Friday, September 30, 2016

"Hearts, Minds, Voices"

New from Oxford University Press: Hearts, Minds, Voices: US Cold War Public Diplomacy and the Formation of the Third World by Jason C. Parker.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Cold War superpowers endeavored mightily to "win hearts and minds" abroad through what came to be called public diplomacy. While many target audiences were on the conflict's original front-lines in Europe, the vast majority resided in areas in the throes of decolonization and experienced the Cold War as public diplomacy- as a media war for their allegiance rather than as violence. In these areas, superpower public diplomacy encountered volatile issues of race, empire, poverty, and decolonization-which intersected with the dynamics of the Cold War and with anti-imperialist currents. The challenge to US public diplomacy was acute. Jim Crow and Washington's European-imperial alliances were inseparable from the image of the United States and put American outreach unavoidably on the defensive.

Newly independent voices in the non-European world responded to this media war by launching public-diplomacy campaigns of their own. In addition to validating the strategic importance of public diplomacy, they articulated a different vision of the postwar world. Rejecting the superpowers' Cold War, they forged the "Third World project" around nonalignment, post-imperial economic development, and anti-colonial racial solidarity. In doing so, Jason C. Parker argues, the United States inadvertently helped to nurture the "Third World" as a transnational imagined community on the postwar global landscape.

Tracing US public diplomacy during the early years of the Cold War, Hearts, Minds, Voices narrates how US foreign policy engaged with and impacted the Global South and international history more broadly.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 29, 2016

"Blood and Progress"

New from Edinburgh University Press: Blood and Progress: Violence in Pursuit of Emancipation by Nick Hewlett.

About the book, from the publisher:
From ending the feudal order to struggling against colonial rule; from revolts against slavery to the Bolshevik, Chinese and Cuban revolutions; and from ending foreign occupations to civil wars to overthrow dictators, violent means are seen to justify the non-violent ends. 'Necessary violence' was taken for granted by revolutionaries inspired by Marx, Lenin, Mao and Castro, and countless others.

Nick Hewlett places the objectives of non-violence and peace centre-stage to give you a new understanding of violence in revolt. He argues that making the goal of a wholly peaceful society explicit makes an important difference to how we approach and understand violence in pursuit of emancipation.
Nick Hewlett is Professor of French Studies at the University of Warwick.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The World Reimagined"

New from Cambridge University Press: The World Reimagined: Americans and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century by Mark Philip Bradley.

About the book, from the publisher:
Concerns about rights in the United States have a long history, but the articulation of global human rights in the twentieth century was something altogether different. Global human rights offered individuals unprecedented guarantees beyond the nation for the protection of political, economic, social and cultural freedoms. The World Reimagined explores how these revolutionary developments first became believable to Americans in the 1940s and the 1970s through everyday vernaculars as they emerged in political and legal thought, photography, film, novels, memoirs and soundscapes. Together, they offered fundamentally novel ways for Americans to understand what it means to feel free, culminating in today's ubiquitous moral language of human rights. Set against a sweeping transnational canvas, the book presents a new history of how Americans thought and acted in the twentieth-century world.
Mark Philip Bradley is Bernadotte E. Schmidt Professor of History at the University of Chicago, where he also serves as the Faculty Director of the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights and Chair of the Committee on International Relations.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"Left Out"

New from Oxford University Press: Left Out: The Forgotten Tradition of Radical Publishing for Children in Britain 1910-1949 by Kimberley Reynolds.

About the book, from the publisher:
Left Out presents an alternative and corrective history of writing for children in the first half of the twentieth century. Between 1910 and 1949 a number of British publishers, writers, and illustrators included children's literature in their efforts to make Britain a progressive, egalitarian, and modern society. Some came from privileged backgrounds, others from the poorest parts of the poorest cities in the land; some belonged to the metropolitan intelligentsia or bohemia, others were working-class autodidacts, but all sought to use writing for children and young people to create activists, visionaries, and leaders among the rising generation.Together, they produced a significant number of both politically and aesthetically radical publications for children and young people. This "radical children's literature" was designed to ignite and underpin the work of making a new Britain for a new kind of Briton. While there are many dedicated studies of children's literature and childrens' writers working in other periods, the years 1910-1949 have previously received little critical attention. In this study, Kimberley Reynolds shows that the accepted characterization of interwar children's literature as retreatist, anti-modernist, and apolitical is too sweeping and that the relationship between children's literature and modernism, left-wing politics, and progressive education has been neglected.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Heart of the Declaration"

New from Yale University Press: The Heart of the Declaration: The Founders’ Case for an Activist Government by Steve Pincus.

About the book, from the publisher:
An eye-opening, meticulously researched new perspective on the influences that shaped the Founders as well as the nation's founding document

From one election cycle to the next, a defining question continues to divide the country’s political parties: Should the government play a major or a minor role in the lives of American citizens? The Declaration of Independence has long been invoked as a philosophical treatise in favor of limited government. Yet the bulk of the document is a discussion of policy, in which the Founders outlined the failures of the British imperial government. Above all, they declared, the British state since 1760 had done too little to promote the prosperity of its American subjects. Looking beyond the Declaration’s frequently cited opening paragraphs, Steve Pincus reveals how the document is actually a blueprint for a government with extensive powers to promote and protect the people’s welfare. By examining the Declaration in the context of British imperial debates, Pincus offers a nuanced portrait of the Founders’ intentions with profound political implications for today.
The Page 99 Test: 1688: The First Modern Revolution.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"Unclear Physics"

New from Cornell University Press: Unclear Physics: Why Iraq and Libya Failed to Build Nuclear Weapons by Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer.

About the book, from the publisher:
Many authoritarian leaders want nuclear weapons, but few manage to acquire them. Autocrats seeking nuclear weapons fail in different ways and to varying degrees—Iraq almost managed it; Libya did not come close. In Unclear Physics, Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer compares the two failed nuclear weapons programs, showing that state capacity played a crucial role in the trajectory and outcomes of both projects. Braut-Hegghammer draws on a rich set of new primary sources, collected during years of research in archives, fieldwork across the Middle East, and interviews with scientists and decision makers from both states. She gained access to documents and individuals that no other researcher has been able to consult. Her book tells the story of the Iraqi and Libyan programs from their origins in the late 1950s and 1960s until their dismantling.

This book reveals contemporary perspectives from scientists and regime officials on the opportunities and challenges facing each project. Many of the findings challenge the conventional wisdom about clandestine weapons programs in closed authoritarian states and their prospects of success or failure. Braut-Hegghammer suggests that scholars and analysts ought to pay closer attention to how state capacity affects nuclear weapons programs in other authoritarian regimes, both in terms of questioning the actual control these leaders have over their nuclear weapons programs and the capability of their scientists to solve complex technical challenges.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 26, 2016

"Village Atheists"

New from Princeton University Press: Village Atheists: How America's Unbelievers Made Their Way in a Godly Nation by Leigh Eric Schmidt.

About the book, from the publisher:
A much-maligned minority throughout American history, atheists have been cast as a threat to the nation’s moral fabric, barred from holding public office, and branded as irreligious misfits in a nation chosen by God. Yet, village atheists—as these godless freethinkers came to be known by the close of the nineteenth century—were also hailed for their gutsy dissent from stultifying pieties and for posing a necessary secularist challenge to majoritarian entanglements of church and state. Village Atheists explores the complex cultural terrain that unbelievers have long had to navigate in their fight to secure equal rights and liberties in American public life.

Leigh Eric Schmidt rebuilds the history of American secularism from the ground up, giving flesh and blood to these outspoken infidels, including itinerant lecturer Samuel Porter Putnam; rough-edged cartoonist Watson Heston; convicted blasphemer Charles B. Reynolds; and atheist sex reformer Elmina D. Slenker. He describes their everyday confrontations with devout neighbors and evangelical ministers, their strained efforts at civility alongside their urge to ridicule and offend their Christian compatriots. Schmidt examines the multilayered world of social exclusion, legal jeopardy, yet also civic acceptance in which American atheists and secularists lived. He shows how it was only in the middle decades of the twentieth century that nonbelievers attained a measure of legal vindication, yet even then they often found themselves marginalized on the edges of a God-trusting, Bible-believing nation.

Village Atheists reveals how the secularist vision for the United States proved to be anything but triumphant and age-defining for a country where faith and citizenship were—and still are—routinely interwoven.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 25, 2016

"God and the Green Divide"

New from the University of California Press: God and the Green Divide: Religious Environmentalism in Black and White by Amanda J. Baugh.

About the book, from the publisher:
American environmentalism historically has been associated with the interests of white elites. Yet religious leaders in the twenty-first century have helped instill concern about the earth among groups diverse in religion, race, ethnicity, and class. How did that happen and what are the implications? Building on scholarship that provides theological and ethical resources to support the “greening” of religion, God and the Green Divide examines religious environmentalism as it actually happens in the daily lives of urban Americans. Baugh demonstrates how complex dynamics related to race, ethnicity, and class factor into decisions to “go green.” By carefully examining negotiations of racial and ethnic identities as central to the history of religious environmentalism, this work complicates assumptions that religious environmentalism is a direct expression of theology, ethics, or religious beliefs.
Amanda Baugh is Assistant Professor of Religion and Environment at California State University, Northridge.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 24, 2016

"John Adams and the Fear of American Oligarchy"

New from Princeton University Press: John Adams and the Fear of American Oligarchy by Luke Mayville.

About the book, from the publisher:
Long before “the one percent” became a protest slogan, American founding father John Adams feared the power of a class he called simply “the few”—the wellborn, the beautiful, and especially the rich. In John Adams and the Fear of American Oligarchy, Luke Mayville presents the first extended exploration of Adams’s preoccupation with a problem that has a renewed urgency today: the way in which inequality threatens to corrode democracy and empower a small elite. By revisiting Adams’s political writings, Mayville draws out the statesman’s fears about the danger of oligarchy in America and his unique understanding of the political power of wealth—a surprising and largely forgotten theory that promises to illuminate today’s debates about inequality and its political consequences.

Adams believed that wealth is politically powerful in modern societies not merely because money buys influence, but also because citizens admire and even sympathize with the rich. He thought wealth is powerful in the same way that beauty is powerful—it distinguishes its possessor and prompts reactions of approval and veneration. Citizens vote for—and with—the rich not because, as is often said, they hope to be rich one day, but because they esteem the rich and submit to their wishes. Mayville explores Adams’s theory of wealth and power in the context of his broader concern about social and economic inequality, and also examines his ideas about how oligarchy might be countered.

A compelling work of intellectual history, John Adams and the Fear of American Oligarchy also has important lessons for today’s world of increasing inequality.
Visit Luke Mayville's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 23, 2016

"Money, Power, and Influence in Eighteenth-Century Lithuania"

New from Stanford University Press: Money, Power, and Influence in Eighteenth-Century Lithuania: The Jews on the Radziwill Estates by Adam Teller.

About the book, from the publisher:
It has often been claimed that Jews have a penchant for capitalism and capitalist economic activity. With this book, Adam Teller challenges that assumption. Examining how Jews achieved their extraordinary success within the late feudal economy of the eighteenth-century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, he shows that economic success did not necessarily come through any innate entrepreneurial skills, but through identifying and exploiting economic niches in the pre-modern economy—in particular, the monopoly on the sale of grain alcohol.

Jewish economic activity was a key factor in the development of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and it greatly enhanced the incomes, and thereby the social and political status, of the noble magnates, including the powerful Radziwiłł family. In turn, with the magnate's backing, Jews were able to leverage their own economic success into high status in estate society. Over time, relations within Jewish society began to change, putting less value on learning and pedigree and more on wealth and connections with the estate owners.

This groundbreaking book exemplifies how the study of Jewish economic history can shed light on a crucial mechanism of Jewish social integration. In the Polish-Lithuanian setting, Jews were simultaneously a despised religious minority and key economic players, with a consequent standing that few could afford to ignore.
--Marshal Zeringue