Monday, August 31, 2009

"Oceans of Wine"

New from Yale University Press: Oceans of Wine: Madeira and the Emergence of American Trade and Taste by David Hancock.

About the book, from the publisher:
This innovative book examines how, between 1640 and 1815, the Portuguese Madeira wine trade shaped the Atlantic world and American society. David Hancock painstakingly reconstructs the lives of producers, distributors, and consumers, as well as the economic and social structures created by globalizing commerce, to reveal an intricate interplay between individuals and market forces. Wine lovers and Madeira enthusiasts will enjoy Oceans of Wine, as will historians interested in food, colonial trade, and the history of the Atlantic region.

Using voluminous archives pertaining to wine, many of them previously unexamined, Hancock offers a dramatic new perspective on the economic and social development of the Atlantic world by challenging traditional interpretations that have identified states and empires as the driving force behind trade. He demonstrates convincingly just how decentralized the early modern commercial system was, as well as how self-organized, a system that emerged from the actions of market participants working across imperial lines. The networks they formed began as commercial structures and expanded into social and political systems that were conduits not only for wine but also for ideas about reform, revolution, and independence.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

"Combating Jihadism"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Combating Jihadism: American Hegemony and Interstate Cooperation in the War on Terrorism by Barak Mendelsohn.

About the book, from the publisher:
Although terrorism is an age-old phenomenon, jihadist ideology is distinctive in its ambition to overthrow the modern state system, abandon the principle of state sovereignty, and destroy the foundations of world order. Barak Mendelsohn argues that a crucial element in responding to such a threat and winning the war against terror in the twenty-first century is the hegemon—a powerful state that takes the lead and generates cooperation among states to fight jihad.

While most analyses of hegemony have focused on power, Mendelsohn firmly grounds the phenomenon in a web of shared norms and rules that both enable and constrain the hegemon’s freedom of action. He examines how the presence of a hegemonic state affects international cooperation, security, and international relations—revealing, for example, why the United States has found greater cooperation for the war in Afghanistan than for the war in Iraq. Tracing and explaining the varying levels of cooperation that exist for suppressing terrorism financing, for preventing non-state actors from obtaining weapons of mass destruction, and for offering military support to U.S. hegemony, Combating Jihadism provides a nuanced understanding of the interaction between norms and power.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"Civil Society and Empire"

New from Yale University Press: Civil Society and Empire: Ireland and Scotland in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World by James Livesey.

About the book, from the publisher:
James Livesey traces the origins of the modern conception of civil society—an ideal of collective life between the family and politics—not to England or France, as many of his predecessors have done, but to the provincial societies of Ireland and Scotland in the eighteenth century. Livesey shows how civil society was first invented as an idea of renewed community for the provincial and defeated elites in the provinces of the British Empire and how this innovation allowed them to enjoy liberty without directly participating in the empire’s governance, until the limits of the concept were revealed.

The concept of civil society continues to have direct relevance for contemporary political theory and action. Livesey demonstrates how western governments, for example, have appealed to the values of civil society in their projections of power in Bosnia and Iraq. Civil society has become an object central to current ideological debate, and this book offers a thought-provoking discussion of its beginnings, objectives, and current nature.

Friday, August 28, 2009

"After Adam Smith"

New from Princeton University Press: After Adam Smith: A Century of Transformation in Politics and Political Economy by Murray Milgate & Shannon C. Stimson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Few issues are more central to our present predicaments than the relationship between economics and politics. After Adam Smith looks at how politics and political economy were articulated and altered in the century following the publication of Smith's Wealth of Nations. It considers how grand ideas about the connections between individual liberty, free markets, and social and economic justice sometimes attributed to Smith are as much the product of gradual modifications and changes wrought by later writers.

Thomas Robert Malthus, David Ricardo, James Mill, John Stuart Mill, and other liberals, radicals, and reformers had a hand in conceptual transformations that culminated in the advent of neoclassical economics. The population problem, the declining importance of agriculture, the consequences of industrialization, the structural characteristics of civil society, the role of the state in economic affairs, and the possible limits to progress were questions that underwent significant readjustments as the thinkers who confronted them in different times and circumstances reworked the framework of ideas advanced by Smith. By exploring how questions Smith had originally grappled with were recast as the economy and the principles of political economy altered during the nineteenth century, this book demonstrates that we are as much the heirs of later images of Smith as we are of Smith himself.

Many writers helped shape different ways of thinking about economics and politics after Adam Smith. By ignoring their interventions we risk misreading our past--and also misusing it--when thinking about the choices at the interface of economics and politics that confront us today.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Jolly Fellows"

New from Johns Hopkins University Press: Jolly Fellows: Male Milieus in Nineteenth—Century America by Richard Stott.

About the book, from the publisher:
"Jolly fellows," a term that gained currency in the nineteenth century, referred to those men whose more colorful antics included brawling, heavy drinking, gambling, and playing pranks. Reforms, especially the temperance movement, stigmatized such behavior, but pockets of jolly fellowship continued to flourish throughout the country. Richard Stott scrutinizes and analyzes this behavior to appreciate its origins and meaning.

Stott finds that male behavior could be strikingly similar in diverse locales, from taverns and boardinghouses to college campuses and sporting events. He explores the permissive attitudes that thrived in such male domains as the streets of New York City, California during the gold rush, and the Pennsylvania oil fields, arguing that such places had an important influence on American society and culture. Stott recounts how the cattle and mining towns of the American West emerged as centers of resistance to Victorian propriety. It was here that unrestrained male behavior lasted the longest, before being replaced with a new convention that equated manliness with sobriety and self—control.

Even as the number of jolly fellows dwindled, jolly themes flowed into American popular culture through minstrelsy, dime novels, and comic strips. Jolly Fellows proposes a new interpretation of nineteenth—century American culture and society and will inform future work on masculinity during this period.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Fires of Faith"

New from Yale University Press: Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor by Eamon Duffy.

About the book, from the publisher:
The reign of Mary Tudor has been remembered as an era of sterile repression, when a reactionary monarch launched a doomed attempt to reimpose Catholicism on an unwilling nation. Above all, the burning alive of more than 280 men and women for their religious beliefs seared the rule of “Bloody Mary” into the protestant imagination as an alien aberration in the onward and upward march of the English-speaking peoples.

In this controversial reassessment, the renowned reformation historian Eamon Duffy argues that Mary's regime was neither inept nor backward looking. Led by the queen's cousin, Cardinal Reginald Pole, Mary’s church dramatically reversed the religious revolution imposed under the child king Edward VI. Inspired by the values of the European Counter-Reformation, the cardinal and the queen reinstated the papacy and launched an effective propaganda campaign through pulpit and press.

Even the most notorious aspect of the regime, the burnings, proved devastatingly effective. Only the death of the childless queen and her cardinal on the same day in November 1558 brought the protestant Elizabeth to the throne, thereby changing the course of English history.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Tough Choices"

New from Stanford University Press: Tough Choices: Bearing an Illegitimate Child in Japan by Ekaterina Hertog.

About the book, from the publisher:
As is the case in Western industrialized countries, Japan is seeing a rise in the number of unmarried couples, later marriages, and divorces. What sets Japan apart, however, is that the percentage of children born out of wedlock has hardly changed in the past fifty years. This book provides the first systematic study of single motherhood in contemporary Japan.

Seeking to answer why illegitimate births in Japan remain such a rarity, Hertog spent over three years interviewing single mothers, academics, social workers, activists, and policymakers about the beliefs, values, and choices that unmarried Japanese mothers have. Pairing her findings with extensive research, she considers the economic and legal disadvantages these women face, as well as the cultural context that underscores family change and social inequality in Japan. This is the only scholarly account that offers sufficient detail to allow for extensive comparisons with unmarried mothers in the West.

Monday, August 24, 2009

"The Bonfire"

New from PublicAffairs: The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta by Marc Wortman.

About the book, from the publisher:
The destruction of Atlanta is an iconic moment in American history—it was the centerpiece of Gone with the Wind. But though the epic sieges of Leningrad, Stalingrad, and Berlin have all been explored in bestselling books, the one great American example has been treated only cursorily in more general histories. Marc Wortman remedies that conspicuous absence in grand fashion with The Bonfire, an absorbing narrative history told through the points of view of key participants both Confederate and Union. The Bonfire reveals an Atlanta of unexpected paradoxes: a new mercantile city dependent on the primitive institution of slavery; governed by a pro-Union mayor, James Calhoun, whose cousin was a famous defender of the South. When he surrendered the city to General Sherman after forty-four terrible days, Calhoun was accompanied by Bob Yancey, a black slave likely the son of Union advocate Daniel Webster. Atlanta was both the last of the medieval city sieges and the first modern urban devastation. From its ashes, a new South would arise.
Visit Marc Wortman's website.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"The Language of Nazi Genocide"

New from Cambridge University Press: The Language of Nazi Genocide: Linguistic Violence and the Struggle of Germans of Jewish Ancestry by Thomas Pegelow Kaplan.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the Nazi genocide of European Jews, words preceded, accompanied, and made mass murder possible. Using a multilayered approach to connect official language to everyday life, historian Thomas Pegelow Kaplan analyzes the role of language in genocide. This study seeks to comprehend how the perpetrators constructed difference, race, and their perceived enemies; how Nazi agencies communicated to the public through the nation's press; and how Germans of Jewish ancestry received, contested, and struggled for survival and self against remarkable odds. The Language of Nazi Genocide covers the historical periods of the late Weimar Republic, the Nazi regime, and early postwar Germany. However, by addressing the architecture of conceptual separation between groups and the means by which social aggression is disseminated, this study offers a model for comparative studies of linguistic violence, hate speech, and genocide in the modern world.
Read an excerpt from The Language of Nazi Genocide.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

"Down to the Wire"

New from Oxford University Press: Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse by David W. Orr.

About the book, from the publisher:
"The real fault line in American politics is not between liberals and conservatives.... It is, rather, in how we orient ourselves to the generations to come who will bear the consequences, for better and for worse, of our actions."

So writes David Orr in Down to the Wire , a sober and eloquent assessment of climate destabilization and an urgent call to action. Orr describes how political negligence, an economy based on the insatiable consumption of trivial goods, and a disdain for the well-being of future generations have brought us to the tipping point that biologist Edward O. Wilson calls "the bottleneck." Due to our refusal to live within natural limits, we now face a long emergency of rising temperatures, rising sea-levels, and a host of other related problems that will increasingly undermine human civilization. Climate destabilization to which we are already committed will change everything, and to those betting on quick technological fixes or minor adjustments to the way we live now, Down to the Wire is a major wake-up call. But this is not a doomsday book. Orr offers a wide range of pragmatic, far-reaching proposals--some of which have already been adopted by the Obama administration--for how we might reconnect public policy with rigorous science, bring our economy into alignment with ecological realities, and begin to regard ourselves as planetary trustees for future generations. He offers inspiring real-life examples of people already responding to the major threat to our future.

An exacting analysis of where we are in terms of climate change, how we got here, and what we must now do, Down to the Wire is essential reading for those wanting to join in the Great Work of our generation.
Visit David W. Orr's website.

Friday, August 21, 2009

"The Life and Death of Democracy"

New from W. W. Norton & Company: The Life and Death of Democracy by John Keane.

About the book, from the publisher:
From Plato to de Tocqueville to Fukuyama—an epic history of the governing philosophy that has defined Western history.

In the grand tradition of Paul Kennedy’s The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers comes this provocative history of world democracy, which begins with the ancient Myceans and ends in our fractious present. Overturning long-cherished notions, John Keane poses challenging questions: Did democracy actually begin in ancient Greece or earlier in Mesopotamia? Do the American and British systems actually live up to their democratic ideals? Why is there a bad moon rising over the world’s democracies? Written by a leading political theorist, this book presents readers with a counterintuitive look at democracy’s past, present, and future, which Keane argues lies not in the West but in the turbulent democracies of the East, especially in India. Avoiding the triumphalism of global democracy’s most boisterous pundits, Keane cautions that democracy today is more fragile than ever and that, unless major corrective measures are taken, we may be sleepwalking our way into even deeper trouble.
Visit John Keane's website.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"The Keynes Solution"

New from Palgrave Macmillan: The Keynes Solution: The Path to Global Economic Prosperity by Paul Davidson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Today’s financial crisis has led to a widespread lack of confidence in the laissez faire style of economic policy. In The Keynes Solution author Paul Davidson provides insights into how we got into the crisis—but more importantly how to use Keynes economic philosophy to get out of this mess. John Maynard Keynes was committed to making the market economy work—but our current system has been a dismal failure. Keynes advocated for an interventionalist government role, in cooperation with private initiative, to mitigate the adverse effects of recessions, depressions and booms. His economic policy helped the world out of the great depression and was an important influencer in the thinking behind FDR’s new deal policies. In this book Keynesian expert Davidson makes recommendations and details plans for spending, monetary policy, financial market rules and regulation, and wages—all to reverse the effects of our past policies. Keynes renewed influence can be seen everywhere: in Barack Obama’s planned stimulus package, for example—and this book explains the basic tenant of Keynesian economics as well as applied solutions to today’s critical situation.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"Furs and Frontiers in the Far North"

New from Yale University Press: Furs and Frontiers in the Far North: The Contest Among Native and Foreign Nations for the Bering Strait Fur Trade by John R. Bockstoce.

About the book, from the publisher:
This comprehensive history of the native and maritime fur trade in Alaska during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is without precedent. The Bering Strait formed the nexus of the circumpolar fur trade in which Russians, British, Americans, and members of fifty native nations competed and cooperated. The desire to dominate the fur trade fed the European expansion into the most remote regions of Asia and America and was an agent of massive change in these regions.

Award-winning author John R. Bockstoce fills a major gap in the historiography of the area in covering the scientific, commercial, and foreign-relations implications of the northern fur trade. In addition, the book provides rare insight into the relationship between the Western powers and the Native Americans who provided them with fur, ivory, and whalebone in exchange for manufactured goods, tobacco, tea, alcohol, and hundreds of other things. But this is also the story of the enterprising individuals who energized the Alaskan fur trade and, in doing so, forever altered the region’s history.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Barack Obama's America"

New from the University of Michigan Press: Barack Obama's America: How New Conceptions of Race, Family, and Religion Ended the Reagan Era by John Kenneth White.

About the book, from the publisher:
The election of Barack Obama to the presidency marks a conclusive end to the Reagan era, writes John Kenneth White in Barack Obama's America. Reagan symbolized a 1950s and 1960s America, largely white and suburban, with married couples and kids at home, who attended church more often than not.

Obama's election marks a new era, the author writes. Whites will be a minority by 2042. Marriage is at an all-time low. Cohabitation has increased from a half-million couples in 1960 to more than 5 million in 2000 to even more this year. Gay marriages and civil unions are redefining what it means to be a family. And organized religions are suffering, even as Americans continue to think of themselves as a religious people. Obama's inauguration was a defining moment in the political destiny of this country, based largely on demographic shifts, as described in Barack Obama's America.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"In the Trenches at Petersburg"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: In the Trenches at Petersburg: Field Fortifications and Confederate Defeat by Earl J. Hess.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Petersburg campaign began June 15, 1864, with Union attempts to break an improvised line of Confederate field fortifications. By the time the campaign ended on April 2, 1865, two opposing lines of sophisticated and complex earthworks stretched for thirty-five miles, covering not only Petersburg but also the southeastern approaches to Richmond. This book, the third volume in Earl Hess's trilogy on the war in the eastern theater, recounts the strategic and tactical operations in Virginia during the last ten months of the Civil War, when field fortifications dominated military planning and the landscape of battle.

Hess extracts evidence from maps and earthworks systems, historic photographs of the entrenchments, extensive research in published and archival accounts by men engaged in the campaign, official engineering reports, modern sound imaging to detect mine galleries, and firsthand examination of the remnants of fortifications on the Petersburg battlefield today. The book covers all aspects of the campaign, especially military engineering, including mining and countermining, the fashioning of wire entanglements, the laying of torpedo fields, and the construction of underground shelters to protect the men who manned the works. It also humanizes the experience of the soldiers working in the fortifications, revealing their attitudes toward attacking and defending earthworks and the human cost of trench warfare in the waning days of the war.
Visit Earl J. Hess' website.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Early Christian Books in Egypt"

New from Princeton University Press: Early Christian Books in Egypt by Roger S. Bagnall.

About the book, from the publisher:
For the past hundred years, much has been written about the early editions of Christian texts discovered in the region that was once Roman Egypt. Scholars have cited these papyrus manuscripts--containing the Bible and other Christian works--as evidence of Christianity's presence in that historic area during the first three centuries AD. In Early Christian Books in Egypt, distinguished papyrologist Roger Bagnall shows that a great deal of this discussion and scholarship has been misdirected, biased, and at odds with the realities of the ancient world. Providing a detailed picture of the social, economic, and intellectual climate in which these manuscripts were written and circulated, he reveals that the number of Christian books from this period is likely fewer than previously believed.

Bagnall explains why papyrus manuscripts have routinely been dated too early, how the role of Christians in the history of the codex has been misrepresented, and how the place of books in ancient society has been misunderstood. The author offers a realistic reappraisal of the number of Christians in Egypt during early Christianity, and provides a thorough picture of the economics of book production during the period in order to determine the number of Christian papyri likely to have existed. Supporting a more conservative approach to dating surviving papyri, Bagnall examines the dramatic consequences of these findings for the historical understanding of the Christian church in Egypt.
Read an excerpt from Early Christian Books in Egypt.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"Sexual Perversions, 1670-1890"

New from Palgrave Macmillan: Sexual Perversions, 1670-1890, edited by Julie Peakman.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book is a fascinating glimpse into the history of sexual perversions and diversions including fetishism, cross-dressing, effeminate men and masculinised women, sodomy, tribadism, masturbation, necrophilia, rape, paedophilia, flagellation, and sado-masochism, asking how these sexual inclinations were viewed at a particular time in history.
The Table of Contents:
Sexual Perversion in the Early Modern Period--J.Peakman
Staging Perversion: The Restoration's Sexual Allegory of (un) Civil War--B.McLaughlin
Objects, Desire, Identity, and Orientation in the Writings of Lord Hervey and Charlotte Charke--M.Morris
The Woman in Man's Clothes and the Pleasures of Delarivier Manley's "New Cabal"--J.Frangos
The Hostile Gaze: Perverting the Female Form, 1688-1800--J.Skipp
Morbid Parts: Gender, Violence and the Necro-Gaze--R.E.May
Rape and the Construction of Female Sexuality in the Eighteenth Century--J.Mills
Tropics of Sexuality: Sexual Excesses and Oriental Vices' in the British Raj; P.Murthy
Chinese Sexuality and the Bound Foot--S.Adams
Nuns, Monks and Sexual Perversion in the Church--D.Peschier
Appendix: Defining Sexual Perversion--J.Peakman
Visit Julie Peakman's website.

Friday, August 14, 2009

"Broken Landscape"

New from Oxford University Press: Broken Landscape: Indians, Indian Tribes, and the Constitution by Frank Pommersheim.

About the book, from the publisher:
Broken Landscape is a sweeping chronicle of the ways that Indian tribal sovereignty is recognized within the Constitution and as it has been interpreted and misinterpreted through legal analysis and practice over the intervening decades. Built on a history of war and usurpation of land, the relationship between Indian tribes and the United States government was formally inscribed within federal structure--a structure not mirrored in the traditions of tribal governance. Although the Constitution recognized the sovereignty of Indian nations, it did not safeguard tribes against the tides of national expansion and exploitation.

As Broken Landscape demonstrates, the federal government has repeatedly failed to respect the tribal sovereignty recognized in the Constitution, instead favoring excessive, unaccountable authority in its dealings with tribes. The resulting legal thought regarding tribal rights, as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court and throughout contemporary Indian policymaking, has devolved from its constitutional roots, causing great harm to tribal culture and sovereignty.

Frank Pommersheim, one of America's leading scholars in Indian tribal law, offers a novel and deeply researched synthesis of this legal history from colonial times to the present, confronting the failures of constitutional analysis in contemporary Indian law jurisprudence. Proposing an amendment to the Constitution to reestablish tribal sovereignty, Broken Landscape stands as a challenge to create and foster a living constitution that provides dignity, respect, and inclusion to Indian tribes and Indian people.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"The Gates of Hell"

New from Yale University Press: The Gates of Hell: Sir John Franklin's Tragic Quest for the North West Passage by Andrew Lambert.

About the book, from the publisher:
Andrew Lambert, a leading authority on naval history, reexamines the life of Sir John Franklin and his final, doomed Arctic voyage. Franklin was a man of his time, fascinated, even obsessed with, the need to explore the world; he had already mapped nearly two-thirds of the northern coastline of North America when he undertook his third Arctic voyage in 1845, at the age of fifty-nine.

His two ships were fitted with the latest equipment; steam engines enabled them to navigate the pack ice, and he and his crew had a three-year supply of preserved and tinned food and more than one thousand books. Despite these preparations, the voyage ended in catastrophe: the ships became imprisoned in the ice, and the men were wracked by disease and ultimately wiped out by hypothermia, scurvy, and cannibalism.

Franklin’s mission was ostensibly to find the elusive North West Passage, a viable sea route between Europe and Asia reputed to lie north of the American continent. Lambert shows for the first time that there were other scientific goals for the voyage and that the disaster can only be understood by reconsidering the original objectives of the mission. Franklin, commonly dismissed as a bumbling fool, emerges as a more important and impressive figure, in fact, a hero of navigational science.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"The Permissive Society"

New from Cambridge University Press: The Permissive Society: America, 1941–1965 by Alan Petigny.

About the book, from the publisher:
In contrast to those who see the 1950s as essentially a conservative period, and who view the 1960s as a time of rapid moral change, The Permissive Society points to the emergence of a liberalizing impulse during the Truman and Eisenhower years. The book shows how, during the 1950s, a traditionalist moral framework was beginning to give way to a less authoritarian approach to moral issues as demonstrated by a more relaxed style of child-rearing, the rising status of women both inside and outside the home, the increasing reluctance of Americans to regard alcoholism as a sin, loosening sexual attitudes, the increasing influence of modern psychology, and, correspondingly, the declining influence of religion in the personal lives of most Americans.
Read an excerpt from The Permissive Society.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Buying Power"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Buying Power: A History of Consumer Activism in America by Lawrence B. Glickman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Far from ephemeral consumer trends, buying green and avoiding sweatshop-made clothing represent the most recent points on a centuries-long continuum of American consumer activism. A sweeping and definitive history of this political tradition, Buying Power traces its lineage back to our nation’s founding, revealing that Americans used purchasing power to support causes and punish enemies long before the word boycott even entered our lexicon.

Taking the Boston Tea Party as his starting point, Lawrence Glickman argues that the rejection of British imports by revolutionary patriots inaugurated a continuous series of consumer boycotts, campaigns for safe and ethical consumption, and efforts to make goods more broadly accessible. He explores abolitionist-led efforts to eschew slave-made goods, African American consumer campaigns against Jim Crow, a 1930s refusal of silk from fascist Japan, a range of contemporary boycotts, and emerging movements like fair trade and slow food. Uncovering previously unknown episodes and analyzing famous events from a fresh perspective, Glickman emphasizes both change and continuity in the long tradition of consumer activism. In the process, he illuminates moments when its multifaceted trajectory intersected with fights for political and civil rights. He also sheds new light on activists’ relationship with the consumer movement, which gave rise to lobbies like the National Consumers League and Consumers Union as well as ill-fated legislation to create a federal Consumer Protection Agency.

A powerful corrective to the notion that a consumer society degrades and diminishes its citizenry, Buying Power provides a new lens through which to view the history of the United States.

Monday, August 10, 2009

"From the Ground Up"

New from Princeton University Press: From the Ground Up: Translating Geography into Community through Neighbor Networks by Rick Grannis.

About the book, from the publisher:
Where do neighborhoods come from and why do certain resources and effects--such as social capital and collective efficacy--bundle together in some neighborhoods and not in others? From the Ground Up argues that neighborhood communities emerge from neighbor networks, and shows that these social relations are unique because of particular geographic qualities. Highlighting the linked importance of geography and children to the emergence of neighborhood communities, Rick Grannis models how neighboring progresses through four stages: when geography allows individuals to be conveniently available to one another; when they have passive contacts or unintentional encounters; when they actually initiate contact; and when they engage in activities indicating trust or shared norms and values.

Seamlessly integrating discussions of geography, household characteristics, and lifestyle, Grannis demonstrates that neighborhood communities exhibit dynamic processes throughout the different stages. He examines the households that relocate in order to choose their neighbors, the choices of interactions that develop, and the exchange of beliefs and influence that impact neighborhood communities over time. Grannis also introduces and explores two geographic concepts--t-communities and street islands--to capture the subtle features constraining residents' perceptions of their environment and community.

Basing findings on thousands of interviews conducted through door-to-door canvassing in the Los Angeles area as well as other neighborhood communities, From the Ground Up reveals the different ways neighborhoods function and why these differences matter.
Visit Rick Grannis' personal homepage.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville"

New from NYU Press: Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville: Excavating Manhattan’s Lost Places of Leisure by David Freeland.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the lights that never go out on Broadway to its 24-hour subway system, New York City isn’t called "the city that never sleeps" for nothing. Both native New Yorkers and tourists have played hard in Gotham for centuries, lindy hopping in 1930s Harlem, voguing in 1980s Chelsea, and refueling at all-night diners and bars. The slim island at the mouth of the Hudson River is riddled with places of leisure and entertainment, but Manhattan’s infamously fast pace of change means that many of these beautifully constructed and incredibly ornate buildings have disappeared, and with them a rich and ribald history.

Yet with David Freeland as a guide, it’s possible to uncover skeletons of New York’s lost monuments to its nightlife. With a keen eye for architectural detail, Freeland opens doors, climbs onto rooftops, and gazes down alleyways to reveal several of the remaining hidden gems of Manhattan’s nineteenth- and twentieth-century entertainment industry. From the Atlantic Garden German beer hall in present-day Chinatown to the city’s first motion picture studio—Union Square’s American Mutoscope and Biograph Company—to the Lincoln Theater in Harlem, Freeland situates each building within its historical and social context, bringing to life an old New York that took its diversions seriously. Freeland reminds us that the buildings that serve as architectural guideposts to yesteryear’s recreations cannot be re-created—once destroyed they are gone forever. With condominiums and big box stores spreading over city blocks like wildfires, more and more of the Big Apple’s legendary houses of mirth are being lost. By excavating the city’s cultural history, this delightful book unearths some of the many mysteries that lurk around the corner and lets readers see the city in a whole new light.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

"Faith Makes Us Live"

New from the University of California Press: Faith Makes Us Live: Surviving and Thriving in the Haitian Diaspora by Margarita A. Mooney.

About the book, from the publisher:
Based on fieldwork in Haiti and in three cities of the Haitian diaspora--Miami, Montreal, and Paris--this study offers a vivid portrait of the power of faith for immigrants. Drawing on extensive interviews and including rich details of everyday life, Margarita Mooney explores the struggles and joys of Haitian Catholics in these three very different cities. She finds that religious narratives, especially those about transformation and redemption, provide real meaning and hope in what are often difficult conditions. However, Mooney also finds that successful assimilation into the larger society varies from country to country, having less to do with these private religious beliefs than on cooperation between religious and government leaders. In the United States, the Catholic Church is able to offer services and advocacy that help immigrants succeed, but it is not able to do the same in France or Canada. Presenting a powerful picture of traditional Catholic piety that overturns many assumptions about Vodou practice in Haitian Catholicism, this work also provides a groundbreaking comparative perspective on how immigrants' experiences and opportunities vary greatly across different nations.

Friday, August 7, 2009


New from Viking: Cahokia: Ancient America's Great City on the Mississippi by Timothy R. Pauketat.

About the book, from the publisher:
The fascinating story of a lost city and an unprecedented civilization

Almost a thousand years ago, a Native American city flourished along the Mississippi River near what is now St. Louis. Cahokia was a thriving metropolis at its height with a population of twenty thousand, a sprawling central plaza, and scores of spectacular earthen mounds. The city gave rise to a new culture that spread across the plains; yet by 1400 it had been abandoned, leaving only the giant mounds as monuments and traces of its influence in tribes we know today.

In Cahokia, anthropologist Timothy R. Pauketat reveals the story of the city and its people as uncovered by the dramatic digs of American corn-belt archaeologists. These excavations have revealed evidence of a powerful society, including complex celestial timepieces, the remains of feasts big enough to feed thousands, and disturbing signs of large-scale human sacrifice.

Drawing on these pioneering digs and a wealth of analysis by historians and archaeologists, Pauketat provides a comprehensive picture of what’s been discovered about Cahokia and how these findings have challenged our perceptions of Native Americans. Cahokia is a lively read and a compelling narrative of prehistoric America.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

"Deliver Us from Evil"

New from Oxford University Press: Deliver Us from Evil: The Slavery Question in the Old South by Lacy K. Ford.

About the book, from the publisher:
A major contribution to our understanding of slavery in the early republic, Deliver Us from Evil illuminates the white South's twisted and tortured efforts to justify slavery, focusing on the period from the drafting of the federal constitution in 1787 through the age of Jackson. Drawing heavily on primary sources, including newspapers, government documents, legislative records, pamphlets, and speeches, Lacy Ford recaptures the varied and sometimes contradictory ideas and attitudes held by groups of white southerners as they debated the slavery question. He excels at conveying the political, intellectual, economic, and social thought of leading white southerners, vividly recreating the mental world of the varied actors. He also shows that there was not one antebellum South but many, and not one southern white mindset but several, with the debates over slavery in the upper South quite different in substance from those in the deep South. An ambitious, thought-provoking, and highly insightful book, Deliver Us from Evil is essential for anyone interested in the history of slavery in the United States.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Global Democracy and Sustainable Jurisprudence"

New from The MIT Press: Global Democracy and Sustainable Jurisprudence: Deliberative Environmental Law by Walter F. Baber and Robert V. Bartlett.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Global Democracy and Sustainable Jurisprudence, Walter Baber and Robert Bartlett explore the necessary characteristics of a meaningful global jurisprudence, a jurisprudence that would underpin international environmental law. Arguing that theories of political deliberation offer useful insights into the current "democratic deficit" in international law, and using this insight as a way to approach the problem of global environmental protection, they offer both a theoretical foundation and a realistic deliberative mechanism for creating effective transnational common law for the environment. Their argument links elements not typically associated: abstract democratic theory and a practical form of deliberative democracy; the legitimacy-imparting value of deliberative democracy and the possibility of legislating through adjudication; common law jurisprudence and the development of transnational environmental law; and conceptual thinking that draws on Deweyan pragmatism, Rawlsian contractarianism, Habermasian critical theory, and the full liberalism of Bohman, Gutmann, and Thompson.

Baber and Bartlett offer a democratic method for creating, interpreting, and implementing international environmental norms that involves citizens and bypasses states—an innovation that can be replicated and deployed across a range of policy areas. Transnational environmental consensus would develop through a novel model of juristic democracy that would generate legitimate international environmental law based on processes of hypothetical rule making by citizen juries. This method would translate global environmental norms into international law—law that, unlike all current international law, would be recognized as both fact and norm because of its inherent democratic legitimacy.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Church, Society, and Religious Change in France, 1580-1730"

New from Yale University Press: Church, Society, and Religious Change in France, 1580-1730 by Joseph Bergin.

About the book, from the publisher:
This readable and engaging book by an acclaimed historian is the only wide-ranging synthesis devoted to the French experience of religious change during the period after the wars of religion up to the early Enlightenment. Joseph Bergin provides a clear, up-to-date, and thorough account of the religious history of France in the context of social, institutional, and cultural developments during the so-called long seventeenth century.

Bergin argues that the French version of the Catholic Reformation showed a dynamism unrivaled elsewhere in Europe. The traumatic experiences of the wars of religion, the continuing search within France for heresy, and the challenge of Augustinian thought successively energized its attempts at religious change. Bergin highlights the continuing interaction of church and society and shows that while the French experience was clearly allied to its European context, its path was a distinctive one.

Monday, August 3, 2009

"Moved to Action"

New from Stanford University Press: Moved to Action: Motivation, Participation, and Inequality in American Politics by Hahrie C. Han.

About the book, from the publisher:
Wealthy, educated, and more privileged people are more likely to participate and be represented in politics than their poorer, less educated, and less privileged counterparts. To reduce these inequalities, we need a better understanding of how the disadvantaged become motivated to participate. Moved to Action fills the current gap in this area of research by examining the commitments and pathways through which the underprivileged become engaged in politics.

Drawing on original, in-depth interviews with political activists and large-scale survey data, author Hahrie C. Han contests the traditional idea that people must be politicized before they participate, and that only idiosyncratic factors outside the control of the political system can drive motivation. Her findings show that that highly personal commitments, such as the quality of children's education or the desire to help a friend, have a disproportionately large impact in motivating political participation among people with fewer resources. Han makes the case that civic and political organizations can lay the foundation for greater citizen participation by helping people recognize the connections between their personal commitments and politics.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"China and India in the Age of Globalization"

New from Cambridge University Press: China and India in the Age of Globalization by Shalendra D. Sharma.

About the book, from the publisher:
The rise of China and India is the story of our times. The unprecedented expansion of their economic and power capabilities raises profound questions for scholars and policymakers. What forces propelled these two Asian giants into global pacesetters, and what does their emergence mean for the United States and the world? With intimate detail, Shalendra D. Sharma’s China and India in the Age of Globalization explores how the interplay of socio-historical, political, and economic forces has transformed these once poor agrarian societies into economic powerhouses. Yet, globalization is hardly a seamless process, as the vagaries and uncertainties of globalization also present risks and challenges. This book examines the challenges both countries face and what each must do to strike the balance between reaping the opportunities and mitigating the risks. For the United States, assisting a rising China to become a responsible global stakeholder and fostering peace and stability in the volatile subcontinent will be paramount in the coming years.
Read an excerpt from China and India in the Age of Globalization.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

"The Message Matters"

New from Princeton University Press: The Message Matters: The Economy and Presidential Campaigns by Lynn Vavreck.

About the book, from the publisher:
The economy is so powerful in determining the results of U.S. presidential elections that political scientists can predict winners and losers with amazing accuracy long before the campaigns start. But if it is true that "it's the economy, Stupid," why do incumbents in good economies sometimes lose? The reason, Lynn Vavreck argues, is that what matters is not just the state of the economy but how candidates react to it. By demonstrating more precisely than ever before how candidates and their campaigns affect the economic vote, The Message Matters provides a powerful new way of understanding past elections--and predicting future ones.

Vavreck examines the past sixty years of presidential elections and offers a new theory of campaigns that explains why electoral victory requires more than simply being the candidate favored by prevailing economic conditions. Using data from presidential elections since 1952, she reveals why, when, and how campaign messages make a difference--and when they can outweigh economic predictors of election outcomes.

The Message Matters does more than show why candidates favored by the economy must build their campaigns around economic messages. Vavreck's theory also explains why candidates disadvantaged by the economy must try to focus their elections on noneconomic issues that meet exacting criteria--and why this is so hard to do.
Visit Lynn Vavreck's website.