Monday, August 29, 2016

"Criminal Genius"

New from the University of California Press: Criminal Genius: A Portrait of High-IQ Offenders by James C. Oleson.

About the book, from the publisher:
For years, criminologists have studied the relationship between crime and below-average intelligence, concluding that offenders usually possess IQ scores of 8 to 10 points below those of nonoffenders. Little, however, is known about the criminal behavior of those with above-average IQ scores. This book provides some of the first empirical information about the self-reported crimes of people with genius-level IQ scores. Combining quantitative data from 72 different offenses with qualitative data from 44 follow-up interviews, James C. Oleson describes the nature of crime by offenders of high IQ thereby shedding light on a population often ignored in research and yet sensationalized by media.
James C. Oleson is Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of Auckland.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 28, 2016

"Insecure Majorities"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Insecure Majorities: Congress and the Perpetual Campaign by Frances E. Lee.

About the book, from the publisher:
As Democrats and Republicans continue to vie for political advantage, Congress remains paralyzed by partisan conflict. That the last two decades have seen some of the least productive Congresses in recent history is usually explained by the growing ideological gulf between the parties, but this explanation misses another fundamental factor influencing the dynamic. In contrast to politics through most of the twentieth century, the contemporary Democratic and Republican parties compete for control of Congress at relative parity, and this has dramatically changed the parties’ incentives and strategies in ways that have driven the contentious partisanship characteristic of contemporary American politics.

With Insecure Majorities, Frances E. Lee offers a controversial new perspective on the rise of congressional party conflict, showing how the shift in competitive circumstances has had a profound impact on how Democrats and Republicans interact. For nearly half a century, Democrats were the majority party, usually maintaining control of the presidency, the House, and the Senate. Republicans did not stand much chance of winning majority status, and Democrats could not conceive of losing it. Under such uncompetitive conditions, scant collective action was exerted by either party toward building or preserving a majority. Beginning in the 1980s, that changed, and most elections since have offered the prospect of a change of party control. Lee shows, through an impressive range of interviews and analysis, how competition for control of the government drives members of both parties to participate in actions that promote their own party’s image and undercut that of the opposition, including the perpetual hunt for issues that can score political points by putting the opposing party on the wrong side of public opinion. More often than not, this strategy stands in the way of productive bipartisan cooperation—and it is also unlikely to change as long as control of the government remains within reach for both parties.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 27, 2016

"Politicking and Emergent Media"

New from the the University of California Press: Politicking and Emergent Media: US Presidential Elections of the 1890s by Charles Musser.

About the book, from the publisher:
Presidential campaigns of the twenty-first century were not the first to mobilize an array of new media forms in efforts to gain electoral victory. In Politicking and Emergent Media, distinguished historian Charles Musser looks at four US presidential campaigns during the long 1890s (1888–1900) as Republicans and Democrats deployed a variety of media forms to promote their candidates and platforms. New York—the crucial swing state as well as the home of Wall Street, Tammany Hall, and prominent media industries—became the site of intense struggle as candidates argued over trade issues, currency standards, and a new overseas empire. If the city’s leading daily newspapers were mostly Democratic as the decade began, Republicans eagerly exploited alternative media opportunities. Using the stereopticon (a modernized magic lantern), they developed the first campaign documentaries. Soon they were exploiting motion pictures, the phonograph, and telephone in surprising and often successful ways. Brimming with rich historical details, Musser’s remarkable tale reveals the political forces driving the emergence of modern media.
Visit Charles Musser's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Poverty Industry"

New from New York University Press: The Poverty Industry: The Exploitation of America's Most Vulnerable Citizens by Daniel L. Hatcher.

About the book, from the publisher:
Government aid doesn’t always go where it’s supposed to. Foster care agencies team up with companies to take disability and survivor benefits from abused and neglected children. States and their revenue consultants use illusory schemes to siphon Medicaid funds intended for children and the poor into general state coffers. Child support payments for foster children and families on public assistance are converted into government revenue. And the poverty industry keeps expanding, leaving us with nursing homes and juvenile detention centers that sedate residents to reduce costs and maximize profit, local governments buying nursing homes to take the facilities’ federal aid while the elderly languish with poor care, and counties hiring companies to mine the poor for additional funds in modern day debtor’s prisons.

In The Poverty Industry, Daniel L. Hatcher shows us how state governments and their private industry partners are profiting from the social safety net, turning America’s most vulnerable populations into sources of revenue. The poverty industry is stealing billions in federal aid and other funds from impoverished families, abused and neglected children, and the disabled and elderly poor. As policy experts across the political spectrum debate how to best structure government assistance programs, a massive siphoning of the safety net is occurring behind the scenes.In the face of these abuses of power, Hatcher offers a road map for reforms to realign the practices of human service agencies with their intended purpose, to prevent the misuse of public taxpayer dollars, and to ensure that government aid truly gets to those in need.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 26, 2016

"Selling Hitler"

New from Oxford University Press: Selling Hitler: Propaganda and the Nazi Brand by Nicholas O'Shaughnessy.

About the book, from the publisher:
Hitler was one of the few politicians who understood that persuasion was everything, deployed to anchor an entire regime in the confections of imagery, rhetoric and dramaturgy. The Nazis pursued propaganda not just as a tool, an instrument of government, but also as the totality, the raison d'être, the medium through which power itself was exercised. Moreover, Nicholas O'Shaughnessy argues, Hitler, not Goebbels, was the prime mover in the propaganda regime of the Third Reich - its editor and first author.

Under the Reich everything was a propaganda medium, a building-block of public consciousness, from typography to communiqués, to architecture, to weapons design. There were groups to initiate rumours and groups to spread graffiti. Everything could be interrogated for its propaganda potential, every surface inscribed with polemical meaning, whether an enemy city's name, an historical epic or the poster on a neighbourhood wall. But Hitler was in no sense an innovator - his ideas were always second-hand. Rather his expertise was as a packager, fashioning from the accumulated mass of icons and ideas, the historic debris, the labyrinths and byways of the German mind, a modern and brilliant political show articulated through deftly managed symbols and rituals. The Reich would have been unthinkable without propaganda - it would not have been the Reich.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 25, 2016

"British Women of the Eastern Front"

New from Manchester University Press: British Women of the Eastern Front: War, Writing and Experience in Serbia and Russia, 1914-20 by Angela K. Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book explores the experiences of a range of women from the early days of 1914, through the big events of the war on the Eastern Front. Their diaries, letters, memoirs and journalism are used to investigate the extraordinary role played by British women during the fall of Serbia, the Russian Revolution and the final push, and their role in reconstruction following the Armistice. These women, and their writings, are examined through the multiple lenses of gender, nationality, patriotism, imperialism and legacy, but the book also tells the stories of individuals, and will appeal across audiences to students, researchers and general readers. This is the first book to examine the war in the East through the eyes of British women and as such makes an important contribution to First World War Studies.
Angela K. Smith is Associate Professor in English at Plymouth University.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Between Truth and Time"

New from Yale University Press: Between Truth and Time: A History of Soviet Central Television by Christine Elaine Evans.

About the book, from the publisher:
The first full-length, archive-based history of Soviet Central Television’s production and programming in the decades before perestroika

In the first full-length study of Soviet Central Television to draw extensively on archival sources, interviews, and television recordings, Evans challenges the idea that Soviet mass culture in the Brezhnev era was dull and formulaic. Tracing the emergence of play, conflict, and competition on Soviet news programs, serial films, and variety and game shows, Evans shows that Soviet Central Television’s most popular shows were experimental and creative, laying the groundwork for Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms and the post-Soviet media system.
Christine E. Evans is assistant professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"Samurai to Soldier"

New from Cornell University Press: Samurai to Soldier: Remaking Military Service in Nineteenth-Century Japan by D. Colin Jaundrill.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Samurai to Soldier, D. Colin Jaundrill rewrites the military history of nineteenth-century Japan. In fifty years spanning the collapse of the Tokugawa shogunate and the rise of the Meiji nation-state, conscripts supplanted warriors as Japan's principal arms-bearers. The most common version of this story suggests that the Meiji institution of compulsory military service was the foundation of Japan’s efforts to save itself from the imperial ambitions of the West and set the country on the path to great power status. Jaundrill argues, to the contrary, that the conscript army of the Meiji period was the culmination—and not the beginning—of a long process of experimentation with military organization and technology.

Jaundrill traces the radical changes to Japanese military institutions, as well as the on-field consequences of military reforms in his accounts of the Boshin War (1868–1869) and the Satsuma Rebellions of 1877. He shows how pre-1868 developments laid the foundations for the army that would secure Japan’s Asian empire.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"Jewish Salonica"

New from Stanford University Press: Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece by Devin Naar.

About the book, from the publisher:
Touted as the "Jerusalem of the Balkans," the Mediterranean port city of Salonica (Thessaloniki) was once home to the largest Sephardic Jewish community in the world. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the city's incorporation into Greece in 1912 provoked a major upheaval that compelled Salonica's Jews to reimagine their community and status as citizens of a nation-state. Jewish Salonica is the first book to tell the story of this tumultuous transition through the voices and perspectives of Salonican Jews as they forged a new place for themselves in Greek society.

Devin E. Naar traveled the globe, from New York to Salonica, Jerusalem, and Moscow, to excavate archives once confiscated by the Nazis. Written in Ladino, Greek, French, and Hebrew, these archives, combined with local newspapers, reveal how Salonica's Jews fashioned a new hybrid identity as Hellenic Jews during a period marked by rising nationalism and economic crisis as well as unprecedented Jewish cultural and political vibrancy. Salonica's Jews—Zionists, assimilationists, and socialists—reinvigorated their connection to the city and claimed it as their own until the Holocaust. Through the case of Salonica's Jews, Naar recovers the diverse experiences of a lost religious, linguistic, and national minority at the crossroads of Europe and the Middle East.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 22, 2016

"All Things Made New"

New from Oxford University Press: All Things Made New: The Reformation and Its Legacy by Diarmaid MacCulloch.

About the book, from the publisher:
The most profound characteristic of Western Europe in the Middle Ages was its cultural and religious unity, a unity secured by a common alignment with the Pope in Rome, and a common language - Latin - for worship and scholarship. The Reformation shattered that unity, and the consequences are still with us today. In All Things Made New, Diarmaid MacCulloch, author of the New York Times bestseller Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, examines not only the Reformation's impact across Europe, but also the Catholic Counter-Reformation and the special evolution of religion in England, revealing how one of the most turbulent, bloody, and transformational events in Western history has shaped modern society.

The Reformation may have launched a social revolution, MacCulloch argues, but it was not caused by social and economic forces, or even by a secular idea like nationalism; it sprang from a big idea about death, salvation, and the afterlife. This idea - that salvation was entirely in God's hands and there was nothing humans could do to alter his decision - ended the Catholic Church's monopoly in Europe and altered the trajectory of the entire future of the West.

By turns passionate, funny, meditative, and subversive, All Things Made New takes readers onto fascinating new ground, exploring the original conflicts of the Reformation and cutting through prejudices that continue to distort popular conceptions of a religious divide still with us after five centuries. This monumental work, from one of the most distinguished scholars of Christianity writing today, explores the ways in which historians have told the tale of the Reformation, why their interpretations have changed so dramatically over time, and ultimately, how the contested legacy of this revolution continues to impact the world today.
--Marshal Zeringue