Grey Editing summer releases

It’s been a busy summer here at Grey Editing!  I’ve been writing, editing, and creating social media strategies, working on topics as diverse as language localization, slave revolts, wedding planning, domestic violence, and Marxist economics.  I even edited a novel for the first time, an exciting and creative experience that I look forward to repeating.

But the best part of this summer has been the release of several of the books over which I spent the winter and spring sweating.  There have been four over the past month, and I’m so thrilled to be able to hold them in my hands.  I hope you’ll check them out!  Here they are, in order of release (click for more):

Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire

by Deepa Kumar

Haymarket Books

In response to the events of 9/11, the Bush administration launched a “war on terror” ushering in an era of anti-Muslim racism, or Islamophobia. However, 9/11 did not create Islamophobia, an ideology which has become the handmaiden of imperialism. This book examines the historic relationship between Islamophobia and the agenda of empire-building.

I’ve known Deepa for many years and jumped at the opportunity to work with her.  Working as manuscript editor on this book was a true collaboration, with lots of thought, debate, and intellectual stimulation.  Deepa’s work spans both Middle East studies and media studies, so the book combines a geopolitical scope that sweeps from seventh-century Arabia to medieval Europe to post-9/11 New York with a sharp critical analysis of the ways Islam is portrayed in the mainstream media.  It’s an engaging read that taught me much about a subject I thought I knew well.  I also served as indexer on this book!

African Struggles Today: Social Movements Since Independence

by Peter Dwyer and Leo Zeilig

Haymarket Books

Leading scholars investigate the social forces driving the democratic transformation of post-colonial states across Southern Africa. Extensive research and interviews with civil society organizers in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, and Swaziland inform this analysis of the challenges faced by non-governmental organizations in relating both to the attendant inequality of globalization and to grassroots struggles for social justice.

I was a little intimidated when Haymarket Books asked me to edit and localize this survey of recent African social movements by two prominent  scholars in the field.  I knew very little about African politics going in, though I do have something of a background in postcolonial studies.  Fortunately, Leo and Peter, both of whom have lived and worked throughout Africa for many years, were wonderful to work with.  Through the course of our intense, tightly scheduled editing process I learned a great deal about the profoundly inspiring struggles of ordinary people in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and other countries to claim their human rights and throw off the legacy of colonialism.  I have since gone on to read a great deal more (including on the Congo, Nigeria, and Algeria), and I think this book will inspire others who are new to this topic to do the same.

The Basics of Microsoft Office: Student Guide

by Gemma Cretella

R&G Publishing

Here is a concise book with just the basic information written for students in their point of view, encompassing all learning styles: audio, visual, and text.This book will help you get you started using the Microsoft Office 2010 application along with Microsoft Windows 7 operating systems.

I served as indexer for this unique software manual.  Why unique?  Gemma Cretella teaches computer science- to art students.  She used her classroom experience to design a manual that caters to visual and multidimensional learners, with lots of screenshots and bite-sized bits of info that help to orient the reader without being too overwhelming. It has sections for both PC and Mac users, with a separate index for each.

Wrestling in the Daylight: A Rabbi’s Path to Palestinian Solidarity

by Brant Rosen

Just World Books

In 2006, Rabbi Brant Rosen, who serves a Jewish Reconstructionist congregation in Evanston, Illinois, launched a blog called Shalom Rav, in which he explored a broad range of social-justice issues. The focus of his writing—and his activism—changed dramatically in December 2008, when Israel launched a wide, 23-day military attack against Gaza, causing him to deeply question his lifelong liberal Zionism. Unlike the biblical Jacob, who wrestled in the dark of night at a crucial turning point in his life, Rabbi Rosen chose to make his struggle public: to wrestle in the daylight. Over the two years that followed, Shalom Rav became a public and always highly readable record of his journey from liberal Zionist to active and visionary Palestinian solidarity activist. Wrestling in the Daylight: A Rabbi’s Path to Palestinian Solidarity is Rosen’s self-curated compilation of these blog posts.

I met Helena Cobban, the publisher of Just World Books, in the book room at a Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions conference at the University of Pennsylvania.  When she asked me to take on this compilation by a left-wing rabbi, I was intrigued.  As it turned out, Rabbi Brant and I had a friend in common– as well as a love of the written word and a commitment to Palestinian solidarity.  His decision to include blog comments in the compilation, an unusual move in books of this kind, made the whole undertaking one of dialogue and communication, as we trod carefully along the “third rail” of American Jewish politics.  His take on the Gaza war and on relations between Palestinians, Israelis, and American Jews brings new perspectives and ideas to people on all sides of this complex question.