Friday, November 27, 2015

"The Murder of King James I"

New from Yale University Press: The Murder of King James I by Alastair Bellany and Thomas Cogswell.

About the book, from the publisher:
A year after the death of James I in 1625, a sensational pamphlet accused the Duke of Buckingham of murdering the king. It was an allegation that would haunt English politics for nearly forty years. In this exhaustively researched new book, two leading scholars of the era, Alastair Bellany and Thomas Cogswell, uncover the untold story of how a secret history of courtly poisoning shaped and reflected the political conflicts that would eventually plunge the British Isles into civil war and revolution. Illuminating many hitherto obscure aspects of early modern political culture, this eagerly anticipated work is both a fascinating story of political intrigue and a major exploration of the forces that destroyed the Stuart monarchy.
Alastair Bellany is associate professor of history at Rutgers University and the author of The Politics of Court Scandal in Early Modern England. Thomas Cogswell is professor of history at UC Riverside. His books include The Blessed Revolution: English Politics and the Coming of War, 1621-1624.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 26, 2015

"Speer: Hitler's Architect"

New from Yale University Press: Speer: Hitler's Architect by Martin Kitchen.

About the book, from the publisher:
In his best-selling autobiography, Albert Speer, Minister of Armaments and chief architect of Nazi Germany, repeatedly insisted he knew nothing of the genocidal crimes of Hitler’s Third Reich. In this revealing new biography, author Martin Kitchen disputes Speer’s lifelong assertions of ignorance and innocence, portraying a far darker figure who was deeply implicated in the appalling crimes committed by the regime he served so well.

Kitchen reconstructs Speer’s life with what we now know, including information from valuable new sources that have come to light only in recent years, challenging the portrait presented by earlier biographers and by Speer himself of a cultured technocrat devoted to his country while completely uninvolved in Nazi politics and crimes. The result is the first truly serious accounting of the man, his beliefs, and his actions during one of the darkest epochs in modern history, not only countering Speer’s claims of non-culpability but also disputing the commonly held misconception that it was his unique genius alone that kept the German military armed and fighting long after its defeat was inevitable.
The Page 99 Test: Rommel's Desert War.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Building an Authoritarian Polity"

New from Cambridge University Press: Building an Authoritarian Polity: Russia in Post-Soviet Times by Graeme Gill.

About the book, from the publisher:
Graeme Gill shows why post-Soviet Russia has failed to achieve the democratic outcome widely expected at the time of the fall of the Soviet Union, instead emerging as an authoritarian polity. He argues that the decisions of dominant elites have been central to the construction of an authoritarian polity, and explains how this occurred in four areas of regime-building: the relationship with the populace, the manipulation of the electoral system, the internal structure of the regime itself, and the way the political elite has been stabilised. Instead of the common 'Yeltsin is a democrat, Putin an autocrat' paradigm, this book shows how Putin built upon the foundations that Yeltsin had laid. It offers a new framework for the study of an authoritarian political system, and is therefore relevant not just to Russia but to many other authoritarian polities.
Graeme Gill is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"Religious Persecution and Political Order in the United States"

New from Cambridge University Press: Religious Persecution and Political Order in the United States by David T. Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
Religious freedom is a foundational value of the United States, but not all religious minorities have been shielded from religious persecution in America. This book examines why the state has acted to protect some religious minorities while allowing others to be persecuted or actively persecuting them. It details the persecution experiences of Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Catholics, Jews, the Nation of Islam, and orthodox Muslims in America, developing a theory for why the state intervened to protect some but not others. The book argues that the state will persecute religious minorities if state actors consider them a threat to political order, but they will protect religious minorities if they believe persecution is a greater threat to political order. From the beginning of the republic to after 9/11, religious freedom in America has depended on the state's perception of political threats.
David T. Smith is jointly appointed in the United States Studies Centre and the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"The Devil's Chain"

New from Cornell University Press: The Devil's Chain: Prostitution and Social Control in Partitioned Poland by Keely Stauter-Halsted.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the half-century before Poland's long-awaited political independence in 1918, anxiety surrounding the country's burgeoning sex industry fueled nearly constant public debate. The Devil’s Chain is the first book to examine the world of commercial sex throughout the partitioned Polish territories, uncovering a previously hidden conversation about sexuality, gender propriety, and social class. Keely Stauter-Halsted situates the preoccupation with prostitution in the context of Poland’s struggle for political independence and its difficult transition to modernity. She traces the Poles’ growing anxiety about white slavery, venereal disease, and eugenics by examining the regulation of the female body, the rise of medical authority, and the role of social reformers in addressing the problem of paid sex.

Stauter-Halsted argues that the sale of sex was positioned at the juncture of mass and elite cultures, affecting nearly every aspect of urban life and bringing together sharply divergent social classes in what had long been a radically stratified society. She captures the experiences of the impoverished women who turned to the streets and draws a vivid picture of the social milieu that shaped their choices. The Devil’s Chain demonstrates that discussions of prostitution and its attendant disorders—sexual deviancy, alcoholism, child abuse, vagrancy, and other related problems—reflected differing visions for the future of the Polish nation.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Paradise and Hell in Islamic Traditions"

New from Cambridge University Press: Paradise and Hell in Islamic Traditions by Christian Lange.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Muslim afterworld, with its imagery rich in sensual promises, has shaped Western perceptions of Islam for centuries. However, to date, no single study has done justice to the full spectrum of traditions of thinking about the topic in Islamic history. The Muslim hell, in particular, remains a little studied subject. This book, which is based on a wide array of carefully selected Arabic and Persian texts, covers not only the theological and exegetical but also the philosophical, mystical, topographical, architectural and ritual aspects of the Muslim belief in paradise and hell, in both the Sunni and the Shiʿi world. By examining a broad range of sources related to the afterlife, Christian Lange shows that Muslim religious literature, against transcendentalist assumptions to the contrary, often pictures the boundary between this world and the otherworld as being remarkably thin, or even permeable.
Christian Lange is Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Utrecht University.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 23, 2015

"Russian Hajj"

New from Cornell University Press: Russian Hajj: Empire and the Pilgrimage to Mecca by Eileen Kane.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the late nineteenth century, as a consequence of imperial conquest and a mobility revolution, Russia became a crossroads of the hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. The first book in any language on the hajj under tsarist and Soviet rule, Russian Hajj tells the story of how tsarist officials struggled to control and co-opt Russia's mass hajj traffic, seeing it not only as a liability, but also an opportunity. To support the hajj as a matter of state surveillance and control was controversial, given the preeminent position of the Orthodox Church. But nor could the hajj be ignored, or banned, due to Russia's policy of toleration of Islam. As a cross-border, migratory phenomenon, the hajj stoked officials’ fears of infectious disease, Islamic revolt, and interethnic conflict, but Kane innovatively argues that it also generated new thinking within the government about the utility of the empire’s Muslims and their global networks.

Russian Hajj reveals for the first time Russia’s sprawling international hajj infrastructure, complete with lodging houses, consulates, "Hejaz steamships," and direct rail service. In a story meticulously reconstructed from scattered fragments, ranging from archival documents and hajj memoirs to Turkic-language newspapers, Kane argues that Russia built its hajj infrastructure not simply to control and limit the pilgrimage, as previous scholars have argued, but to channel it to benefit the state and empire. Russian patronage of the hajj was also about capitalizing on human mobility to capture new revenues for the state and its transport companies and laying claim to Islamic networks to justify Russian expansion.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Cultural Politics of European Prostitution Reform"

New from Palgrave Macmillan: The Cultural Politics of European Prostitution Reform: Governing Loose Women by Greggor Mattson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Between 1998 and 2004, eleven out of the fifteen parliaments of the European Union (EU) countries debated whether to regulate prostitution at the national level, something that had, until then, been regulated by cities. Fears about globalization and the transfer of sovereignty to the EU created a context in which nations asserted themselves by imposing national standards to protect vulnerable women, strengthening states in the face of "global" pressures. Prostitution reforms allowed governments to apprehend women who are "loose" in the sense that they lack formal or clear connections to state benefits, national labor markets, or international human rights protections. Case studies of the first four EU countries that reformed prostitution, The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, and Finland, are told through ninety in-depth interviews with people who helped craft, implement, or enforce new prostitution policies. Departing from previous accounts that stress the differences within these debates, The Cultural Politics of European Prostitution Reform instead analyzes their commonalities, foregrounding the increasing moral power of the state in a globalizing world and the endurance of national cultural difference.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 22, 2015

"Pirate Nests and the Rise of the British Empire, 1570-1740"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Pirate Nests and the Rise of the British Empire, 1570-1740 by Mark G. Hanna.

About the book, from the publisher:
Analyzing the rise and subsequent fall of international piracy from the perspective of colonial hinterlands, Mark G. Hanna explores the often overt support of sea marauders in maritime communities from the inception of England's burgeoning empire in the 1570s to its administrative consolidation by the 1740s. Although traditionally depicted as swashbuckling adventurers on the high seas, pirates played a crucial role on land. Far from a hindrance to trade, their enterprises contributed to commercial development and to the economic infrastructure of port towns.

English piracy and unregulated privateering flourished in the Pacific, the Caribbean, and the Indian Ocean because of merchant elites' active support in the North American colonies. Sea marauders represented a real as well as a symbolic challenge to legal and commercial policies formulated by distant and ineffectual administrative bodies that undermined the financial prosperity and defense of the colonies. Departing from previous understandings of deep-sea marauding, this study reveals the full scope of pirates' activities in relation to the landed communities that they serviced and their impact on patterns of development that formed early America and the British Empire.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Buttoned Up"

New from Cornell University Press: Buttoned Up: Clothing, Conformity, and White-Collar Masculinity by Erynn Masi de Casanova.

About the book, from the publisher:
Who is today's white-collar man? The world of work has changed radically since The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit and other mid-twentieth-century investigations of corporate life and identity. Contemporary jobs are more precarious, casual Friday has become an institution, and telecommuting blurs the divide between workplace and home. Gender expectations have changed, too, with men's bodies increasingly exposed in the media and scrutinized in everyday interactions. In Buttoned Up, based on interviews with dozens of men in three U.S. cities with distinct local dress cultures—New York, San Francisco, and Cincinnati—Erynn Masi de Casanova asks what it means to wear the white collar now.

Despite the expansion of men’s fashion and grooming practices, the decrease in formal dress codes, and the relaxing of traditional ideas about masculinity, white-collar men feel constrained in their choices about how to embody professionalism. They strategically embrace conformity in clothing as a way of maintaining their gender and class privilege. Across categories of race, sexual orientation and occupation, men talk about "blending in" and "looking the part" as they aim to keep their jobs or pursue better ones. These white-collar workers’ accounts show that greater freedom in work dress codes can, ironically, increase men’s anxiety about getting it wrong and discourage them from experimenting with their dress and appearance.
The Page 99 Test: Making Up the Difference.

--Marshal Zeringue