Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"A Feminist in the White House"

New from Oxford University Press: A Feminist in the White House: Midge Costanza, the Carter Years, and America's Culture Wars by Doreen Mattingly.

About the book, from the publisher:
A feminist, an outspoken activist, a woman without a college education, Midge Costanza was one of the unlikeliest of White House insiders. Yet in 1977 she became the first female Assistant to the President for Public Liaison under Jimmy Carter, emerging as a prominent focal point of the American culture wars. Tasked with bringing the views of special interest groups to the president, Costanza championed progressive causes even as Americans grew increasingly divided on the very issues for which she fought.

In A Feminist in the White House, Doreen Mattingly draws on Costanza's personal papers to shed light on the life of this fascinating and controversial woman. Mattingly chronicles Costanza's dramatic rise and fall as a public figure, from her initial popularity to her ultimate clashes with Carter and his aides. While Costanza challenged Carter to support abortion rights, gay and lesbian rights, and feminist policies, Carter faced increased pressure to appease the interests of emerging Religious Right, which directly opposed Costanza's ideals. Ultimately, marginalized both within the White House and by her fellow feminists, Costanza was pressured to resign in 1978.

Through the lens of Constanza's story, readers catch a unique perspective of the rise of debates which have defined the feminist movement and sexual politics to this very day. Mattingly also reveals a wider, but heretofore neglected, narrative of the complex era of gender politics in the late 1970's Washington - a history which continues to resonate in politics today. A Feminist in the White House is a must-read for anyone with an interest in sexual politics, female politicians, and presidential history.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 30, 2016

"Running the Rails"

New from Cornell University Press: Running the Rails: Capital and Labor in the Philadelphia Transit Industry by James Wolfinger.

About the book, from the publisher:
Philadelphia exploded in violence in 1910. The general strike that year was a notable point, but not a unique one, in a generations-long history of conflict between the workers and management at one of the nation's largest privately owned transit systems. In Running the Rails, James Wolfinger uses the history of Philadelphia’s sprawling public transportation system to explore how labor relations shifted from the 1880s to the 1960s. As transit workers adapted to fast-paced technological innovation to keep the city’s people and commerce on the move, management sought to limit its employees’ rights. Raw violence, welfare capitalism, race-baiting, and smear campaigns against unions were among the strategies managers used to control the company’s labor force and enhance corporate profits, often at the expense of the workers’ and the city’s well-being.

Public service workers and their unions come under frequent attack for being a "special interest" or a hindrance to the smooth functioning of society. This book offers readers a different, historically grounded way of thinking about the people who keep their cities running. Working in public transit is a difficult job now, as it was a century ago. The benefits and decent wages Philadelphia public transit workers secured—advances that were hard-won and well deserved—came as a result of fighting for decades against their exploitation. Given capital’s great power in American society and management's enduring quest to control its workforce, it is remarkable to see how much Philadelphia’s transit workers achieved.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 29, 2016

"Black Natural Law"

New from Oxford University Press: Black Natural Law by Vincent W. Lloyd.

About the book, from the publisher:
Black Natural Law offers a new way of understanding the African American political tradition. Iconoclastically attacking left (including James Baldwin and Audre Lorde), right (including Clarence Thomas and Ben Carson), and center (Barack Obama), Vincent William Lloyd charges that many Black leaders today embrace secular, white modes of political engagement, abandoning the deep connections between religious, philosophical, and political ideas that once animated Black politics. By telling the stories of Frederick Douglass, Anna Julia Cooper, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Martin Luther King, Jr., Lloyd shows how appeals to a higher law, or God's law, have long fueled Black political engagement. Such appeals do not seek to implement divine directives on earth; rather, they pose a challenge to the wisdom of the world, and they mobilize communities for collective action. Black natural law is deeply democratic: while charismatic leaders may provide the occasion for reflection and mobilization, all are capable of discerning the higher law using our human capacities for reason and emotion.

At a time when continuing racial injustice poses a deep moral challenge, the most powerful intellectual resources in the struggle for justice have been abandoned. Black Natural Law recovers a rich tradition, and it examines just how this tradition was forgotten. A Black intellectual class emerged that was disconnected from social movement organizing and beholden to white interests. Appeals to higher law became politically impotent: overly rational or overly sentimental. Recovering the Black natural law tradition provides a powerful resource for confronting police violence, mass incarceration, and today's gross racial inequities.

Black Natural Law will change the way we understand natural law, a topic central to the Western ethical and political tradition. While drawing particularly on African American resources, Black Natural Law speaks to all who seek politics animated by justice.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Religion on the Battlefield"

New from Cornell University Press: Religion on the Battlefield by Ron E. Hassner.

About the book, from the publisher:
How does religion shape the modern battlefield? Ron E. Hassner proposes that religion acts as a force multiplier, both enabling and constraining military operations. This is true not only for religiously radicalized fighters but also for professional soldiers. In the last century, religion has influenced modern militaries in the timing of attacks, the selection of targets for assault, the zeal with which units execute their mission, and the ability of individual soldiers to face the challenge of war. Religious ideas have not provided the reasons why conventional militaries fight, but religious practices have influenced their ability to do so effectively.

In Religion on the Battlefield, Hassner focuses on the everyday practice of religion in a military context: the prayers, rituals, fasts, and feasts of the religious practitioners who make up the bulk of the adversaries in, bystanders to, and observers of armed conflicts. To show that religious practices have influenced battlefield decision making, Hassner draws most of his examples from major wars involving Western militaries. They include British soldiers in the trenches of World War I, U.S. pilots in World War II, and U.S. Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hassner shows that even modern, rational, and bureaucratized military organizations have taken—and must take—religious practice into account in the conduct of war.
The Page 99 Test: War on Sacred Grounds.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 28, 2016

"The Political Economy of Progress"

New from Oxford University Press: The Political Economy of Progress: John Stuart Mill and Modern Radicalism by Joseph Persky.

About the book, from the publisher:
While there had been much radical thought before John Stuart Mill, Joseph Persky argues it was Mill, as he moved to the left, who provided the radical wing of liberalism with its first serious analytical foundation, a political economy of progress that still echoes today. A rereading of Mill's mature work suggests his theoretical understanding of accumulation led him to see laissez-faire capitalism as a transitional system. Deeply committed to the egalitarian precepts of the Enlightenment, Mill advocated gradualism and rejected revolutionary expropriation on utilitarian grounds: gradualism, not expropriation, promised meaningful long-term gains for the working classes. He endorsed laissez-faire capitalism because his theory of accumulation saw that system approaching a stationary state characterized by a great reduction in inequality and an expansion of cooperative production. These tendencies, in combination with an aggressive reform agenda made possible by the extension of the franchise, promised to provide a material base for social progress and individual development. The Political Economy of Progress goes on to claim that Mill's radical political economy anticipated more than a little of Marx's analysis of capitalism and laid a foundation for the work of Fabians and other gradualist radicals in the 20th century. More recently, modern philosophic radicals, such as Rawls, have deep links to this Millean political economy. These links are still worthy of development. In particular, a politically meaningful acceptance of Rawls's radical liberalism waits on a movement capable of re-engineering the workplace in a manner consistent with Mill's endorsement of worker management.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 27, 2016


New from Yale University Press: Possession: The Curious History of Private Collectors from Antiquity to the Present by Erin L. Thompson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Whether it's the discovery of $1.6 billion in Nazi-looted art or the news that Syrian rebels are looting UNESCO archaeological sites to buy arms, art crime commands headlines. Erin Thompson, America's only professor of art crime, explores the dark history of looting, smuggling, and forgery that lies at the heart of many private art collections and many of the world's most renowned museums.

Enlivened by fascinating personalities and scandalous events, Possession shows how collecting antiquities has been a way of creating identity, informed by a desire to annex the past while providing an illicit thrill along the way. Thompson's accounts of history's most infamous collectors—from the Roman Emperor Tiberius, who stole a life-sized nude Greek statue for his bedroom, to Queen Christina of Sweden, who habitually pilfered small antiquities from her fellow aristocrats, to Sir William Hamilton, who forced his mistress to enact poses from his collection of Greek vases—are as mesmerizing as they are revealing.
Visit Erin L. Thompson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 26, 2016

"The Politics of Innovation"

New from Oxford University Press: The Politics of Innovation: Why Some Countries Are Better Than Others at Science and Technology by Mark Zachary Taylor.

About the book, from the publisher:
Why are some countries better than others at science and technology (S&T)? Written in an approachable style, The Politics of Innovation provides readers from all backgrounds and levels of expertise a comprehensive introduction to the debates over national S&T competitiveness. It synthesizes over fifty years of theory and research on national innovation rates, bringing together the current political and economic wisdom, and latest findings, about how nations become S&T leaders. Many experts mistakenly believe that domestic institutions and policies determine national innovation rates. However, after decades of research, there is still no agreement on precisely how this happens, exactly which institutions matter, and little aggregate evidence has been produced to support any particular explanation. Yet, despite these problems, a core faith in a relationship between domestic institutions and national innovation rates remains widely held and little challenged. The Politics of Innovation confronts head-on this contradiction between theory, evidence, and the popularity of the institutions-innovation hypothesis. It presents extensive evidence to show that domestic institutions and policies do not determine innovation rates. Instead, it argues that social networks are as important as institutions in determining national innovation rates. The Politics of Innovation also introduces a new theory of "creative insecurity" which explains how institutions, policies, and networks are all subservient to politics. It argues that, ultimately, each country's balance of domestic rivalries vs. external threats, and the ensuing political fights, are what drive S&T competitiveness. In making its case, The Politics of Innovation draws upon statistical analysis and comparative case studies of the United States, Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Turkey, Israel, Russia and a dozen countries across Western Europe.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

"Rogue Justice"

New from Crown: Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State by Karen J. Greenberg.

About the book, from the publisher:
The definitive account of how America’s War on Terror sparked a decade-long assault on the rule of law, weakening our courts and our Constitution in the name of national security.

The day after September 11, President Bush tasked the attorney general with preventing another terrorist attack on the United States. From that day forward, the Bush administration turned to the Department of Justice to give its imprimatur to activities that had previously been unthinkable—from the NSA’s spying on US citizens to indefinite detention to torture. Many of these activities were secretly authorized, others done in the light of day.

When President Obama took office, many observers expected a reversal of these encroachments upon civil liberties and justice, but the new administration found the rogue policies to be deeply entrenched and, at times, worth preserving. Obama ramped up targeted killings, held fast to aggressive surveillance policies, and fell short on bringing reform to detention and interrogation.

How did America veer so far from its founding principles of justice? Rogue Justice connects the dots for the first time—from the Patriot Act to today’s military commissions, from terrorism prosecutions to intelligence priorities, from the ACLU’s activism to Edward Snowden’s revelations. And it poses a stark question: Will the American justice system ever recover from the compromises it made for the war on terror?

Riveting and deeply reported, Rogue Justice could only have been written by Karen Greenberg, one of this country’s top experts on Guantánamo, torture, and terrorism, with a deep knowledge of both the Bush and Obama administrations. Now she brings to life the full story of law and policy after 9/11, introducing us to the key players and events, showing that time and again, when liberty and security have clashed, justice has been the victim.
Karen J. Greenberg is the Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University.

The Page 99 Test: The Least Worst Place.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

"The Rivers Ran Backward"

New from Oxford University Press: The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border by Christopher Phillips.

About the book, from the publisher:
Most Americans imagine the Civil War in terms of clear and defined boundaries of freedom and slavery: a straightforward division between the slave states of Kentucky and Missouri and the free states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kansas. However, residents of these western border states, Abraham Lincoln's home region, had far more ambiguous identities-and contested political loyalties-than we commonly assume.

In The Rivers Ran Backward, Christopher Phillips sheds light on the fluid political cultures of the "Middle Border" states during the Civil War era. Far from forming a fixed and static boundary between the North and South, the border states experienced fierce internal conflicts over their political and social loyalties. White supremacy and widespread support for the existence of slavery pervaded the "free" states of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, which had much closer economic and cultural ties to the South, while those in Kentucky and Missouri held little identification with the South except over slavery. Debates raged at every level, from the individual to the state, in parlors, churches, schools, and public meeting places, among families, neighbors, and friends. Ultimately, the pervasive violence of the Civil War and the cultural politics that raged in its aftermath proved to be the strongest determining factor in shaping these states' regional identities, leaving an indelible imprint on the way in which Americans think of themselves and others in the nation.

The Rivers Ran Backward reveals the complex history of the western border states as they struggled with questions of nationalism, racial politics, secession, neutrality, loyalty, and even place-as the Civil War tore the nation, and themselves, apart. In this major work, Phillips shows that the Civil War was more than a conflict pitting the North against the South, but one within the West that permanently reshaped American regions.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 23, 2016

"Northern Character"

New from Fordham University Press: Northern Character: College-Educated New Englanders, Honor, Nationalism, and Leadership in the Civil War Era by Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai.

About the book, from the publisher:
The elite young men who inhabited northern antebellum states—the New Brahmins—developed their leadership class identity based on the term “character”: an idealized internal standard of behavior consisting most importantly of educated, independent thought and selfless action. With its unique focus on Union honor, nationalism, and masculinity, Northern Character addresses the motivating factors of these young college-educated Yankees who rushed into the armed forces to take their place at the forefront of the Union’s war.

This social and intellectual history tells the New Brahmins’ story from the campus to the battlefield and, for the fortunate ones, home again. Northern Character examines how these good and moral “men of character” interacted with common soldiers and faced battle, reacted to seeing the South and real southerners, and approached race, Reconstruction, and Reconciliation.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 22, 2016

"Fall of the Sultanate"

New from Oxford University Press: Fall of the Sultanate: The Great War and the End of the Ottoman Empire, 1908-1922 by Ryan Gingeras.

About the book, from the publisher:
The collapse of the Ottoman Empire was by no means a singular event. After six hundred years of ruling over the peoples of North Africa, the Balkans and Middle East, the death throes of sultanate encompassed a series of wars, insurrections, and revolutions spanning the early twentieth century. This volume encompasses a full accounting of the political, economic, social, and international forces that brought about the passing of the Ottoman state. In surveying the many tragedies that transpired in the years between 1908 and 1922, Fall of the Sultanate explores the causes that eventually led so many to view the legacy of the Ottomans with loathing and resentment.

The volume provides a retelling of this critical history as seen through the eyes of those who lived through the Ottoman collapse. Drawing upon a large gamut of sources in multiple languages, Ryan Gingeras strikes a critical balance in presenting and interpreting the most impactful experiences that shaped the lives of the empire's last generation. The story presented here takes into account the perspectives of the empire's diverse population as well as the leaders who piloted the state to its end. In surveying the personal, communal, and national struggles that defined Italy's invasion of Libya, the Balkan War, the Great War, and the Turkish War of Independence, Fall of the Sultanate presents readers with a fresh and comprehensive exposition of how and why Ottoman imperial rule ended in bloodshed and disillusionment.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 21, 2016

"The Less You Know, The Better You Sleep"

New from Yale University Press: The Less You Know, The Better You Sleep: Russia's Road to Terror and Dictatorship under Yeltsin and Putin by David Satter.

About the book, from the publisher:
In December 2013, David Satter became the first American journalist to be expelled from Russia since the Cold War. The Moscow Times said it was not surprising he was expelled, “it was surprising it took so long.” Satter is known in Russia for having written that the apartment bombings in 1999, which were blamed on Chechens and brought Putin to power, were actually carried out by the Russian FSB security police.

In this book, Satter tells the story of the apartment bombings and how Boris Yeltsin presided over the criminalization of Russia, why Vladimir Putin was chosen as his sucessor, and how Putin has suppressed all opposition while retaining the appreance of a pluralist state. As the threat represented by Russia becomes increasingly clear, Satter’s description of where Russia is and how it got there will be of vital interest to anyone concerned about the dangers facing the world today.
The Page 99 Test: It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 20, 2016

"East West Street"

New from Knopf: East West Street: On the Origins of "Genocide" and "Crimes Against Humanity" by Philippe Sands.

About the book, from the publisher:
A profound and profoundly important book—a moving personal detective story, an uncovering of secret pasts, and a book that explores the creation and development of world-changing legal concepts that came about as a result of the unprecedented atrocities of Hitler’s Third Reich.

East West Street looks at the personal and intellectual evolution of the two men who simultaneously originated the ideas of “genocide” and “crimes against humanity,” both of whom, not knowing the other, studied at the same university with the same professors, in a city little known today that was a major cultural center of Europe, “the little Paris of Ukraine,” a city variously called Lemberg, Lwów, Lvov, or Lviv.

The book opens with the author being invited to give a lecture on genocide and crimes against humanity at Lviv University. Sands accepted the invitation with the intent of learning about the extraordinary city with its rich cultural and intellectual life, home to his maternal grandfather, a Galician Jew who had been born there a century before and who’d moved to Vienna at the outbreak of the First World War, married, had a child (the author’s mother), and who then had moved to Paris after the German annexation of Austria in 1938. It was a life that had been shrouded in secrecy, with many questions not to be asked and fewer answers offered if they were.

As the author uncovered, clue by clue, the deliberately obscured story of his grandfather’s mysterious life, and of his mother’s journey as a child surviving Nazi occupation, Sands searched further into the history of the city of Lemberg and realized that his own field of humanitarian law had been forged by two men—Rafael Lemkin and Hersch Lauterpacht—each of whom had studied law at Lviv University in the city of his grandfather’s birth, each considered to be the father of the modern human rights movement, and each, at parallel times, forging diametrically opposite, revolutionary concepts of humanitarian law that had changed the world.

In this extraordinary and resonant book, Sands looks at who these two very private men were, and at how and why, coming from similar Jewish backgrounds and the same city, studying at the same university, each developed the theory he did, showing how each man dedicated this period of his life to having his legal concept—“genocide” and “crimes against humanity”—as a centerpiece for the prosecution of Nazi war criminals.

And the author writes of a third man, Hans Frank, Hitler’s personal lawyer, a Nazi from the earliest days who had destroyed so many lives, friend of Richard Strauss, collector of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci. Frank oversaw the ghetto in Lemberg in Poland in August 1942, in which the entire large Jewish population of the area had been confined on penalty of death. Frank, who was instrumental in the construction of concentration camps nearby and, weeks after becoming governor general of Nazi-occupied Poland, ordered the transfer of 133,000 men, women, and children to the death camps.

Sands brilliantly writes of how all three men came together, in October 1945 in Nuremberg—Rafael Lemkin; Hersch Lauterpacht; and in the dock at the Palace of Justice, with the twenty other defendants of the Nazi high command, prisoner number 7, Hans Frank, who had overseen the extermination of more than a million Jews of Galicia and Lemberg, among them, the families of the author’s grandfather as well as those of Lemkin and Lauterpacht.

A book that changes the way we look at the world, at our understanding of history and how civilization has tried to cope with mass murder. Powerful; moving; tender; a revelation.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 19, 2016

"Morbid Symptoms"

New from Stanford University Press: Morbid Symptoms: Relapse in the Arab Uprising by Gilbert Achcar.

About the book, from the publisher:
Since the first wave of uprisings in 2011, the euphoria of the "Arab Spring" has given way to the gloom of backlash and a descent into mayhem and war. The revolution has been overwhelmed by clashes between rival counter-revolutionary forces: resilient old regimes on the one hand and Islamic fundamentalist contenders on the other.

In this eagerly awaited book, foremost Arab world and international affairs specialist Gilbert Achcar analyzes the factors of the regional relapse. Focusing on Syria and Egypt, Achcar assesses the present stage of the uprising and the main obstacles, both regional and international, that prevent any resolution. In Syria, the regime's brutality has fostered the rise of jihadist forces, among which the so-called Islamic State emerged as the most ruthless and powerful. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood's year in power was ultimately terminated by the contradictory conjunction of a second revolutionary wave and a bloody reactionary coup. Events in Syria and Egypt offer salient examples of a pattern of events happening across the Middle East.

Morbid Symptoms offers a timely analysis of the ongoing Arab uprising that will engage experts and general readers alike. Drawing on a unique combination of scholarly and political knowledge of the Arab region, Achcar argues that, short of radical social change, the region will not reach stability any time soon.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"The Culture of Food in England, 1200-1500"

New from Yale University Press: The Culture of Food in England, 1200-1500 by C.M. Woolgar.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this revelatory work of social history, C. M. Woolgar shows that food in late-medieval England was far more complex, varied, and more culturally significant than we imagine today. Drawing on a vast range of sources, he charts how emerging technologies as well as an influx of new flavors and trends from abroad had an impact on eating habits across the social spectrum. From the pauper’s bowl to elite tables, from early fad diets to the perceived moral superiority of certain foods, and from regional folk remedies to luxuries such as lampreys, Woolgar illuminates desire, necessity, daily rituals, and pleasure across four centuries.
C. M. Woolgar is professor of history and archival studies at the University of Southampton and editor of the Journal of Medieval History.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

"Peacemaking from Above, Peace from Below"

New from Cornell University Press: Peacemaking from Above, Peace from Below: Ending Conflict between Regional Rivals by Norrin M. Ripsman.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Peacemaking from Above, Peace from Below, Norrin M. Ripsman explains how regional rivals make peace and how outside actors can encourage regional peacemaking. Through a qualitative empirical analysis of all the regional rivalries that terminated in peace treaties in the twentieth century—including detailed case studies of the Franco-German, Egyptian-Israeli, and Israeli-Jordanian peace settlements—Ripsman concludes that efforts to encourage peacemaking that focus on changing the attitudes of the rival societies or democratizing the rival polities to enable societal input into security policy are unlikely to achieve peace.

Prior to a peace treaty, he finds, peacemaking is driven by states, often against intense societal opposition, for geostrategic reasons or to preserve domestic power. After a formal treaty has been concluded, the stability of peace depends on societal buy-in through mechanisms such as bilateral economic interdependence, democratization of former rivals, cooperative regional institutions, and transfers of population or territory. Society is largely irrelevant to the first stage but is critical to the second. He draws from this analysis a lesson for contemporary policy. Western governments and international organizations have invested heavily in efforts to promote Israeli-Palestinian and Indo-Pakistani peace by promoting democratic values, economic exchanges, and cultural contacts between the opponents. Such attempts to foster peace are likely to waste resources until such time as formal peace treaties are concluded between longtime adversaries.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 16, 2016

"In the Hegemon's Shadow"

New from Cornell University Press: In the Hegemon's Shadow: Leading States and the Rise of Regional Powers by Evan Braden Montgomery.

About the book, from the publisher:
The relationship between established powers and emerging powers is one of the most important topics in world politics. Nevertheless, few studies have investigated how the leading state in the international system responds to rising powers in peripheral regions—actors that are not yet and might never become great powers but that are still increasing their strength, extending their influence, and trying to reorder their corner of the world. In the Hegemon's Shadow fills this gap. Evan Braden Montgomery draws on different strands of realist theory to develop a novel framework that explains why leading states have accommodated some rising regional powers but opposed others.

Montgomery examines the interaction between two factors: the type of local order that a leading state prefers and the type of local power shift that appears to be taking place. The first captures a leading state's main interest in a peripheral region and serves as the baseline for its evaluation of any changes in the status quo. Would the leading state like to see a balance of power rather than a preponderance of power, does it favor primacy over parity instead, or is it impartial between these alternatives? The second indicates how a local power shift is likely to unfold. In particular, which regional order is an emerging power trying to create and does a leading state expect it to succeed? Montgomery tests his arguments by analyzing Great Britain’s efforts to manage the rise of Egypt, the Confederacy, and Japan during the nineteenth century and the United States’ efforts to manage the emergence of India and Iraq during the twentieth century.
Visit Evan Braden Montgomery's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 15, 2016

"Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640 by David Wheat.

About the book, from the publisher:
This work resituates the Spanish Caribbean as an extension of the Luso-African Atlantic world from the late sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth century, when the union of the Spanish and Portuguese crowns facilitated a surge in the transatlantic slave trade. After the catastrophic decline of Amerindian populations on the islands, two major African provenance zones, first Upper Guinea and then Angola, contributed forced migrant populations with distinct experiences to the Caribbean. They played a dynamic role in the social formation of early Spanish colonial society in the fortified port cities of Cartagena de Indias, Havana, Santo Domingo, and Panama City and their semirural hinterlands.

David Wheat is the first scholar to establish this early phase of the "Africanization" of the Spanish Caribbean two centuries before the rise of large-scale sugar plantations. With African migrants and their descendants comprising demographic majorities in core areas of Spanish settlement, Luso-Africans, Afro-Iberians, Latinized Africans, and free people of color acted more as colonists or settlers than as plantation slaves. These ethnically mixed and economically diversified societies constituted a region of overlapping Iberian and African worlds, while they made possible Spain's colonization of the Caribbean.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 14, 2016

"The Other Catholics"

New from Columbia University Press: The Other Catholics: Remaking America's Largest Religion by Julie Byrne.

About the book, from the publisher:
Independent Catholics are not formally connected to the pope in Rome. They practice apostolic succession, seven sacraments, and devotion to the saints. But without a pope, they can change quickly and experiment freely. Some affirm communion for the divorced, women's ordination, clerical marriage, and same-sex marriage. From their early-modern origins in the Netherlands to their contemporary proliferation in the United States, these "other Catholics" represent an unusually liberal, mobile, and creative version of America's largest religion.

In The Other Catholics, Julie Byrne shares the remarkable history and current activity of independent Catholics, who number at least two hundred communities and a million members across the United States. She focuses on the Church of Antioch, one of the first Catholic groups to ordain women in modern times. Through archival documents and interviews, Byrne tells the story of the unforgettable leaders and surprising influence of these understudied churches, which, when included in Catholic history, change the narrative arc and total shape of modern Catholicism. While Pope Francis fights to soften Roman doctrines with a pastoral touch and his fellow Roman bishops push back with equal passion, the independent Catholics continue to leap ahead of Roman reform, keeping key Catholic traditions but adding a progressive difference.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 13, 2016

"Making the Case"

New from Yale University Press: Making the Case: The Art of the Judicial Opinion by Paul W. Kahn.

About the book, from the publisher:
Writing in the tradition of Karl Llewellyn’s classic The Bramble Bush, Paul Kahn speaks in this book simultaneously to students and scholars. Drawing on thirty years of teaching experience, Kahn introduces students to the deep, narrative structure of the judicial opinion. Learning to read the opinion, the student learns the nature of legal argument. Thus Kahn’s exposition of the opinion simultaneously offers a theory of legal meaning that will be of great interest to scholars of law, humanities, and the social sciences. At the center of Kahn’s approach are ideas of narrative, persuasion, and self-government. His sweeping account of interpretation in law offers innovative views of the nature of authorship, the development and decline of doctrine, and the construction of facts.
Paul W. Kahn is Robert W. Winner Professor of Law and the Humanities and director of Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School. He is the author of many books, including Out of Eden: Adam and Eve and the Problem of Evil, and most recently, Finding Ourselves at the Movies and Political Theology.

The Page 69 Test: Out of Eden: Adam and Eve and the Problem of Evil.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 12, 2016

"The Soul of Pleasure"

New from Cornell University Press: The Soul of Pleasure: Sentiment and Sensation in Nineteenth-Century American Mass Entertainment by David Monod.

About the book, from the publisher:
Show business is today so essential to American culture it's hard to imagine a time when it was marginal. But as David Monod demonstrates, the appetite for amusements outside the home was not "natural": it developed slowly over the course of the nineteenth century. The Soul of Pleasure offers a new interpretation of how the taste for entertainment was cultivated. Monod focuses on the shifting connection between the people who built successful popular entertainments and the public who consumed them. Show people discovered that they had to adapt entertainment to the moral outlook of Americans, which they did by appealing to sentiment.

The Soul of Pleasure explores several controversial forms of popular culture—minstrel acts, burlesques, and saloon variety shows—and places them in the context of changing values and perceptions. Far from challenging respectability, Monod argues that entertainments reflected and transformed the audience's ideals. In the mid-nineteenth century, sentimentality not only infused performance styles and the content of shows but also altered the expectations of the theatergoing public. Sentimental entertainment depended on sensational effects that produced surprise, horror, and even gales of laughter. After the Civil War the sensational charge became more important than the sentimental bond, and new forms of entertainment gained in popularity and provided the foundations for vaudeville, America’s first mass entertainment. Ultimately, it was American entertainment’s variety that would provide the true soul of pleasure.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"When Movies Were Theater"

New from Columbia University Press: When Movies Were Theater: Architecture, Exhibition, and the Evolution of American Film by William Paul.

About the book, from the publisher:
There was a time when seeing a movie meant more than seeing a film. The theater itself shaped the very perception of events onscreen. This multilayered history tells the story of American film through the evolution of theater architecture and the surprisingly varied ways movies were shown, ranging from Edison's 1896 projections to the 1968 Cinerama premiere of Stanley Kubrick's 2001. The study matches distinct architectural forms to movie styles, showing how cinema's roots in theater influenced business practices, exhibition strategies, and film technologies.
William Paul is professor of film and media studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He is also the author of Laughing Screaming: Modern Hollywood Horror and Comedy and Ernst Lubitsch's American Comedy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"Religion, Art, and Money"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Religion, Art, and Money: Episcopalians and American Culture from the Civil War to the Great Depression by Peter W. Williams.

About the book, from the publisher:
This cultural history of mainline Protestantism and American cities--most notably, New York City--focuses on wealthy, urban Episcopalians and the influential ways they used their money. Peter W. Williams argues that such Episcopalians, many of them the country's most successful industrialists and financiers, left a deep and lasting mark on American urban culture. Their sense of public responsibility derived from a sacramental theology that gave credit to the material realm as a vehicle for religious experience and moral formation, and they came to be distinguished by their participation in major aesthetic and social welfare endeavors.

Williams traces how the church helped transmit a European-inflected artistic patronage that was adapted to the American scene by clergy and laity intent upon providing moral and aesthetic leadership for a society in flux. Episcopalian influence is most visible today in the churches, cathedrals, and elite boarding schools that stand in many cities and other locations, but Episcopalians also provided major support to the formation of stellar art collections, the performing arts, and the Arts and Crafts movement. Williams argues that Episcopalians thus helped smooth the way for acceptance of materiality in religious culture in a previously iconoclastic, Puritan-influenced society.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 9, 2016

"The Dancing Bees"

New from the University of Chicago Press: The Dancing Bees: Karl von Frisch and the Discovery of the Honeybee Language by Tania Munz.

About the book, from the publisher:
We think of bees as being among the busiest workers in the garden, admiring them for their productivity. But amid their buzzing, they are also great communicators—and unusual dancers. As Karl von Frisch (1886–1982) discovered during World War II, bees communicate the location of food sources to each other through complex circle and waggle dances. For centuries, beekeepers had observed these curious movements in hives, and others had speculated about the possibility of a bee language used to manage the work of the hive. But it took von Frisch to determine that the bees’ dances communicated precise information about the distance and direction of food sources. As Tania Munz shows in this exploration of von Frisch’s life and research, this important discovery came amid the tense circumstances of the Third Reich.

The Dancing Bees draws on previously unexplored archival sources in order to reveal von Frisch’s full story, including how the Nazi government in 1940 determined that he was one-quarter Jewish, revoked his teaching privileges, and sought to prevent him from working altogether until circumstances intervened. In the 1940s, bee populations throughout Europe were facing the devastating effects of a plague (just as they are today), and because the bees were essential to the pollination of crops, von Frisch’s research was deemed critical to maintaining the food supply of a nation at war. The bees, as von Frisch put it years later, saved his life. Munz not only explores von Frisch’s complicated career in the Third Reich, she looks closely at the legacy of his work and the later debates about the significance of the bee language and the science of animal communication.

This first in-depth biography of von Frisch paints a complex and nuanced portrait of a scientist at work under Nazi rule. The Dancing Bees will be welcomed by anyone seeking to better understand not only this chapter of the history of science but also the peculiar waggles of our garden visitors.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 8, 2016

"Junkyards, Gearheads, and Rust"

New from Johns Hopkins University Press: Junkyards, Gearheads, and Rust: Salvaging the Automotive Past by David N. Lucsko.

About the book, from the publisher:
What happens to automobiles after they are retired but before they are processed as scrap? In this fascinating history, David N. Lucsko takes readers on a tour of salvage yards and wrecked or otherwise out-of-service cars in the United States from the point of view of gearheads—the hot rodders, restoration hobbyists, street rodders, and classic car devotees who reuse, repurpose, and restore junked cars.

Junkyards, Gearheads, and Rust is a nuanced exploration of the business of dismantling wrecks and selling second-hand parts. It examines the reinterpretation of these cars and parts by artists as well as their restoration by enthusiasts. It also surveys the origin and evolution of gearhead-oriented yards that specialize in specific types of automobiles; dissects the material and emotional appeal of the salvage yard and its contents among enthusiasts; and examines how zoning and nuisance ordinances have affected both salvage businesses and hobbyists.

Lucsko concludes with an analysis of efforts during the last twenty-five years to hasten vehicular obsolescence at the expense of salvage yards, mechanics, and enthusiasts. By examining how cars are salvaged, repurposed, and restored, this book demonstrates that the history of the automobile is much more than a running catalog of showroom novelties.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 7, 2016

"Kīkā Kila"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Kīkā Kila: How the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Changed the Sound of Modern Music by John W. Troutman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Since the nineteenth century, the distinct tones of kīkā kila, the Hawaiian steel guitar, have defined the island sound. Here historian and steel guitarist John W. Troutman offers the instrument’s definitive history, from its discovery by a young Hawaiian royalist named Joseph Kekuku to its revolutionary influence on American and world music. During the early twentieth century, Hawaiian musicians traveled the globe, from tent shows in the Mississippi Delta, where they shaped the new sounds of country and the blues, to regal theaters and vaudeville stages in New York, Berlin, Kolkata, and beyond. In the process, Hawaiian guitarists recast the role of the guitar in modern life. But as Troutman explains, by the 1970s the instrument’s embrace and adoption overseas also worked to challenge its cultural legitimacy in the eyes of a new generation of Hawaiian musicians. As a consequence, the indigenous instrument nearly disappeared in its homeland.

Using rich musical and historical sources, including interviews with musicians and their descendants, Troutman provides the complete story of how this Native Hawaiian instrument transformed not only American music but the sounds of modern music throughout the world.
Visit John W. Troutman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 6, 2016

"Good Neighbors"

New from Princeton University Press: Good Neighbors: The Democracy of Everyday Life in America by Nancy L. Rosenblum.

About the book, from the publisher:
"Love thy neighbor" is an impossible exhortation. Good neighbors greet us on the street and do small favors, but neighbors also startle us with sounds at night and unleash their demons on us, they monitor and reproach us, and betray us to authorities. The moral principles prescribed for friendship, civil society, and democratic public life apply imperfectly to life around home, where we interact day to day without the formal institutions, rules of conduct, and means of enforcement that guide us in other settings.

In Good Neighbors, Nancy Rosenblum explores how encounters among neighbors create a democracy of everyday life, which has been with us since the beginning of American history and is expressed in settler, immigrant, and suburban narratives and in novels, poetry, and popular culture. During disasters, like Hurricane Katrina, the democracy of everyday life is a resource for neighbors who improvise rescue and care. Degraded, this framework can give way to betrayal by neighbors, as faced by the Japanese Americans interned during World War II, or to terrible violence such as the lynching of African Americans. Under extreme conditions the barest act of neighborliness is a bulwark against total ethical breakdown. The elements of the democracy of everyday life—reciprocity, speaking out, and "live and let live"—comprise a democratic ideal not reducible to public principles of justice or civic virtue, but it is no less important. The democracy of everyday life, Rosenblum argues, is the deep substrate of democracy in America and can be its saving remnant.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 5, 2016

"The Virgin Vote"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: The Virgin Vote: How Young Americans Made Democracy Social, Politics Personal, and Voting Popular in the Nineteenth Century by Jon Grinspan.

About the book, from the publisher:
There was a time when young people were the most passionate participants in American democracy. In the second half of the nineteenth century--as voter turnout reached unprecedented peaks--young people led the way, hollering, fighting, and flirting at massive midnight rallies. Parents trained their children to be “violent little partisans,” while politicians lobbied twenty-one-year-olds for their “virgin votes”—the first ballot cast upon reaching adulthood. In schoolhouses, saloons, and squares, young men and women proved that democracy is social and politics is personal, earning their adulthood by participating in public life.

Drawing on hundreds of diaries and letters of diverse young Americans--from barmaids to belles, sharecroppers to cowboys--this book explores how exuberant young people and scheming party bosses relied on each other from the 1840s to the turn of the twentieth century. It also explains why this era ended so dramatically and asks if aspects of that strange period might be useful today.

In a vivid evocation of this formative but forgotten world, Jon Grinspan recalls a time when struggling young citizens found identity and maturity in democracy.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

"The Unsettled Sector"

New from Stanford University Press: The Unsettled Sector: NGOs and the Cultivation of Democratic Citizenship in Rural Mexico by Analiese Richard.

About the book, from the publisher:
In late twentieth century Mexico, the NGO "boom" was hailed as an harbinger of social change and democratic transition, with NGOs poised to transform the relationship between states and civil society on a global scale. And yet, great as the expectations were for NGOs to empower the poor and disenfranchised, their work is rooted in much older civic and cultural traditions. Arguably, they are just as much an accomplice in neoliberal governance. Analiese Richard seeks to determine what the growth of NGOs means for the future of citizenship and activism in neoliberal democracies, where a widening chasm between rich and poor threatens democratic ideals and institutions.

Analyzing the growth of NGOs in Tulancingo, Hidalgo, from the 1970s to the present, The Unsettled Sector explores the NGOs' evolving network of relationships with donors, target communities, international partners, state agencies, and political actors. It reaches beyond the campesinos and farmlands of Tulancingo to make sense of the NGO as an institutional form. Richard argues that only if we see NGOs as they are—bridges between formal politics and public morality—can we understand the opportunities and limits for social solidarity and citizenship in an era of neoliberal retrenchment.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

"Us versus Them"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Us versus Them: The United States, Radical Islam, and the Rise of the Green Threat by Douglas Little.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this important new book, Douglas Little explores the political and cultural turmoil that led U.S. policy makers to shift their attention from containing the “Red Threat” of international communism to combating the “Green Threat” of radical Islam after 1989. Little analyzes America’s confrontation with Islamic extremism through the traditional ideological framework of “us versus them” that has historically pitted the United States against Native Americans, Mexicans, Asian immigrants, Nazis, and the Soviets.

The collapse of the Soviet Union seemed to signal that the doctrine of containment had served U.S. interests in the Middle East well, preserving Western access to Persian Gulf oil while protecting Israel and preventing communist subversion. Yet, although many Americans hoped that the end of the Cold War would enable the United States to redefine its diplomatic relationships in the Middle East and elsewhere, Little demonstrates that from Operation Desert Storm in 1991 to America’s battle against ISIS today, U.S. foreign policy has been governed by “us versus them” thinking, with Islamophobia supplanting the threats of yesteryear.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 2, 2016

"The Philosopher: A History in Six Types"

New from Princeton University Press: The Philosopher: A History in Six Types by Justin E. H. Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
What would the global history of philosophy look like if it were told not as a story of ideas but as a series of job descriptions—ones that might have been used to fill the position of philosopher at different times and places over the past 2,500 years? The Philosopher does just that, providing a new way of looking at the history of philosophy by bringing to life six kinds of figures who have occupied the role of philosopher in a wide range of societies around the world over the millennia—the Natural Philosopher, the Sage, the Gadfly, the Ascetic, the Mandarin, and the Courtier. The result is at once an unconventional introduction to the global history of philosophy and an original exploration of what philosophy has been—and perhaps could be again.

By uncovering forgotten or neglected philosophical job descriptions, the book reveals that philosophy is a universal activity, much broader—and more gender inclusive—than we normally think today. In doing so, The Philosopher challenges us to reconsider our idea of what philosophers can do and what counts as philosophy.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 1, 2016

"The Voyage of the Slave Ship Hare"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: The Voyage of the Slave Ship Hare: A Journey into Captivity from Sierra Leone to South Carolina by Sean M. Kelley.

About the book, from the publisher:
From 1754 to 1755, the slave ship Hare completed a journey from Newport, Rhode Island, to Sierra Leone and back to the United States—a journey that transformed more than seventy Africans into commodities, condemning some to death and the rest to a life of bondage in North America. In this engaging narrative, Sean Kelley painstakingly reconstructs this tumultuous voyage, detailing everything from the identities of the captain and crew to their wild encounters with inclement weather, slave traders, and near-mutiny. But most importantly, Kelley tracks the cohort of slaves aboard the Hare from their purchase in Africa to their sale in South Carolina. In tracing their complete journey, Kelley provides rare insight into the communal lives of slaves and sheds new light on the African diaspora and its influence on the formation of African American culture.

In this immersive exploration, Kelley connects the story of enslaved people in the United States to their origins in Africa as never before. Told uniquely from the perspective of one particular voyage, this book brings a slave ship’s journey to life, giving us one of the clearest views of the eighteenth-century slave trade.
--Marshal Zeringue