Saturday, January 20, 2018

"The Rome We Have Lost"

New from Oxford University Press: The Rome We Have Lost by John Pemble.

About the book, from the publisher:
For a thousand years, Rome was enshrined in myth and legend as the Eternal City. No Grand Tour would be complete without a visit to its ruins. But from 1870 all that changed. A millennium ended as its solitary moonlit ruins became floodlit monuments on traffic islands, and its perimeter shifted from the ancient nineteen-kilometre wall with twelve gates to a fifty-kilometre ring road with thirty-three roundabouts and spaghetti junctions.

The Rome We Have Lost is the first full investigation of this change. John Pemble musters popes, emperors, writers, exiles, and tourists, to weave a rich fabric of Roman experience. He tells the story of how, why, and with what consequences that Rome, centre of Europe and the world, became a national capital: no longer central and unique, but marginal and very similar in its problems and its solutions to other modern cities with a heavy burden of 'heritage'.

This far-reaching book illuminates the historical significance of Rome's transformation and the crisis that Europe is now confronting as it struggles to re-invent without its ancestral centre -- the city that had made Europe what it was, and defined what it meant to be European.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 19, 2018

"Exhibiting Atrocity"

New from Rutgers University Press: Exhibiting Atrocity: Memorial Museums and the Politics of Past Violence by Amy Sodaro.

About the book, from the publisher:
Today, nearly any group or nation with violence in its past has constructed or is planning a memorial museum as a mechanism for confronting past trauma, often together with truth commissions, trials, and/or other symbolic or material reparations. Exhibiting Atrocity documents the emergence of the memorial museum as a new cultural form of commemoration, and analyzes its use in efforts to come to terms with past political violence and to promote democracy and human rights.

Through a global comparative approach, Amy Sodaro uses in-depth case studies of five exemplary memorial museums that commemorate a range of violent pasts and allow for a chronological and global examination of the trend: the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC; the House of Terror in Budapest, Hungary; the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Rwanda; the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago, Chile; and the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York. Together, these case studies illustrate the historical emergence and global spread of the memorial museum and show how this new cultural form of commemoration is intended to be used in contemporary societies around the world.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 18, 2018

"The New England Watch and Ward Society"

New from Oxford University Press: The New England Watch and Ward Society by P. C. Kemeny.

About the book, from the publisher:
The New England Watch and Ward Society provides a new window into the history of the Protestant establishment's prominent role in late nineteenth-century public life and its confrontation with modernity, commercial culture, and cultural pluralism in early twentieth-century America. Elite liberal Protestants, typically considered progressive, urbane, and tolerant, established the Watch and Ward Society in 1878 to suppress literature they deemed obscene, notably including Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. These self-appointed custodians of Victorian culture enjoyed widespread support from many of New England's most renowned ministers, distinguished college presidents, respected social reformers, and wealthy philanthropists.

In the 1880s, the Watch and Ward Society expanded its efforts to regulate public morality by attacking gambling and prostitution. The society not only expressed late nineteenth-century Victorian American values about what constituted "good literature," sexual morality, and public duty, it also embodied Protestants' efforts to promote these values in an increasingly intellectually and culturally diverse society. By 1930, the Watch and Ward Society had suffered a very public fall from grace. Following controversies over the suppression of H.L. Mencken's American Mercury as well as popular novels such as Sinclair Lewis' Elmer Gantry and D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover, cultural modernists, civil libertarians, and publishers attacked the moral reform movement, ridiculing its leaders' privileged backgrounds, social idealism, and religious commitments. Their critique reshaped the dynamics of Protestant moral reform activity as well as public discourse in subsequent decades. For more than a generation, however, the Watch and Ward Society expressed mainline Protestant attitudes toward literature, gambling, and sexuality.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Catholics on the Barricades"

New from Yale University Press: Catholics on the Barricades: Poland, France, and "Revolution," 1891-1956 by Piotr H. Kosicki.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Poland in the 1940s and '50s, a new kind of Catholic intended to remake European social and political life—not with guns, but French philosophy

This collective intellectual biography examines generations of deeply religious thinkers whose faith drove them into public life, including Karol Wojtyla, future Pope John Paul II, and Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the future prime minister who would dismantle Poland’s Communist regime.

Seeking to change the way we understand the Catholic Church, World War II, the Cold War, and communism, this study centers on the idea of “revolution.” It examines two crucial countries, France and Poland, while challenging conventional wisdom among historians and introducing innovations in periodization, geography, and methodology. Why has much of Eastern Europe gone back down the road of exclusionary nationalism and religious prejudice since the end of the Cold War? Piotr H. Kosicki helps to understand the crises of contemporary Europe by examining the intellectual world of Roman Catholicism in Poland and France between the Church's declaration of war on socialism in 1891 and the demise of Stalinism in 1956.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

"Public vs. Private"

New from Oxford University Press: Public vs. Private: The Early History of School Choice in America by Robert N. Gross.

About the book, from the publisher:
Americans today choose from a dizzying array of schools, loosely lumped into categories of "public" and "private." How did these distinctions emerge in the first place, and what do they tell us about the more general relationship in the United States between public authority and private enterprise? In Public vs. Private, Robert N. Gross describes how, more than a century ago, public policies fostered the rise of modern school choice. In the late nineteenth century, American Catholics began constructing rival, urban parochial school systems, an enormous and dramatic undertaking that challenged public school systems' near-monopoly of education. In a nation deeply committed to public education, mass attendance in Catholic schools produced immense conflict. States quickly sought ways to regulate this burgeoning private sector and the competition it produced, even attempting to abolish private education altogether in the 1920s. Ultimately, however, Gross shows how the public policies that resulted produced a stable educational marketplace, where choice flourished. The creation of the educational marketplace that we have inherited today--with systematic alternatives to public schools--was as much a product of public power as of private initiative.

Gross also demonstrates that schools have been key sites in the development of the American legal conceptions of "public" and "private". Landmark Supreme Court cases about the state's role in regulating private schools, such as the 1819 Dartmouth v. Woodward decision, helped define and redefine the scope of government power over private enterprise. Judges and public officials gradually blurred the meaning of "public" and "private," contributing to the broader shift in how American governments have used private entities to accomplish public aims. As ever more policies today seek to unleash market forces in education, Americans would do well to learn from the historical relationship between government, markets, and schools.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"Rare Earth Frontiers"

New from Cornell University Press: Rare Earth Frontiers: From Terrestrial Subsoils to Lunar Landscapes by Julie Michelle Klinger.

About the book, from the publisher:
Rare Earth Frontiers is a work of human geography that serves to demystify the powerful elements that make possible the miniaturization of electronics, green energy and medical technologies, and essential telecommunications and defense systems. Julie Michelle Klinger draws attention to the fact that the rare earths we rely on most are as common as copper or lead, and this means the implications of their extraction are global. Klinger excavates the rich historical origins and ongoing ramifications of the quest to mine rare earths in ever more impossible places.

Klinger writes about the devastating damage to lives and the environment caused by the exploitation of rare earths. She demonstrates in human terms how scarcity myths have been conscripted into diverse geopolitical campaigns that use rare earth mining as a pretext to capture spaces that have historically fallen beyond the grasp of centralized power. These include legally and logistically forbidding locations in the Amazon, Greenland, and Afghanistan, and on the Moon. Drawing on ethnographic, archival, and interview data gathered in local languages and offering possible solutions to the problems it documents, this book examines the production of the rare earth frontier as a place, a concept, and a zone of contestation, sacrifice, and transformation.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 15, 2018

"The Long Hangover"

New from Oxford University Press: The Long Hangover: Putin's New Russia and the Ghosts of the Past by Shaun Walker.

About the book, from the publisher:
In The Long Hangover, Shaun Walker provides a deeply reported, bottom-up explanation of Russia's resurgence under Putin. By cleverly exploiting the memory of the Soviet victory over fascism in World War II, Putin's regime has made ordinary Russians feel that their country is great again.

Shaun Walker provides new insight into contemporary Russia and its search for a new identity, telling the story through the country's troubled relationship with its Soviet past. Walker not only explains Vladimir Putin's goals and the government's official manipulations of history, but also focuses on ordinary Russians and their motivations. He charts how Putin raised victory in World War II to the status of a national founding myth in the search for a unifying force to heal a divided country, and shows how dangerous the ramifications of this have been.

The book explores why Russia, unlike Germany, has failed to come to terms with the darkest pages of its past: Stalin's purges, the Gulag, and the war deportations. The narrative roams from the corridors of the Kremlin to the wilds of the Gulags and the trenches of East Ukraine. It puts the annexation of Crimea and the newly assertive Russia in the context of the delayed fallout of the Soviet collapse.

The Long Hangover is a book about a lost generation: the millions of Russians who lost their country and the subsequent attempts to restore to them a sense of purpose. Packed with analysis but told mainly through vibrant reportage, it is a thoughtful exploration of the legacy of the Soviet collapse and how it has affected life in Russia and Putin's policies.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 14, 2018

"Anatomy of a Genocide"

New from Simon & Schuster: Anatomy of a Genocide: The Life and Death of a Town Called Buczacz by Omer Bartov.

About the book, from the publisher:
A fascinating and cautionary examination of how genocide can take root at the local level—turning neighbors, friends, and even family members against one another—as seen through the eastern European border town of Buczacz during World War II.

For more than four hundred years, the Eastern European border town of Buczacz—today part of Ukraine—was home to a highly diverse citizenry. It was here that Poles, Ukrainians, and Jews all lived side by side in relative harmony. Then came World War II, and three years later the entire Jewish population had been murdered by German and Ukrainian police, while Ukrainian nationalists eradicated Polish residents. In truth, though, this genocide didn’t happen so quickly.

In Anatomy of a Genocide Omer Bartov explains that ethnic cleansing doesn’t occur as is so often portrayed in popular history, with the quick ascent of a vitriolic political leader and the unleashing of military might. It begins in seeming peace, slowly and often unnoticed, the culmination of pent-up slights and grudges and indignities. The perpetrators aren’t just sociopathic soldiers. They are neighbors and friends and family. They are human beings, proud and angry and scared. They are also middle-aged men who come from elsewhere, often with their wives and children and parents, and settle into a life of bourgeois comfort peppered with bouts of mass murder: an island of normality floating on an ocean of blood.

For more than two decades Bartov, whose mother was raised in Buczacz, traveled extensively throughout the region, scouring archives and amassing thousands of documents rarely seen until now. He has also made use of hundreds of first-person testimonies by victims, perpetrators, collaborators, and rescuers. Anatomy of a Genocide profoundly changes our understanding of the social dynamics of mass killing and the nature of the Holocaust as a whole. Bartov’s book isn’t just an attempt to understand what happened in the past. It’s a warning of how it could happen again, in our own towns and cities—much more easily than we might think.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 13, 2018

"Unlocking the Church"

New from Oxford University Press: Unlocking the Church: The lost secrets of Victorian sacred space by William Whyte.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Victorians built tens of thousands of churches in the hundred years between 1800 and 1900.Wherever you might be in the English-speaking world, you will be close to a Victorian built or remodelled ecclesiastical building. Contemporary experience of church buildings is almost entirely down to the zeal of Victorians such as John Henry Newman, Henry Wilberforce and Augustus Pugin, and their ideas about the role of architecture in our spiritual life and well-being.

In Unlocking the Church, William Whyte explores a forgotten revolution in social and architectural history and in the history of the Church. He details the architectural and theological debates of the day, explaining how the Tractarians of Oxford and the Ecclesiologists of Cambridge were embroiled in the aesthetics of architecture, and how the Victorians profoundly changed the ways in which buildings were understood and experienced. No longer mere receptacles for worship, churches became active agents in their own rights, capable of conveying theological ideas and designed to shape people's emotions.

These church buildings are now a challenge: their maintenance, repair or repurposing are pressing problems for parishes in age of declining attendance and dwindling funds. By understanding their past, unlocking the secrets of their space, there might be answers in how to deal with the legacy of the Victorians now and into the future.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 12, 2018

"Brokering Servitude"

New from NYU Press: Brokering Servitude: Migration and the Politics of Domestic Labor during the Long Nineteenth Century by Andrew Urban.

About the book, from the publisher:
The history of domestic labor markets in 19th century America

From the era of Irish Famine migration to the passage of quota restrictions in the 1920s, household domestic service was the single largest employer of women in the United States, and, in California, a pivotal occupation for male Chinese immigrants. Servants of both sexes accounted for eight percent of the total labor force – about one million people. In Brokering Servitude, Andrew Urban offers a history of these domestic servants, focusing on how Irish immigrant women, Chinese immigrant men, and American-born black women navigated the domestic labor market in the nineteenth century – a market in which they were forced to grapple with powerful racial and gendered discrimination.

Through vivid examples like how post-famine Irish immigrants were enlisted to work as servants in exchange for relief, this book examines how race, citizenship, and the performance of domestic labor relate to visions of American expansion. Because household service was undesirable work stigmatized as unfree, brokers were integral to steering and compelling women, men, and children into this labor. By the end of the nineteenth century, the federal government became a major broker of domestic labor through border controls, and immigration officials became important actors in dictating which workers were available for domestic labor and under what conditions they could be contracted.

Drawing on a range of sources – from political cartoons to immigrant case files to novels – Brokering Servitude connects Asian immigration, European immigration, and internal, black migration. The book ultimately demonstrates the ways in which employers pitted these groups against each other in competition for not only servant positions, but also certain forms of social inclusion, offering important insights into an oft-overlooked area of American history.
Visit Andy Urban's website.

--Marshal Zeringue