Mirror, David C. Paul, tells the new story of how Ives’s music was shaped by shifting conceptions of American identity within and outside of musical culture. Paul charts the changes in the reception of Ives across the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century.

Released in hardcover last year, Charles Ives in the Mirror was named a Choice Outstanding Title, 2013.



Gleanings of Freedom: Free and Slave Labor along the Mason-Dixon Line, 1790-1860

GrivnoF11In Gleanings of Freedom, Max Grivno closely examines a handful of counties in northern Maryland and southern Pennsylvania in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. These rural local communities offer a unique perspective on how free and slave labor systems coexisted and interacted during a time when those practices were moving apart both geographically and ideologically.

Grivno studies the dynamic, multifaceted relationship between slave and free labor, the lives of free black and white farmhands, the domestic slave trade’s impact on the people of the Upper South, and the struggles of enslaved and free blacks to liberate themselves and their families from bondage.


NFL Football - Richard CrepeauToday marks the anniversary of the “Heidi Game,” an infamous moment in television history but also part of the story of how far professional football has come in its bid to conquer the zeitgeist. November 17, 1968: the Oakland Raiders score two touchdowns in the final minute to defeat the New York Jets. Alas, most Jets fans and many other viewers missed the amazing comeback. Before the game, NBC execs had allocated three hours to the telecast, in those days more than enough to fit in the average pro football tilt. High scoring, injuries, and penalties contrived to carry the game past the deadline, however. As 7 p.m. (Eastern) approached, network decision-makers called an audible: that night’s broadcast of Heidi, the heavily-promoted story of an orphaned girl in the Alps, had to go on. It did. Anyone watching the Jets-Raiders had no idea how the game ended. Outraged fans flooded NBC with calls, scandal ensued, and the National Football League made sure to add a clause to TV contracts stating its client networks had to show the end of the game, Heidi or no Heidi. Two years later, a new development cemented the NFL-television alliance. Forever after, football’s clout allowed it to preempt any broadcast short of the apocalypse, and maybe even that (only time will tell).

As much as anything, Monday Night Football built that clout into an unstoppable force. The weekly broadcast—gravid with whiz-bang camera tricks, gladiatorial pageantry, and on-air bickering—turned the NFL product into pure entertainment. As Richard C. Crepeau shows in his book NFL Football: A History of America’s New National Pastime, the early success of the show relied on a pairing as unlikely as any in pop culture history:

The three men in the booth were Keith Jackson for play-by-play, Don Meredith for ex-player analysis, and Howard Cosell for analysis and opinions. The interplay between Cosell and Meredith developed quickly and became the centerpiece of Tuesday morning discussions of the games. MNF was an immediate hit. It achieved a thirty-five share on opening night and a consistent Nielsen rating of eighteen, which translated to sixty million viewers. The average share in the first year was thirty-one. MNF occasionally reached into the top ten of prime time.

Cosell had an ability to irritate almost everyone, and fans of each teams in a game felt he favored the other team. By the end of the first season Cosell and Meredith had developed a “shtick” in which Dandy Don played the role of the “good ole boy” and Howard that of the “big-mouthed New York Jew.” In counterpoint, these two were perfect for those bored with football by the time Monday night rolled around. Roone Arledge, MNF’s creator, understood that fans were looking for entertainment, not just another game. Under his direction MNF offered melodrama and entertainment, with a little football on the side.

The Meredith-Cosell dance became an extremely popular part of the entertainment and brought Cosell a deluge of hate mail. At one point a Denver bar held a weekly raffle in which the winner was given a brick to throw at a television when Cosell’s image came on screen. Cosell had a very high Q-rating as a highly recognizable public figure, with extremely high approval and disapproval ratings.

Part of MNF’s appeal was its unpredictability. Late in a 1972 game in the Astrodome, with the home team getting hammered and the majority of attendees already in their cars heading home, the camera panned the crowd, settling in on what appeared to be a sleeping, scruffy-looking character. His eyes opened, and he shot his middle finger directly into the camera. Without missing a beat, Meredith said simply, “Number one in the nation, and number one in our heart.”

UP Week 2014 Infographic