Thursday, November 27, 2014

"The Hundred Years War: A People's History"

New from Yale University Press: The Hundred Years War: A People's History by David Green.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Hundred Years War (1337–1453) dominated life in England and France for well over a century. It became the defining feature of existence for generations. This sweeping book is the first to tell the human story of the longest military conflict in history. Historian David Green focuses on the ways the war affected different groups, among them knights, clerics, women, peasants, soldiers, peacemakers, and kings. He also explores how the long war altered governance in England and France and reshaped peoples’ perceptions of themselves and of their national character.

Using the events of the war as a narrative thread, Green illuminates the realities of battle and the conditions of those compelled to live in occupied territory; the roles played by clergy and their shifting loyalties to king and pope; and the influence of the war on developing notions of government, literacy, and education. Peopled with vivid and well-known characters—Henry V, Joan of Arc, Philippe the Good of Burgundy, Edward the Black Prince, John the Blind of Bohemia, and many others—as well as a host of ordinary individuals who were drawn into the struggle, this absorbing book reveals for the first time not only the Hundred Years War’s impact on warfare, institutions, and nations, but also its true human cost.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"Being German, Becoming Muslim"

New from Princeton University Press: Being German, Becoming Muslim: Race, Religion, and Conversion in the New Europe by Esra Özyürek.

About the book, from the publisher:
Every year more and more Europeans, including Germans, are embracing Islam. It is estimated that there are now up to one hundred thousand German converts—a number similar to that in France and the United Kingdom. What stands out about recent conversions is that they take place at a time when Islam is increasingly seen as contrary to European values. Being German, Becoming Muslim explores how Germans come to Islam within this antagonistic climate, how they manage to balance their love for Islam with their society’s fear of it, how they relate to immigrant Muslims, and how they shape debates about race, religion, and belonging in today’s Europe.

Esra Özyürek looks at how mainstream society marginalizes converts and questions their national loyalties. In turn, converts try to disassociate themselves from migrants of Muslim-majority countries and promote a denationalized Islam untainted by Turkish or Arab traditions. Some German Muslims believe that once cleansed of these accretions, the Islam that surfaces fits in well with German values and lifestyle. Others even argue that being a German Muslim is wholly compatible with the older values of the German Enlightenment.

Being German, Becoming Muslim provides a fresh window into the connections and tensions stemming from a growing religious phenomenon in Germany and beyond.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"The Political Spirituality of Cesar Chavez"

New from the University of California Press: The Political Spirituality of Cesar Chavez: Crossing Religious Borders by Luís D. León.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Political Spirituality of Cesar Chavez: Crossing Religious Borders maps and challenges many of the mythologies that surround the late iconic labor leader. Focusing on Chavez's own writings, León argues that La Causa can be fruitfully understood as a quasi-religious movement based on Chavez’s charismatic leadership, which he modeled after Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi. Chavez recognized that spiritual prophecy, or political spirituality, was the key to disrupting centuries-old dehumanizing narratives that conflated religion with race. Chavez’s body became emblematic for Chicano identity and enfleshed a living revolution. While there is much debate and truth-seeking around how he is remembered, through investigating the leader’s construction of his own public memory, the author probes the meaning of the discrepancies. By refocusing Chavez's life and beliefs into three broad movements—mythology, prophecy, and religion—León brings us a moral and spiritual agent to match the political leader.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 24, 2014

"Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics"

New from Princeton University Press: Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics by Marie Gottschalk.

About the book, from the publisher:
The huge prison buildup of the past four decades has few defenders today, yet reforms to reduce the number of people in U.S. jails and prisons have been remarkably modest. Meanwhile, a carceral state has sprouted in the shadows of mass imprisonment, extending its reach far beyond the prison gate. It includes not only the country’s vast archipelago of jails and prisons but also the growing range of penal punishments and controls that lie in the never-never land between prison and full citizenship, from probation and parole to immigrant detention, felon disenfranchisement, and extensive lifetime restrictions on sex offenders. As it sunders families and communities and reworks conceptions of democracy, rights, and citizenship, this ever-widening carceral state poses a formidable political and social challenge.

In this book, Marie Gottschalk examines why the carceral state, with its growing number of outcasts, remains so tenacious in the United States. She analyzes the shortcomings of the two dominant penal reform strategies—one focused on addressing racial disparities, the other on seeking bipartisan, race-neutral solutions centered on reentry, justice reinvestment, and reducing recidivism.

In this bracing appraisal of the politics of penal reform, Gottschalk exposes the broader pathologies in American politics that are preventing the country from solving its most pressing problems, including the stranglehold that neoliberalism exerts on public policy. She concludes by sketching out a promising alternative path to begin dismantling the carceral state.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 23, 2014

"Artists Under Hitler"

New from Yale University Press: Artists Under Hitler: Collaboration and Survival in Nazi Germany by Jonathan Petropoulos.

About the book, from the publisher:
“What are we to make of those cultural figures, many with significant international reputations, who tried to find accommodation with the Nazi regime?” Jonathan Petropoulos asks in this exploration of some of the most acute moral questions of the Third Reich. In his nuanced analysis of prominent German artists, architects, composers, film directors, painters, and writers who rejected exile, choosing instead to stay during Germany’s darkest period, Petropoulos shows how individuals variously dealt with the regime’s public opposition to modern art. His findings explode the myth that all modern artists were anti-Nazi and all Nazis anti-modernist.

Artists Under Hitler closely examines cases of artists who failed in their attempts to find accommodation with the Nazi regime (Walter Gropius, Paul Hindemith, Gottfried Benn, Ernst Barlach, Emil Nolde) as well as others whose desire for official acceptance was realized (Richard Strauss, Gustaf Gründgens, Leni Riefenstahl, Arno Breker, Albert Speer). Collectively these ten figures illuminate the complex cultural history of Nazi Germany, while individually they provide haunting portraits of people facing excruciating choices and grave moral questions.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 22, 2014

"Broad Is My Native Land"

New from Cornell University Press: Broad Is My Native Land: Repertoires and Regimes of Migration in Russia's Twentieth Century by Lewis H. Siegelbaum and Leslie Page Moch.

About the book, from the publisher:
Whether voluntary or coerced, hopeful or desperate, people moved in unprecedented numbers across Russia's vast territory during the twentieth century. Broad Is My Native Land is the first history of late imperial, Soviet, and post-Soviet Russia through the lens of migration. Lewis H. Siegelbaum and Leslie Page Moch tell the stories of Russians on the move, capturing the rich variety of their experiences by distinguishing among categories of migrants—settlers, seasonal workers, migrants to the city, career and military migrants, evacuees and refugees, deportees, and itinerants. So vast and diverse was Russian political space that in their journeys, migrants often crossed multiple cultural, linguistic, and administrative borders. By comparing the institutions and experiences of migration across the century and placing Russia in an international context, Siegelbaum and Moch have made a magisterial contribution to both the history of Russia and the study of global migration.

The authors draw on three kinds of sources: letters to authorities (typically appeals for assistance); the myriad forms employed in communication about the provision of transportation, food, accommodation, and employment for migrants; and interviews with and memoirs by people who moved or were moved, often under the most harrowing of circumstances. Taken together, these sources reveal the complex relationship between the regimes of state control that sought to regulate internal movement and the tactical repertoires employed by the migrants themselves in their often successful attempts to manipulate, resist, and survive these official directives.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 21, 2014

"Abortion Politics, Mass Media, and Social Movements in America"

New from Cambridge University Press: Abortion Politics, Mass Media, and Social Movements in America by Deana A. Rohlinger.

About the book, from the publisher:
Weaving together analyses of archival material, news coverage, and interviews conducted with journalists from mainstream and partisan outlets as well as with activists across the political spectrum, Deana A. Rohlinger reimagines how activists use a variety of mediums, sometimes simultaneously, to agitate for – and against – legal abortion. Rohlinger's in-depth portraits of four groups – the National Right to Life Committee, Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women, and Concerned Women for America – illuminates when groups use media and why they might choose to avoid media attention altogether. Rohlinger expertly reveals why some activist groups are more desperate than others to attract media attention and sheds light on what this means for policy making and legal abortion in the twenty-first century.
Deana A. Rohlinger is an associate professor in the department of sociology and a research associate at the Pepper Institute of Aging and Public Policy at Florida State University.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 20, 2014

"Material Goods, Moving Hands"

New from Manchester University Press: Material Goods, Moving Hands: Perceiving Production in England, 1700-1830 by Kate Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
In eighteenth-century Britain, greater numbers of people entered the marketplace and bought objects in ever-greater quantities. As consumers rather than producers, how did their understandings of manufacturing processes and the material world change? Material goods and moving hands combines material culture and visual culture approaches to explore the different ways in which manufacturers and retailers presented production to consumers during the eighteenth century. It shows how new relationships with production processes encouraged consumers, retailers, designers, manufacturers and workers to develop conflicting understandings of production. Objects then were not just markers of fashion and taste, they acted as important conduits through which people living in Georgian Britain could examine and discuss their material world and the processes and knowledge that rendered it.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Robust Ethics"

New from Oxford University Press: Robust Ethics: The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Godless Normative Realism by Erik J. Wielenberg.

About the book, from the publisher:
Erik J. Wielenberg draws on recent work in analytic philosophy and empirical moral psychology to defend non-theistic robust normative realism and develop an empirically-grounded account of human moral knowledge. Non-theistic robust normative realism has it that there are objective, non-natural, sui generis ethical features of the universe that do not depend on God for their existence. The early chapters of the book address various challenges to the intelligibility and plausibility of the claim that irreducible ethical features of things supervene on their non-ethical features as well as challenges from defenders of theistic ethics who argue that objective morality requires a theistic foundation. Later chapters develop an account of moral knowledge and answer various recent purported debunkings of morality, including those based on scientific research into the nature of the proximate causes of human moral beliefs as well as those based on proposed evolutionary explanations of our moral beliefs.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"Confronting Political Islam"

New from Princeton University Press: Confronting Political Islam: Six Lessons from the West's Past by John M. Owen IV.

About the book, from the publisher:
How should the Western world today respond to the challenges of political Islam? Taking an original approach to answer this question, Confronting Political Islam compares Islamism’s struggle with secularism to other prolonged ideological clashes in Western history. By examining the past conflicts that have torn Europe and the Americas—and how they have been supported by underground networks, fomented radicalism and revolution, and triggered foreign interventions and international conflicts—John Owen draws six major lessons to demonstrate that much of what we think about political Islam is wrong.

Owen focuses on the origins and dynamics of twentieth-century struggles among Communism, Fascism, and liberal democracy; the late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century contests between monarchism and republicanism; and the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century wars of religion between Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, and others. Owen then applies principles learned from the successes and mistakes of governments during these conflicts to the contemporary debates embroiling the Middle East. He concludes that ideological struggles last longer than most people presume; ideologies are not monolithic; foreign interventions are the norm; a state may be both rational and ideological; an ideology wins when states that exemplify it outperform other states across a range of measures; and the ideology that wins may be a surprise.

Looking at the history of the Western world itself and the fraught questions over how societies should be ordered, Confronting Political Islam upends some of the conventional wisdom about the current upheavals in the Muslim world.
Visit John M. Owen IV's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Clash of Ideas in World Politics.

--Marshal Zeringue