Monday, December 31, 2012

"Defensive Environmentalists and the Dynamics of Global Reform"

New from Cambridge University Press: Defensive Environmentalists and the Dynamics of Global Reform by Thomas Rudel.

About the book, from the publisher:
As global environmental changes become increasingly evident and efforts to respond to these changes fall short of expectations, questions about the circumstances that generate environmental reforms become more pressing. Defensive Environmentalists and Global Reform answers these questions through a historical analysis of two processes that have contributed to environmental reforms, one in which people become defensive environmentalists concerned about environmental problems close to home and another in which people become altruistic environmentalists intent on alleviating global problems after experiencing catastrophic events such as hurricanes, droughts, and fires. These focusing events make reform more urgent and convince people to become altruistic environmentalists. Bolstered by defensive environmentalists, the altruists gain strength in environmental politics, and reforms occur.
Thomas K. Rudel is professor in the departments of Human Ecology and Sociology at Rutgers University. He is the author of Tropical Forests: Regional Patterns of Destruction and Regeneration in the Late Twentieth Century (2005), which won the 2008 Outstanding Publication Award from the Environment and Technology section of the American Sociological Association, as well as Tropical Deforestation: Small Farmers and Land Clearing in the Ecuadorian Amazon (1993) and Situations and Strategies in American Land Use Planning (1989). Rudel has won the 1995 Distinguished Contribution to Environmental Society Award and the 2009 Merit Award from the Natural Resources Research Group of the Rural Sociological Society for his research.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Princely Brothers and Sisters"

New from Cornell University Press: Princely Brothers and Sisters: The Sibling Bond in German Politics, 1100–1250 by Jonathan R. Lyon.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Princely Brothers and Sisters, Jonathan R. Lyon takes a fresh look at sibling networks and the role they played in shaping the practice of politics in the Middle Ages. Focusing on nine of the most prominent aristocratic families in the German kingdom during the Staufen period (1138–1250), Lyon finds that noblemen—and to a lesser extent, noblewomen—relied on the cooperation and support of their siblings as they sought to maintain or expand their power and influence within a competitive political environment. Consequently, sibling relationships proved crucial at key moments in shaping the political and territorial interests of many lords of the kingdom.

Family historians have largely overlooked brothers and sisters in the political life of medieval societies. As Lyon points out, however, siblings are the contemporaries whose lives normally overlap the longest. More so than parents and children, husbands and wives, or lords and vassals, brothers and sisters have the potential to develop relationships that span entire lifetimes. The longevity of some sibling bonds therefore created opportunities for noble brothers and sisters to collaborate in especially potent ways. As Lyon shows, cohesive networks of brothers and sisters proved remarkably effective at counterbalancing the authority of the Staufen kings and emperors. Well written and impeccably researched, Princely Brothers and Sisters is an important book not only for medieval German historians but also for the field of family history.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

"Reforming Democracies"

New from Columbia University Press: Reforming Democracies: Six Facts About Politics That Demand a New Agenda by Douglas A. Chalmers.

About the book, from the publisher:
Even well-established democracies need reform, and any successful effort to reform democracies must look beyond conventional institutions—elections, political parties, special interests, legislatures and their relations with chief executives—to do so.

Expanding a traditional vision of the institutions of representative democracy, Douglas A. Chalmers examines six aspects of political practice relating to the people being represented, the structure of those who make law and policy, and the links between those structures and the people. Chalmers concludes with a discussion of where successful reform needs to take place: we must pay attention to a democratic ordering of the constant reconfiguration of decision making patterns; we must recognize the crucial role of information in deliberation; and we must incorporate noncitizens and foreigners into the political system, even when they are not the principal beneficiaries.

Friday, December 28, 2012

"The Duke and the Stars"

New from Harvard University Press: The Duke and the Stars: Astrology and Politics in Renaissance Milan by Monica Azzolini.

About the book, from the publisher:
This study is the first to examine the important political role played by astrology in Italian court culture. Reconstructing the powerful dynamics existing between astrologers and their prospective or existing patrons, The Duke and the Stars illustrates how the “predictive art” of astrology was a critical source of information for Italian Renaissance rulers, particularly in times of crisis. Astrological “intelligence” was often treated as sensitive, and astrologers and astrologer-physicians were often trusted with intimate secrets and delicate tasks that required profound knowledge not only of astrology but also of the political and personal situation of their clients. Two types of astrological predictions, medical and political, were taken into the most serious consideration. Focusing on Milan, Monica Azzolini describes the various ways in which the Sforza dukes (and Italian rulers more broadly) used astrology as a political and dynastic tool, guiding them as they contracted alliances, made political decisions, waged war, planned weddings, and navigated health crises.

The Duke and the Stars explores science and medicine as studied and practiced in fifteenth-century Italy, including how astrology was taught in relation to astronomy.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

"Marlborough's America"

New from Yale University Press: Marlborough's America by Stephen Saunders Webb.

About the book, from the publisher:
Scholars of British America generally conclude that the early eighteenth-century Anglo-American empire was commercial in economics, liberal in politics, and parochial in policy, somnambulant in an era of “salutary neglect,” but Stephen Saunders Webb here demonstrates that the American provinces, under the spur of war, became capitalist, coercive, and aggressive, owing to the vigorous leadership of career army officers, trained and nominated to American government by the captain general of the allied armies, the first duke of Marlborough, and that his influence, and that of his legates, prevailed through the entire century in America.

Webb’s work follows the duke, whom an eloquent enemy described as “the greatest statesman and the greatest general that this country or any other country has produced,” his staff and soldiers, through the ten campaigns, which, by defanging France, made the union with Scotland possible and made “Great Britain” preeminent in the Atlantic world. Then Webb demonstrates that the duke’s legates transformed American colonies into provinces of empire. Marlborough’s America, fifty years in the making, is the fourth volume of The Governors-General.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"Shanghai Sanctuary"

New from Oxford University Press: Shanghai Sanctuary: Chinese and Japanese Policy toward European Jewish Refugees during World War II by Bei Gao.

About the book, from the publisher:
When the world closed its borders to desperate Jews fleeing Europe during World War II, Shanghai became an unexpected last haven for the refugees. An open port that could be entered without visas, this unique city under Western and Japanese control sheltered tens of thousands of Jews. Shanghai Sanctuary is the first major study to examine the Chinese Nationalist government's policy towards the "Jewish issue" as well as the most thorough analysis of how this issue played into Japanese diplomacy. Why did Shanghai's German-allied Japanese occupiers permit this influx of Jewish refugees? Gao illuminates how the refugees' position complicated the relationships between China, Japan, Germany, and the United States before and during World War II. She thereby reveals a great deal about the Great Powers' national priorities, their international agendas, and their perceptions of the global balance of power.

Drawing from both Chinese and Japanese archival sources that no Western scholar has been able to fully use before, Gao tells a rich story about the politics and personalities that brought Jewish refugees into Shanghai. This story, far from being a mere sidebar to the history of modern China and Japan, captures a critical moment when opportunistic authorities in both countries used the incoming Jewish refugees as a tool to win international financial and political support in their war against one another. Shanghai Sanctuary underlines the extent of Holocaust's global repercussions. In the process, the book sheds new light on the intricacies of wartime diplomacy and the far-reaching human consequences of the twentieth century's most documented conflict.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

"Mating Intelligence Unleashed"

New from Oxford University Press: Mating Intelligence Unleashed: The Role of the Mind in Sex, Dating, and Love by Glenn Geher and Scott Barry Kaufman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Psychologists often paint a picture of human mating as visceral, instinctual. But that's not the whole story. In courtship and display, sexual competition and rivalry, we are also guided by what Glenn Geher and Scott Barry Kaufman call Mating Intelligence--a range of mental abilities that have evolved to help us find the right partner. Mating Intelligence is at work in our efforts to form, maintain, and end relationships. It guides us in flirtation, foreplay, copulation, finding and choosing a mate, and many other behaviors.

In Mating Intelligence Unleashed, psychologists Geher and Kaufman take readers on a fascinating tour of the crossroads of mating and intelligence, drawing on cutting-edge research on evolutionary psychology, intelligence, creativity, personality, social psychology, neuroscience, and more. The authors show that despite what you may read in the latest issue of Maxim, Playboy, Vogue, or GQ, physical attractiveness isn't the whole story. Human mating draws on a range of mental skills and attributes--from the creative use of pick-up lines, to displays of charisma, intelligence, humor, personality, and compassion. Along the way, the authors shed new light on age-old questions, such as: What role does personality play in mating? Which traits are attractive--and which traits repulse? How do people really choose mates? How do men and women deceive each other? How important is emotional intelligence? Why do people create art--and does it have anything to do with sex? Do nice guys really finish last?

Since Glenn Geher coined the term Mating Intelligence in 2006, it has drawn a great deal of media attention, ranging from a Psychology Today cover story to articles in the New Scientist, the Washington Times, the Huffington Post, and elsewhere. Now, in Mating Intelligence Unleashed, readers will have the first full account of this revolutionary new approach to dating, mating, and love.

Monday, December 24, 2012

"Under Household Government"

New from Harvard University Press: Under Household Government: Sex and Family in Puritan Massachusetts by M. Michelle Jarrett Morris.

About the book, from the publisher:
Seventeenth-century New Englanders were not as busy policing their neighbors’ behavior as Nathaniel Hawthorne or many historians of early America would have us believe. Keeping their own households in line occupied too much of their time. Under Household Government reveals the extent to which family members took on the role of watchdog in matters of sexual indiscretion.

In a society where one’s sister’s husband’s brother’s wife was referred to as “sister,” kinship networks could be immense. When out-of-wedlock pregnancies, paternity suits, and infidelity resulted in legal cases, courtrooms became battlegrounds for warring clans. Families flooded the courts with testimony, sometimes resorting to slander and jury-tampering to defend their kin. Even slaves merited defense as household members—and as valuable property. Servants, on the other hand, could expect to be cast out and left to fend for themselves.

As she elaborates the ways family policing undermined the administration of justice, M. Michelle Jarrett Morris shows how ordinary colonists understood sexual, marital, and familial relationships. Long-buried tales are resurrected here, such as that of Thomas Wilkinson’s (unsuccessful) attempt to exchange cheese for sex with Mary Toothaker, and the discovery of a headless baby along the shore of Boston’s Mill Pond. The Puritans that we meet in Morris’s account are not the cardboard caricatures of myth, but are rendered with both skill and sensitivity. Their stories of love, sex, and betrayal allow us to understand anew the depth and complexity of family life in early New England.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


New from Yale University Press: Mayhem: Post-War Crime and Violence in Britain, 1748-53 by Nicholas Rogers.

About the book, from the publisher:
After the end of the War of Austrian Succession in 1748, thousands of unemployed and sometimes unemployable soldiers and seamen found themselves on the streets of London ready to roister the town and steal when necessary. In this fascinating book Nicholas Rogers explores the moral panic associated with this rapid demobilization.

Through interlocking stories of duels, highway robberies, smuggling, riots, binge drinking, and even two earthquakes, Rogers captures the anxieties of a half-decade and assesses the social reforms contemporaries framed and imagined to deal with the crisis. He argues that in addressing these events, contemporaries not only endorsed the traditional sanction of public executions, but wrestled with the problem of expanding the parameters of government to include practices and institutions we now regard as commonplace: censuses, the regularization of marriage through uniform methods of registration, penitentiaries and police forces.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

"The Second Nuclear Age"

New from Times Books: The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger, and the New Power Politics by Paul Bracken.

About the book, from the publisher:
A leading international security strategist offers a compelling new way to "think about the unthinkable."

The cold war ended more than two decades ago, and with its end came a reduction in the threat of nuclear weapons—a luxury that we can no longer indulge. It’s not just the threat of Iran getting the bomb or North Korea doing something rash; the whole complexion of global power politics is changing because of the reemergence of nuclear weapons as a vital element of statecraft and power politics. In short, we have entered the second nuclear age.

In this provocative and agenda-setting book, Paul Bracken of Yale University argues that we need to pay renewed attention to nuclear weapons and how their presence will transform the way crises develop and escalate. He draws on his years of experience analyzing defense strategy to make the case that the United States needs to start thinking seriously about these issues once again, especially as new countries acquire nuclear capabilities. He walks us through war-game scenarios that are all too realistic, to show how nuclear weapons are changing the calculus of power politics, and he offers an incisive tour of the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia to underscore how the United States must not allow itself to be unprepared for managing such crises.

Frank in its tone and farsighted in its analysis, The Second Nuclear Age is the essential guide to the new rules of international politics.

Friday, December 21, 2012

"The Chicken Trail"

New from Cornell University Press: The Chicken Trail: Following Workers, Migrants, and Corporations across the Americas by Kathleen C. Schwartzman.

About the book, from the publisher:
In The Chicken Trail, Kathleen C. Schwartzman examines the impact of globalization—and of NAFTA in particular—on the North American poultry industry, focusing on the displacement of African American workers in the southeast United States and workers in Mexico. Schwartzman documents how the transformation of U.S. poultry production in the 1980s increased its export capacity and changed the nature and consequences of labor conflict. She documents how globalization—and NAFTA in particular—forced Mexico to open its commodity and capital markets, and eliminate state support of corporations and rural smallholders. As a consequence, many Mexicans were forced to abandon their no longer sustainable small farms, with some seeking work in industrialized poultry factories north of the border.

By following this chicken trail, Schwartzman breaks through the deadlocked immigration debate, highlighting the broader economic and political contexts of immigration flows. The narrative that undocumented worker take jobs that Americans don't want to do is too simplistic. Schwartzman argues instead that illegal immigration is better understood as a labor story in which the hiring of undocumented workers is part of a management response to the crises of profit making and labor-management conflict. By placing the poultry industry at the center of a constellation of competing individual, corporate, and national interests and such factors as national debt, free trade, economic development, industrial restructuring, and African American unemployment, The Chicken Trail makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the implications of globalization for labor and how the externalities of free trade and neoliberalism become the social problems of nations and the tragedies of individuals.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Arcadian America"

New from Yale University Press: Arcadian America: The Death and Life of an Environmental Tradition by Aaron Sachs.

About the book, from the publisher:
Perhaps America's best environmental idea was not the national park but the garden cemetery, a use of space that quickly gained popularity in the mid-nineteenth century. Such spaces of repose brought key elements of the countryside into rapidly expanding cities, making nature accessible to all and serving to remind visitors of the natural cycles of life. In this unique interdisciplinary blend of historical narrative, cultural criticism, and poignant memoir, Aaron Sachs argues that American cemeteries embody a forgotten landscape tradition that has much to teach us in our current moment of environmental crisis.

Until the trauma of the Civil War, many Americans sought to shape society into what they thought of as an Arcadia—not an Eden where fruit simply fell off the tree, but a public garden that depended on an ethic of communal care, and whose sense of beauty and repose related directly to an acknowledgement of mortality and limitation. Sachs explores the notion of Arcadia in the works of nineteenth-century nature writers, novelists, painters, horticulturists, landscape architects, and city planners, and holds up for comparison the twenty-first century's—and his own—tendency toward denial of both death and environmental limits. His far-reaching insights suggest new possibilities for the environmental movement today and new ways of understanding American history.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Of Virgins and Martyrs"

New from the Johns Hopkins University Press: Of Virgins and Martyrs: Women and Sexuality in Global Conflict by David Jacobson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Women's bodies have become a battleground. Around the world, people argue about veiling, schooling for Afghan girls, and "SlutWalk" protests, all of which involve issues of women's sexuality and freedom. Globalization, with its emphasis on human rights and individuality, heats up these arguments. In Of Virgins and Martyrs, David Jacobson takes the reader on a fascinating tour of how self-identity developed throughout history and what individualism means for Muslim societies struggling to maintain a sense of honor in a globalized twenty-first century.

Some patriarchal societies have come to see women's control of their own sexuality as a threat to a way of life that goes back thousands of years. Many trace their lineage to tribal cultures that were organized around the idea that women's virginity represents the honor of male relatives and the good of the community at large. Anyone or anything that influences women to the contrary is considered a corrupting and potentially calamitous force.

Jacobson analyzes the connection between tribal patriarchy and Muslim radicalism through an innovative tool—the tribal patriarchy index. This index helps to illuminate why women's sexuality, dress, and image so compel militant Muslim outrage and sometimes violent action, revealing a deeper human story of how women's status defines competing moral visions of society and why this present clash is erupting with such ferocity.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"The Good Rich and What They Cost Us"

New from Yale University Press: The Good Rich and What They Cost Us by Robert F. Dalzell, Jr.

About the book, from the publisher:
This timely and provocative book addresses a great paradox at the core of the American Dream: a passionate belief in the principles of democracy combined with an equally passionate celebration of wealth. Americans treasure an open, equal society, yet we also admire those fortunate few who amass riches on a scale that undermines social equality. In today's era of “too big to fail” investment banks, "vulture capitalist" hedge fund managers, Internet fortunes, and a growing concern over inequality in American life, should we cling to both parts of the paradox? Can we?

To understand the problems that vast individual fortunes pose for democratic values, Robert Dalzell presents an intriguing cast of wealthy individuals from colonial times to the present, including George Washington, one of the richest Americans of his day, the "robber baron" John D. Rockefeller, and Oprah Winfrey, for all of whom extreme wealth is inextricably tied to social concerns. In the process Dalzell uncovers the sources of our contradictory feelings toward the very rich, how they have sought to be perceived as "the good rich," and the reality behind the widespread notion that wealth and generosity go hand in hand in America. Finally, in a thoughtful and balanced conclusion, the author explores the cost of our long-standing attitudes toward the rich.
The Page 69 Test: Robert F. Dalzell and Lee Baldwin Dalzell's The House the Rockefellers Built.

Monday, December 17, 2012


New from Cornell University Press: Merit: The History of a Founding Ideal from the American Revolution to the Twenty-First Century by Joseph F. Kett.

About the book, from the publisher:
The idea that citizens' advancement should depend exclusively on merit, on qualities that deserve reward rather than on bloodlines or wire-pulling, was among the Founding ideals of the American republic, Joseph F. Kett argues in this provocative and engaging book. Merit’s history, he contends, is best understood within the context of its often conflicting interaction with the other ideals of the Founding, equal rights and government by consent. Merit implies difference; equality suggests sameness. By sanctioning selection of those lower down by those higher up, merit potentially conflicts with the republican ideal that citizens consent to the decisions that affect their lives.

In Merit, which traces the history of its subject over three centuries, Kett asserts that Americans have reconciled merit with other principles of the Founding in ways that have shaped their distinctive approach to the grading of public schools, report cards, the forging of workplace hierarchies, employee rating forms, merit systems in government, the selection of officers for the armed forces, and standardized testing for intelligence, character, and vocational interests. Today, the concept of merit is most commonly associated with measures by which it is quantified.

Viewing their merit as an element of their selfhood—essential merit—members of the Founding generation showed no interest in quantitative measurements. Rather, they equated merit with an inner quality that accounted for their achievements and that was best measured by their reputations among their peers. In a republic based on equal rights and consent of the people, however, it became important to establish that merit-based rewards were within the grasp of ordinary Americans. In response, Americans embraced institutional merit in the form of procedures focused on drawing small distinctions among average people. They also developed a penchant for increasing the number of winners in competitions—what Kett calls "selection in" rather than “selection out”—in order to satisfy popular aspirations. Kett argues that values rooted in the Founding of the republic continue to influence Americans’ approach to controversies, including those surrounding affirmative action, which involve the ideal of merit.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"Democratic Reason"

New from Princeton University Press: Democratic Reason: Politics, Collective Intelligence, and the Rule of the Many by Hélène Landemore.

About the book, from the publisher:
Individual decision making can often be wrong due to misinformation, impulses, or biases. Collective decision making, on the other hand, can be surprisingly accurate. In Democratic Reason, Hélène Landemore demonstrates that the very factors behind the superiority of collective decision making add up to a strong case for democracy. She shows that the processes and procedures of democratic decision making form a cognitive system that ensures that decisions taken by the many are more likely to be right than decisions taken by the few. Democracy as a form of government is therefore valuable not only because it is legitimate and just, but also because it is smart.

Landemore considers how the argument plays out with respect to two main mechanisms of democratic politics: inclusive deliberation and majority rule. In deliberative settings, the truth-tracking properties of deliberation are enhanced more by inclusiveness than by individual competence. Landemore explores this idea in the contexts of representative democracy and the selection of representatives. She also discusses several models for the "wisdom of crowds" channeled by majority rule, examining the trade-offs between inclusiveness and individual competence in voting. When inclusive deliberation and majority rule are combined, they beat less inclusive methods, in which one person or a small group decide. Democratic Reason thus establishes the superiority of democracy as a way of making decisions for the common good.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"The Fallacies of States' Rights"

New from Harvard University Press: The Fallacies of States' Rights by Sotirios A. Barber.

About the book, from the publisher:
The idea that “states’ rights” restrain national power is riding high in American judicial and popular opinion. Here, Sotirios A. Barber shows how arguments for states’ rights, from the days of John C. Calhoun to the present, have offended common sense, logic, and bedrock constitutional principles.

To begin with, states’ rights federalism cannot possibly win the debate with national federalism owing to the very forum in which the requisite argument must occur—a national one, thanks to the Civil War—and the ordinary rules of practical argumentation. Further, the political consequences of this self-defeating logic can only hasten the loss of American sovereignty to international economic forces. Both philosophical and practical reasons compel us to consider two historical alternatives to states’ rights federalism. In the federalism of John Marshall, the nation’s most renowned jurist, the national government’s duty to ensure security, prosperity, and other legitimate national ends must take precedence over all conflicting exercises of state power. In “process” federalism, the Constitution protects the states by securing their roles in national policy making and other national decisions. Barber opts for Marshall’s federalism, but the contest is close, and his analysis takes the debate into new, fertile territory.

Affirming the fundamental importance of the Preamble, Barber advocates a conception of the Constitution as a charter of positive benefits for the nation. It is not, in his view, a contract among weak separate sovereigns whose primary function is to protect people from the central government, when there are greater dangers to confront.

Friday, December 14, 2012

"The Heart of Religion"

New from Oxford University Press: The Heart of Religion: Spiritual Empowerment, Benevolence, and the Experience of God's Love by Matthew T. Lee, Margaret M. Poloma and Stephen G. Post.

About the book, from the publisher:
Beneath our culture's obsession with wealth and power, status and celebrity, millions of Americans are quietly engaged in a deeply religious struggle to free themselves from petty selfishness and to embrace a life of benevolence and compassion.

Drawing on an extensive random survey of 1,200 men and women across the United States, Matthew Lee, Margaret Poloma, and Stephen Post here shed new light on how Americans wake up to the reality of divine love and how that transformative experience expresses itself in concrete acts of benevolence. The authors find that the vast majority of Americans (eight out of ten) report that they have felt God's love increasing their compassion for others, one of many important revelations uncovered by the survey. In order to more fully flesh out the meaning of the survey's results, the authors also conducted 120 in-depth interviews with Christian women and men from all walks of life and from across the country who are engaged in benevolent service. Their stories offer compelling examples of how receiving God's love, loving God, and expressing this love to others has made a difference in the world and given their lives deeper significance. As a result, some provide community service, others strive for social justice, still others seek to redefine religion and the meaning of "church" in America. Interviewees who may have grown up with judgmental images of God tended to trade them in for a loving and accepting God more consistent with their own emotionally powerful personal experiences.

Based on equal measures of scholarly research and human insight, The Heart of Religion offers an unprecedented level of detail about the experience and expression of divine love.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"Tomorrow We're All Going to the Harvest"

New from the University of Texas Press: Tomorrow We're All Going to the Harvest: Temporary Foreign Worker Programs and Neoliberal Political Economy by Leigh Binford.

About the book, from the publisher:
From its inception in 1966, the Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) has grown to employ approximately 20,000 workers annually, the majority from Mexico. The program has been hailed as a model that alleviates human rights concerns because, under contract, SAWP workers travel legally, receive health benefits, contribute to pensions, are represented by Canadian consular officials, and rate the program favorably. Tomorrow We’re All Going to the Harvest takes us behind the ideology and examines the daily lives of SAWP workers from Tlaxcala, Mexico (one of the leading sending states), observing the great personal and family price paid in order to experience a temporary rise in a standard of living. The book also observes the disparities of a gutted Mexican countryside versus the flourishing agriculture in Canada, where farm labor demand remains high.

Drawn from extensive surveys and nearly two hundred interviews, ethnographic work in Ontario (destination of over 77 percent of migrants in the author’s sample), and quantitative data, this is much more than a case study; it situates the Tlaxcala-Canada exchange within the broader issues of migration, economics, and cultural currents. Bringing to light the historical genesis of “complementary” labor markets and the contradictory positioning of Mexican government representatives, Leigh Binford also explores the language barriers and nonexistent worker networks in Canada, as well as the physical realities of the work itself, making this book a complete portrait of a provocative segment of migrant labor.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"Media Commercialization and Authoritarian Rule in China"

New from Cambridge University Press: Media Commercialization and Authoritarian Rule in China by Daniela Stockmann.

About the book, from the publisher:
In most liberal democracies commercialized media is taken for granted, but in many authoritarian regimes the introduction of market forces in the media represents a radical break from the past with uncertain political and social implications. In Media Commercialization and Authoritarian Rule in China, Daniela Stockmann argues that the consequences of media marketization depend on the institutional design of the state. In one-party regimes such as China, market-based media promote regime stability rather than destabilizing authoritarianism or bringing about democracy. By analyzing the Chinese media, Stockmann ties trends of market liberalism in China to other authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and the post-Soviet region. Drawing on in-depth interviews with Chinese journalists and propaganda officials as well as more than 2,000 newspaper articles, experiments, and public opinion data sets, this book links censorship among journalists with patterns of media consumption and media's effects on public opinion.
Visit Daniela Stockmann's website.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"Smoke Signals for the Gods"

New from Oxford University Press: Smoke Signals for the Gods: Ancient Greek Sacrifice from the Archaic through Roman Periods by F. S. Naiden.

About the book, from the publisher:
Animal sacrifice has been critical to the study of ancient Mediterranean religions since the eighteenth century. More recently, two leading views on sacrifice have dominated the subject: the psychological approach of Walter Burkert and the sociological one by Jean-Pierre Vernant and Marcel Detienne. These two perspectives have argued that the main feature of sacrifice is allaying feelings of guilt at the slaughter of sacrificial animals. However, both approaches leave little room for the role of the priests and the gods they hope to communicate with. Nor do they allow for comparison between animal sacrifice and other oblations offered to the gods. F. S. Naiden redresses the omission of these salient features to show that, far from being an attempt to assuage guilt or achieve solidarity, animal sacrifice is an attempt to make contact with a divine being, and that it is so important for--and perceived to be so risky for--the worshippers that it becomes subject to regulations of unequaled extent and complexity. Sacrificial priests are the most closely regulated of all Greek officials, and sacrifice itself is the most closely regulated public business. All this anxiety and effort invites some explanation, yet to date scholars have paid little attention to these regulations. Smoke Signals for the Gods addresses these, while drawing on recent work on Greek sacred law and Greek religious terminology. Furthermore, it seek to explain how mistaken views of sacrifice and animals arose, and traces them farther into the past, often back to early Christianity. Drawing on a wealth of sources, this book provides a complete picture of ancient animal sacrifice.

Monday, December 10, 2012

"Political Self-Sacrifice"

New from Cambridge University Press: Political Self-Sacrifice: Agency, Body and Emotion in International Relations by K. M. Fierke.

About the book, from the publisher:
Over the last decade the increasing phenomenon of suicide terrorism has raised questions about how it might be rational for individuals to engage in such acts. This book examines a range of different forms of political self-sacrifice, including hunger strikes, self-burning and non-violent martyrdom, all of which have taken place in resistance to foreign interference. Karin Fierke sets out to study the strategic and emotional dynamics that arise from the image of the suffering body, including political contestation surrounding the identification of the victim as a terrorist or martyr, the meaning of the death as suicide or martyrdom and the extent to which this contributes to the reconstruction of community identity. 'Political Self-Sacrifice' offers a counterpoint to rationalist accounts of international terrorism in terrorist and security studies, and is a novel contribution to the growing literature on the role of emotion and trauma in international politics.
Read an excerpt from Political Self-Sacrifice.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

"Lying, Misleading, and What is Said"

New from Oxford University Press: Lying, Misleading, and What is Said: An Exploration in Philosophy of Language and in Ethics by Jennifer Mather Saul.

About the book, from the publisher:
Many people (both philosophers and not) find it very natural to think that deceiving someone in a way that avoids lying--by merely misleading--is morally preferable to simply lying. Others think that this preference is deeply misguided. But all sides agree that there is a distinction. In Lying, Misleading, and What is Said, Jennifer Saul undertakes a close examination of the lying/misleading distinction. Saul begins by using this very intuitive distinction to shed new light on entrenched debates in philosophy of language over notions like what is said. Next, she tackles the puzzling but widespread moral preference for misleading over lying, and arrives at a new view regarding the moral significance of the distinction. Finally, Saul draws her conclusions together to examine a range of historically important and interesting cases, from a consideration of modern politicians to the early Jesuits.
Jennifer Saul is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield. She works in Philosophy of Language, Feminist Philosophy and Philosophy of Psychology. She is especially interested in finding ways that philosophical debates (like that over what is said) connect up with real-world concerns (like lying and misleading). And she likes nothing better than an excuse to discuss political scandals in great detail. She is also the author of Simple Sentences, Substitution, and Intuitions (Oxford University Press 2007) and Feminism: Issues and Arguments (Oxford University Press 2003). She is Director of the Implicit Bias and Philosophy Research Network.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

"The Roman Market Economy"

New from Princeton University Press: The Roman Market Economy by Peter Temin.

About the book, from the publisher:
The quality of life for ordinary Roman citizens at the height of the Roman Empire probably was better than that of any other large group of people living before the Industrial Revolution. The Roman Market Economy uses the tools of modern economics to show how trade, markets, and the Pax Romana were critical to ancient Rome's prosperity.

Peter Temin, one of the world's foremost economic historians, argues that markets dominated the Roman economy. He traces how the Pax Romana encouraged trade around the Mediterranean, and how Roman law promoted commerce and banking. Temin shows that a reasonably vibrant market for wheat extended throughout the empire, and suggests that the Antonine Plague may have been responsible for turning the stable prices of the early empire into the persistent inflation of the late. He vividly describes how various markets operated in Roman times, from commodities and slaves to the buying and selling of land. Applying modern methods for evaluating economic growth to data culled from historical sources, Temin argues that Roman Italy in the second century was as prosperous as the Dutch Republic in its golden age of the seventeenth century.

The Roman Market Economy reveals how economics can help us understand how the Roman Empire could have ruled seventy million people and endured for centuries.

Friday, December 7, 2012

"Conscience and Conviction"

New from Oxford University Press: Conscience and Conviction: The Case for Civil Disobedience by Kimberley Brownlee.

About the book, from the publisher:
Arguing for the moral and legal defensibility of conscientious disobedience, and particularly civil disobedience, this book first examines the morality of conscience and conscientiousness and then the legality of conscientious breach of law.

Part I focuses on the morality of conscience and conscientiousness. These are two comparatively neglected concepts in contemporary moral and legal theory, though they are central to practical debates about the ethics of war, healthcare, and political participation, among others. The book disambiguates the descriptive notion of conscientiousness as sincere conviction from the evaluative notion of conscience as genuine moral responsiveness. This gives rise to a communicative principle of conscientiousness (CPC), according to which sincere moral conviction requires not only that we act consistently with our beliefs and make universal moral judgements, but also that we not seek to evade the consequences of doing so and be willing to communicate our convictions to others.

The CPC informs the ensuing discussion of persons' rights and duties within a liberal democracy. In contrast with standard liberal theorizing, the book shows that people who engage in the communicative practice of suitably constrained civil disobedience have a better claim to a moral right to conscientious action than do people who engage in non-communicative, private, or evasive 'conscientious' objection.

Part II argues that civil disobedience is generally more defensible than personal disobedience. The book explores two putative legal defences - a demands-of-conviction defence and a necessity defence - and argues that each applies more readily to civil disobedience than to personal disobedience. The book responds to concerns about strategic-action, democracy, competition of values, and proportionality, all of which disregard the communicative nature of sincere conviction and underestimate the capacity of democratic law to recognise the legitimacy and importance of values other than literal compliance with the law.

The book concludes by highlighting a parallel between the communicative aims of civil disobedience and the communicative aims of lawful punishment. Only the former may claim to have dialogue ambitions, which raises difficulties for the justifiability of punishing civil disobedience.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Saltpeter: The Mother of Gunpowder"

New from Oxford University Press: Saltpeter: The Mother of Gunpowder by David Cressy.

About the book, from the publisher:
This is the story of saltpeter, the vital but mysterious substance craved by governments from the Tudors to the Victorians as an 'inestimable treasure.'

National security depended on control of this organic material - that had both mystical and mineral properties. Derived from soil enriched with dung and urine, it provided the heart or 'mother' of gunpowder, without which no musket or cannon could be fired. Its acquisition involved alchemical knowledge, exotic technology, intrusions into people's lives, and eventual dominance of the world's oceans.

The quest for saltpeter caused widespread 'vexation' in Tudor and Stuart England, as crown agents dug in homes and barns and even churches. Governments hungry for it purchased supplies from overseas merchants, transferred skills from foreign experts, and extended patronage to ingenious schemers, while the hated 'saltpetermen' intruded on private ground.

Eventually, huge saltpeter imports from India relieved this social pressure, and by the eighteenth century positioned Britain as a global imperial power; the governments of revolutionary America and ancien regime France, on the other hand, were forced to find alternative sources of this treasured substance. In the end, it was only with the development of chemical explosives in the late Victorian period that dependency on saltpeter finally declined.

Saltpeter, the Mother of Gunpowder tells this fascinating story for the first time. Lively and entertaining in its own right, it is also a tale with far-reaching implications. As David Cressy's engaging narrative makes clear, the story of saltpeter is vital not only in explaining the inter-connected military, scientific, and political 'revolutions' of the seventeenth century; it also played a key role in the formation of the centralized British nation state - and that state's subsequent dominance of the waves in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Learn more about David Cressy and his scholarship at his faculty webpage.

The Page 99 Test: David Cressy's Dangerous Talk.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"Conspiracy Theory in Latin Literature"

New from the University of Texas Press: Conspiracy Theory in Latin Literature by Victoria Emma Pagán.

About the book, from the publisher:
Conspiracy theory as a theoretical framework has emerged only in the last twenty years; commentators are finding it a productive way to explain the actions and thoughts of individuals and societies. In this compelling exploration of Latin literature, Pagán uses conspiracy theory to illuminate the ways that elite Romans invoked conspiracy as they navigated the hierarchies, divisions, and inequalities in their society. By seeming to uncover conspiracy everywhere, Romans could find the need to crush slave revolts, punish rivals with death or exile, dismiss women, denigrate foreigners, or view their emperors with deep suspicion. Expanding on her earlier Conspiracy Narratives in Roman History, Pagán here interprets the works of poets, satirists, historians, and orators—Juvenal, Tacitus, Suetonius, Terence, and Cicero, among others—to reveal how each writer gave voice to fictional or real actors who were engaged in intrigue and motivated by a calculating worldview.

Delving into multiple genres, Pagán offers a powerful critique of how conspiracy and conspiracy theory can take hold and thrive when rumor, fear, and secrecy become routine methods of interpreting (and often distorting) past and current events. In Roman society, where knowledge about others was often lacking and stereotypes dominated, conspiracy theory explained how the world worked. The persistence of conspiracy theory, from antiquity to the present day, attests to its potency as a mechanism for confronting the frailties of the human condition.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Becoming Right"

New from Princeton University Press: Becoming Right: How Campuses Shape Young Conservatives by Amy J. Binder and Kate Wood.

About the book, from the publisher:
Conservative pundits allege that the pervasive liberalism of America's colleges and universities has detrimental effects on undergraduates, most particularly right-leaning ones. Yet not enough attention has actually been paid to young conservatives to test these claims--until now.

In Becoming Right, Amy Binder and Kate Wood carefully explore who conservative students are, and how their beliefs and political activism relate to their university experiences. Which parts of conservatism do these students identify with? How do their political identities evolve on campus? And what do their educational experiences portend for their own futures--and for the future of American conservatism?

Becoming Right demonstrates the power that campus culture has in developing students' conservative political styles and shows that young conservatives are made, not born. Focusing on two universities--"Eastern Elite" and "Western Public"--Binder and Wood discover that what is acceptable, or even celebrated, political speech and action on one campus might be unthinkable on another. Right-leaning students quickly learn the styles of conservatism that are appropriate for their schools. Though they might be expected to simply plug into the national conservative narrative--via media from Fox News to Facebook--college conservatives actually enact their politics in starkly different ways.

Rich in interviews and insight, Becoming Right illustrates that the diverse conservative movement evolving among today's college students holds important implications for the direction of American politics.

Monday, December 3, 2012

"How America Eats"

New from Rowman & Littlefield: How America Eats: A Social History of U.S. Food and Culture by Jennifer Jensen Wallach.

About the book, from the publisher:
How America Eats: A Social History of US Food and Culture, by food and social historian Jennifer Wallach, sheds a new and interesting light on American history by way of the dinner table. It is, at once, a study of America’s diverse culinary history and a look at the country’s unique and unprecedented journey to the present day. While undeniably a “melting pot” of different cultures and cuisines, America’s food habits have been shaped as much by technological innovations and industrial progress as by the intermingling and mixture of ethnic cultures. By studying what Americans have been eating since the colonial era, we are further enlightened to the conflicting ways in which Americans have chosen to define themselves, their culture, their beliefs, and the changes those definitions have undergone over time. Understanding the American diet is the first step toward grasping the larger truths, the complex American narratives that have long been swept under the table, and the evolving answers to the question: What does it mean to be American?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

"Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks"

New from Princeton University Press: Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks by Jenny White.

About the book, from the publisher:
Turkey has leapt to international prominence as an economic and political powerhouse under its elected Muslim government, and is looked on by many as a model for other Muslim countries in the wake of the Arab Spring. This book reveals how Turkish national identity and the meanings of Islam and secularism have undergone radical changes in today's Turkey, and asks whether the Turkish model should be viewed as a success story or cautionary tale.

Jenny White shows how Turkey's Muslim elites have mounted a powerful political and economic challenge to the country's secularists, developing an alternative definition of the nation based on a nostalgic revival of Turkey's Ottoman past. These Muslim nationalists have pushed aside the Republican ideal of a nation defined by purity of blood, language, and culture. They see no contradiction in pious Muslims running a secular state, and increasingly express their Muslim identity through participation in economic networks and a lifestyle of Islamic fashion and leisure. For many younger Turks, religious and national identities, like commodities, have become objects of choice and forms of personal expression.

This provocative book traces how Muslim nationalists blur the line between the secular and the Islamic, supporting globalization and political liberalism, yet remaining mired in authoritarianism, intolerance, and cultural norms hostile to minorities and women.
Visit Jenny White's website.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

"The Telegraph in America, 1832-1920"

New from Johns Hopkins University Press: The Telegraph in America, 1832-1920 by David Hochfelder.

About the book, from the publisher:
Telegraphy in the nineteenth century approximated the internet in our own day. Historian and electrical engineer David Hochfelder offers readers a comprehensive history of this groundbreaking technology, which employs breaks in an electrical current to send code along miles of wire. The Telegraph in America, 1832–1920, examines the correlation between technological innovation and social change and shows how this transformative relationship helps us to understand and perhaps define modernity.

The telegraph revolutionized the spread of information—speeding personal messages, news of public events, and details of stock fluctuations. During the Civil War, telegraphed intelligence and high-level directives gave the Union war effort a critical advantage. Afterward, the telegraph helped build and break fortunes and, along with the railroad, altered the way Americans thought about time and space. Hochfelder thus supplies us with an introduction to the early stirrings of the information age.

Friday, November 30, 2012

"Murder Most Russian"

New from Cornell University Press: Murder Most Russian: True Crime and Punishment in Late Imperial Russia by Louise McReynolds.

About the book, from the publisher:
How a society defines crimes and prosecutes criminals illuminates its cultural values, social norms, and political expectations. In Murder Most Russian, Louise McReynolds uses a fascinating series of murders and subsequent trials that took place in the wake of the 1864 legal reforms enacted by Tsar Alexander II to understand the impact of these reforms on Russian society before the Revolution of 1917. For the first time in Russian history, the accused were placed in the hands of juries of common citizens in courtrooms that were open to the press. Drawing on a wide array of sources, McReynolds reconstructs murders that gripped Russian society, from the case of Andrei Gilevich, who advertised for a personal secretary and beheaded the respondent as a way of perpetrating insurance fraud, to the beating death of Marianna Time at the hands of two young aristocrats who hoped to steal her diamond earrings.

As McReynolds shows, newspapers covered such trials extensively, transforming the courtroom into the most public site in Russia for deliberation about legality and justice. To understand the cultural and social consequences of murder in late imperial Russia, she analyzes the discussions that arose among the emergent professional criminologists, defense attorneys, and expert forensic witnesses about what made a defendant's behavior "criminal." She also deftly connects real criminal trials to the burgeoning literary genre of crime fiction and fruitfully compares the Russian case to examples of crimes both from Western Europe and the United States in this period.

Murder Most Russian will appeal not only to readers interested in Russian culture and true crime but also to historians who study criminology, urbanization, the role of the social sciences in forging the modern state, evolving notions of the self and the psyche, the instability of gender norms, and sensationalism in the modern media.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"The Visioneers"

New from Princeton University Press: The Visioneers: How a Group of Elite Scientists Pursued Space Colonies, Nanotechnologies, and a Limitless Future by W. Patrick McCray.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 1969, Princeton physicist Gerard O'Neill began looking outward to space colonies as the new frontier for humanity's expansion. A decade later, Eric Drexler, an MIT-trained engineer, turned his attention to the molecular world as the place where society's future needs could be met using self-replicating nanoscale machines. These modern utopians predicted that their technologies could transform society as humans mastered the ability to create new worlds, undertook atomic-scale engineering, and, if truly successful, overcame their own biological limits. The Visioneers tells the story of how these scientists and the communities they fostered imagined, designed, and popularized speculative technologies such as space colonies and nanotechnologies.

Patrick McCray traces how these visioneers blended countercultural ideals with hard science, entrepreneurship, libertarianism, and unbridled optimism about the future. He shows how they built networks that communicated their ideas to writers, politicians, and corporate leaders. But the visioneers were not immune to failure--or to the lures of profit, celebrity, and hype. O'Neill and Drexler faced difficulty funding their work and overcoming colleagues' skepticism, and saw their ideas co-opted and transformed by Timothy Leary, the scriptwriters of Star Trek, and many others. Ultimately, both men struggled to overcome stigma and ostracism as they tried to unshackle their visioneering from pejorative labels like "fringe" and "pseudoscience."

The Visioneers provides a balanced look at the successes and pitfalls they encountered. The book exposes the dangers of promotion--oversimplification, misuse, and misunderstanding--that can plague exploratory science. But above all, it highlights the importance of radical new ideas that inspire us to support cutting-edge research into tomorrow's technologies.
Visit W. Patrick McCray's website.

The Page 99 Test: W. Patrick McCray's Keep Watching the Skies!.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"The Ingenious Dr Darwin"

New from Oxford University Press: The Ingenious Dr Darwin: Sex, Science, and Serendipity by Patricia Fara.

About the book, from the publisher:
Dr Erasmus Darwin seemed an innocuous Midlands physician, a respectable stalwart of eighteenth-century society. But there was another side to him.

Botanist, inventor, Lunar inventor and popular poet, Darwin was internationally renowned for breathtakingly long poems explaining his theories about sex and science. Yet he become a target for the political classes, the victim of a sustained and vitriolic character assassination by London's most savage satirists.

Intrigued, prize-winning historian Patricia Fara set out to investigate why Darwin had provoked such fierce intellectual and political reaction. Inviting her readers to accompany her, she embarked on what turned out to be a circuitous and serendipitous journey.

Her research led her to discover a man who possessed, according to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 'perhaps a greater range of knowledge than any other man in Europe.' His evolutionary ideas influenced his grandson Charles, were banned by the Vatican, and scandalized his reactionary critics. But for modern readers, he shines out as an impassioned Enlightenment reformer who championed the abolition of slavery, the education of women, and the optimistic ideals of the French Revolution.

As she tracks down her quarry, Patricia Fara uncovers a ferment of dangerous ideas that terrified the establishment, inspired the Romantics, and laid the ground for Victorian battles between faith and science.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Neoconservative Politics and the Supreme Court"

New from New York University Press: Neoconservative Politics and the Supreme Court: Law, Power, and Democracy by Stephen M. Feldman.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this concise, timely book, constitutional law expert Stephen M. Feldman draws on neoconservative writings to explore the rise of the neocons and their influence on the Supreme Court. Neocons burst onto the political scene in the early 1980s via their assault on pluralist democracy’s ethical relativism, where no pre-existing or higher principles limit the agendas of interest groups. Instead, they advocated for a resurrection of republican democracy, which declares that virtuous citizens and officials pursue the common good. Yet despite their original goals, neocons quickly became an interest group themselves, competing successfully within the pluralist democratic arena. When the political winds shifted in 2008, however, neocons found themselves shorn of power in Congress and the executive branch. But portentously, they still controlled the Supreme Court.

Neoconservative Politics and the Supreme Court explains how and why the neoconservatives criticized but operated within pluralist democracy, and, most important, what the entrenchment of neocons on the Supreme Court means for present and future politics and law.

Monday, November 26, 2012

"Sinews of the Nation"

New from John Wiley & Sons: Sinews of the Nation: Constructing Irish and Zionist Bonds in the United States by Dan Lainer-Vos.

About the book, from the publisher:
Fundraising may not seem like an obvious lens through which to examine the process of nation-building, but in this highly original book Lainer-Vos shows that fundraising mechanisms - ranging from complex transnational gift-giving systems to sophisticated national bonds - are organizational tools that can be used to bind dispersed groups to the nation.

Sinews of the Nation treats nation-building as a practical organizational accomplishment and examines how the Irish republicans and the Zionist movement secured financial support in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. Comparing the Irish and Jewish experiences, whose trajectories of homeland-diaspora relations were very different, provides a unique perspective for examining how national movements use economic transactions to attach disparate groups to the national project.

By focusing on fundraising, Lainer-Vos challenges the common view of nation-building as only a matter of forging communities by imagining away internal differences: he shows that nation-building also involves organizing relationships so as to allow heterogeneous groups to maintain their difference and yet contribute to the national cause. Nation-building is about much more than creating unifying symbols: it is also about creating mechanisms that bind heterogeneous groups to the nation despite and through their differences.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Americans All"

New from University of Texas Press: Americans All: Good Neighbor Cultural Diplomacy in World War II by Darlene J. Sadlier.

About the book, from the publisher:
Cultural diplomacy—“winning hearts and minds” through positive portrayals of the American way of life—is a key element in U.S. foreign policy, although it often takes a backseat to displays of military might. Americans All provides an in-depth, fine-grained study of a particularly successful instance of cultural diplomacy—the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA), a government agency established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940 and headed by Nelson A. Rockefeller that worked to promote hemispheric solidarity and combat Axis infiltration and domination by bolstering inter-American cultural ties.

Darlene J. Sadlier explores how the CIAA used film, radio, the press, and various educational and high-art activities to convince people in the United States of the importance of good neighbor relations with Latin America, while also persuading Latin Americans that the United States recognized and appreciated the importance of our southern neighbors. She examines the CIAA’s working relationship with Hollywood’s Motion Picture Society of the Americas; its network and radio productions in North and South America; its sponsoring of Walt Disney, Orson Welles, John Ford, Gregg Toland, and many others who traveled between the United States and Latin America; and its close ties to the newly created Museum of Modern Art, which organized traveling art and photographic exhibits and produced hundreds of 16mm educational films for inter-American audiences; and its influence on the work of scores of artists, libraries, book publishers, and newspapers, as well as public schools, universities, and private organizations.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

"Demosthenes of Athens and the Fall of Classical Greece"

New from Oxford University Press: Demosthenes of Athens and the Fall of Classical Greece by Ian Worthington.

About the book, from the publisher:
Demosthenes (384-322 BC) profoundly shaped one of the most eventful epochs in antiquity. His political career spanned three decades, during which time Greece fell victim to Macedonian control, first under Philip II and then Alexander the Great. Demosthenes' courageous defiance of Macedonian imperialism cost him his life but earned for him a reputation as one of history's outstanding patriots. He also enjoyed a brilliant and lucrative career as a speechwriter, and his rhetorical skills are still emulated today by statesmen and politicians. Yet he was a sickly child with a challenging speech impediment, who was swindled out of much of his family's estate by unscrupulous guardians. His story is therefore one of triumph over adversity.

In this new biography--the first written in English for almost a century--Ian Worthington brings the great orator's career vividly to life. He provides a moving narrative of Demosthenes' humble and difficult beginnings, his fierce rivalries with other Athenian politicians, his victories and defeats in the public Assembly, and finally his posthumous influence as a politician and orator. In doing so, Worthington offers new insights into Demosthenes' motives and how he shaped his policy to achieve political power. Set against the rich backdrop of late classical Athens and Macedonia, this biography will appeal to all readers interested in the history and heritage of ancient Greece. All quotations from Demosthenes' speeches are translated and briefly discussed in order for both professional and non-professional readers to appreciate his rhetorical genius.

Friday, November 23, 2012

"In the Shadow of the Greatest Generation"

New from New York University Press: In the Shadow of the Greatest Generation: The Americans Who Fought the Korean War by Melinda L. Pash.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the Shadow of the Greatest Generation traces the shared experiences of Korean War veterans from their childhoods in the Great Depression and World War II through military induction and training, the war, and efforts in more recent decades to organize and gain wider recognition of their service.

Largely overshadowed by World War II’s “greatest generation” and the more vocal veterans of the Vietnam era, Korean War veterans remain relatively invisible in the narratives of both war and its aftermath. Yet, just as the beaches of Normandy and the jungles of Vietnam worked profound changes on conflict participants, the Korean Peninsula chipped away at the beliefs, physical and mental well-being, and fortitude of Americans completing wartime tours of duty there. Upon returning home, Korean War veterans struggled with home front attitudes toward the war, faced employment and family dilemmas, and wrestled with readjustment. Not unlike other wars, Korea proved a formative and defining influence on the men and women stationed in theater, on their loved ones, and in some measure on American culture. In the Shadow of the Greatest Generation not only gives voice to those Americans who served in the “forgotten war” but chronicles the larger personal and collective consequences of waging war the American way.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

"Making the European Monetary Union"

New from Harvard University Press: Making the European Monetary Union by Harold James.

About the book, from the publisher:
Europe’s financial crisis cannot be blamed on the Euro, Harold James contends in this probing exploration of the whys, whens, whos, and what-ifs of European monetary union. The current crisis goes deeper, to a series of problems that were debated but not resolved at the time of the Euro’s invention.

Since the 1960s, Europeans had been looking for a way to address two conundrums simultaneously: the dollar’s privileged position in the international monetary system, and Germany’s persistent current account surpluses in Europe. The Euro was created under a politically independent central bank to meet the primary goal of price stability. But while the monetary side of union was clearly conceived, other prerequisites of stability were beyond the reach of technocratic central bankers. Issues such as fiscal rules and Europe-wide banking supervision and regulation were thoroughly discussed during planning in the late 1980s and 1990s, but remained in the hands of member states. That omission proved to be a cause of crisis decades later.

Here is an account that helps readers understand the European monetary crisis in depth, by tracing behind-the-scenes negotiations using an array of sources unavailable until now, notably from the European Community’s Committee of Central Bank Governors and the Delors Committee of 1988–89, which set out the plan for how Europe could reach its goal of monetary union. As this foundational study makes clear, it was the constant friction between politicians and technocrats that shaped the Euro. And, Euro or no Euro, this clash will continue into the future.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Thirst: Water and Power in the Ancient World"

New from Harvard University Press: Thirst: Water and Power in the Ancient World by Steven Mithen.

About the book, from the publisher:
Water is an endangered resource, imperiled by population growth, mega-urbanization, and climate change. Scientists project that by 2050, freshwater shortages will affect 75 percent of the global population. Steven Mithen puts our current crisis in historical context by exploring 10,000 years of humankind’s management of water. Thirst offers cautionary tales of civilizations defeated by the challenges of water control, as well as inspirational stories about how technological ingenuity has sustained communities in hostile environments.

As in his acclaimed, genre-defying After the Ice and The Singing Neanderthals, Mithen blends archaeology, current science, and ancient literature to give us a rich new picture of how our ancestors lived. Since the Neolithic Revolution, people have recognized water as a commodity and source of economic power and have manipulated its flow. History abounds with examples of ambitious water management projects and hydraulic engineering—from the Sumerians, whose mastery of canal building and irrigation led to their status as the first civilization, to the Nabataeans, who created a watery paradise in the desert city of Petra, to the Khmer, who built a massive inland sea at Angkor, visible from space.

As we search for modern solutions to today’s water crises, from the American Southwest to China, Mithen also looks for lessons in the past. He suggests that we follow one of the most unheeded pieces of advice to come down from ancient times. In the words of Li Bing, whose waterworks have irrigated the Sichuan Basin since 256 BC, “Work with nature, not against it.”

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Social Death"

New from NYU Press: Social Death: Racialized Rightlessness and the Criminalization of the Unprotected by Lisa Marie Cacho.

About the book, from the publisher:
Social Death tackles one of the core paradoxes of social justice struggles and scholarship—that the battle to end oppression shares the moral grammar that structures exploitation and sanctions state violence. Lisa Marie Cacho forcefully argues that the demands for personhood for those who, in the eyes of society, have little value, depend on capitalist and heteropatriarchal measures of worth.

With poignant case studies, Cacho illustrates that our very understanding of personhood is premised upon the unchallenged devaluation of criminalized populations of color. Hence, the reliance of rights-based politics on notions of who is and is not a deserving member of society inadvertently replicates the logic that creates and normalizes states of social and literal death. Her understanding of inalienable rights and personhood provides us the much-needed comparative analytical and ethical tools to understand the racialized and nationalized tensions between racial groups. Driven by a radical, relentless critique, Social Death challenges us to imagine a heretofore “unthinkable” politics and ethics that do not rest on neoliberal arguments about worth, but rather emerge from the insurgent experiences of those negated persons who do not live by the norms that determine the productive, patriotic, law abiding, and family-oriented subject.

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Against Autonomy"

New from Cambridge University Press: Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism by Sarah Conly.

About the book, from the publisher:
Since Mill's seminal work On Liberty, philosophers and political theorists have accepted that we should respect the decisions of individual agents when those decisions affect no one other than themselves. Indeed, to respect autonomy is often understood to be the chief way to bear witness to the intrinsic value of persons. In this book, Sarah Conly rejects the idea of autonomy as inviolable. Drawing on sources from behavioural economics and social psychology, she argues that we are so often irrational in making our decisions that our autonomous choices often undercut the achievement of our own goals. Thus in many cases it would advance our goals more effectively if government were to prevent us from acting in accordance with our decisions. Her argument challenges widely held views of moral agency, democratic values and the public/private distinction, and will interest readers in ethics, political philosophy, political theory and philosophy of law.
Read an excerpt from Against Autonomy.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"Black Ranching Frontiers"

New from Yale University Press: Black Ranching Frontiers: African Cattle Herders of the Atlantic World, 1500-1900 by Andrew Sluyter.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this groundbreaking book Andrew Sluyter demonstrates for the first time that Africans played significant creative roles in establishing open-range cattle ranching in the Americas. In so doing, he provides a new way of looking at and studying the history of land, labor, property, and commerce in the Atlantic world.

Sluyter shows that Africans’ ideas and creativity helped to establish a production system so fundamental to the environmental and social relations of the American colonies that the consequences persist to the present. He examines various methods of cattle production, compares these methods to those used in Europe and the Americas, and traces the networks of actors that linked that Atlantic world. The use of archival documents, material culture items, and ecological relationships between landscape elements make this book a methodologically and substantively original contribution to Atlantic, African-American, and agricultural history.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

"The Eagle Unbowed"

New from Harvard University Press: The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War by Halik Kochanski.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Second World War gripped Poland as it did no other country in Europe. Invaded by both Germany and the Soviet Union, it remained under occupation by foreign armies from the first day of the war to the last. The conflict was brutal, as Polish armies battled the enemy on four different fronts. It was on Polish soil that the architects of the Final Solution assembled their most elaborate network of extermination camps, culminating in the deliberate destruction of millions of lives, including three million Polish Jews. In The Eagle Unbowed, Halik Kochanski tells, for the first time, the story of Poland’s war in its entirety, a story that captures both the diversity and the depth of the lives of those who endured its horrors.

Most histories of the European war focus on the Allies’ determination to liberate the continent from the fascist onslaught. Yet the “good war” looks quite different when viewed from Lodz or Krakow than from London or Washington, D.C. Poland emerged from the war trapped behind the Iron Curtain, and it would be nearly a half-century until Poland gained the freedom that its partners had secured with the defeat of Hitler. Rescuing the stories of those who died and those who vanished, those who fought and those who escaped, Kochanski deftly reconstructs the world of wartime Poland in all its complexity—from collaboration to resistance, from expulsion to exile, from Warsaw to Treblinka. The Eagle Unbowed provides in a single volume the first truly comprehensive account of one of the most harrowing periods in modern history.