Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Redeemed by Fire"

New from Yale University Press: Redeemed by Fire: The Rise of Popular Christianity in Modern China by Lian Xi.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book is the first to address the history and future of homegrown, mass Chinese Christianity. Drawing on a large collection of fresh sources—including contemporaneous accounts, diaries, memoirs, archival material, and interviews—Lian Xi traces the transformation of Protestant Christianity in twentieth-century China from a small, beleaguered “missionary” church buffeted by antiforeignism to an indigenous popular religion energized by nationalism and millenarianism. Lian shows that, with a current membership that rivals that of the Chinese Communist Party, and the ability to galvanize China’s millions into apocalyptic convulsion and messianic exuberance, the popular Christian movement channels the aspirations and the discontent of the masses and will play an important role in shaping the country’s future.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Shaping Foreign Policy in Times of Crisis"

New from Cambridge University Press: Shaping Foreign Policy in Times of Crisis: The Role of International Law and the State Department Legal Adviser by Michael P. Scharf and Paul R. Williams.

About the book, from the publisher:
Shaping Foreign Policy in Times of Crisis grew out of a series of meetings that the authors convened with all ten of the living former U.S. State Department legal advisers (from the Carter administration to that of George W. Bush). Based on their insider accounts of the role that international law actually played during the major crises on their watch, the book explores whether international law is real law or just a form of politics that policymakers are free to ignore whenever they perceive it to be in their interest to do so. Written in a style that will appeal to the casual reader and serious scholar alike, the book includes a foreword by the Obama administration’s State Department legal adviser, Harold Koh; background on the theoretical underpinnings of the compliance debate; an in-depth case study of the treatment of detainees in the war on terror; and a comprehensive glossary of the terms, names, places, and events that are discussed in the book.
Read an excerpt from Shaping Foreign Policy in Times of Crisis.

Friday, January 29, 2010

"Blue and Gray Diplomacy"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Blue and Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations by Howard Jones.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this examination of Union and Confederate foreign relations during the Civil War from both European and American perspectives, Howard Jones demonstrates that the consequences of the conflict between North and South reached far beyond American soil.

Jones explores a number of themes, including the international economic and political dimensions of the war, the Norths attempts to block the South from winning foreign recognition as a nation, Napoleon III's meddling in the war and his attempt to restore French power in the New World, and the inability of Europeans to understand the interrelated nature of slavery and union, resulting in their tendency to interpret the war as a senseless struggle between a South too large and populous to have its independence denied and a North too obstinate to give up on the preservation of the Union. Most of all, Jones explores the horrible nature of a war that attracted outside involvement as much as it repelled it.

Written in a narrative style that relates the story as its participants saw it play out around them, Blue and Gray Diplomacy depicts the complex set of problems faced by policy makers from Richmond and Washington to London, Paris, and St. Petersburg.
Howard Jones is University Research Professor of History at the University of Alabama. His books include Mutiny on the Amistad and Death of a Generation.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"The Insurgent Archipelago"

New from Columbia University Press: The Insurgent Archipelago by John Mackinlay.

About the book, from the publisher:
As a young British officer in the Gurkha regiment, John Mackinlay served in the rainforests of North Borneo and experienced firsthand the Maoist-style insurgencies of the 1960s. Years later, as a United Nations researcher, he witnessed the chaotic deployment of international forces to Africa, the Balkans, and South Asia, and the transformation of territorial, labor-intensive uprisings into the international insurgent networks we know today.

After 9/11, Mackinlay turned his eye toward the Muslim communities of Europe and institutional efforts to prevent terrorism. In particular, he investigates military expeditions to Iraq and Afghanistan and their effect on the social cohesion of European populations that include Muslims from these regions. In a world divided between rich and poor, the surest way for the "bottom billion" to gain recognition, express outrage, or improve their circumstances is through insurgency. In this book, Mackinlay explains why leaders from the wealthiest and most powerful nations have failed to understand this phenomenon. Our current bin Laden era, Mckinlay argues, must be viewed as one stage in a series of developments swept up in the momentum of a global insurgency.

The campaigns of the 1960s are directly linked to the global movements of tomorrow, yet in the past two decades, insurgent activity has given rise to a new practice that incorporates and exploits the "propaganda of the deed." This shift challenges our vertically-structured response to terror and places a greater emphasis on mastering the virtual, cyber-based dimensions of these campaigns. Mckinlay revisits the roots of global insurgencies, describes their nature and character, reveals the power of mass communications and grievance, and recommends how individual nations can counter these threats by focusing on domestic terrorism.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Dangerous Talk"

New from Oxford University Press: Dangerous Talk: Scandalous, Seditious, and Treasonable Speech in Pre-Modern England by David Cressy.

About the book, from the publisher:
Dangerous Talk examines the "lewd, ungracious, detestable, opprobrious, and rebellious-sounding" speech of ordinary men and women who spoke scornfully of kings and queens. Eavesdropping on lost conversations, it reveals the expressions that got people into trouble, and follows the fate of some of the offenders. Introducing stories and characters previously unknown to history, David Cressy explores the contested zones where private words had public consequence. Though "words were but wind," as the proverb had it, malicious tongues caused social damage, seditious words challenged political authority, and treasonous speech imperiled the crown.

Royal regimes from the house of Plantagenet to the house of Hanover coped variously with "crimes of the tongue" and found ways to monitor talk they deemed dangerous. Their response involved policing and surveillance, judicial intervention, political propaganda, and the crafting of new law. In early Tudor times to speak ill of the monarch could risk execution. By the end of the Stuart era similar words could be dismissed with a shrug. This book traces the development of free speech across five centuries of popular political culture, and shows how scandalous, seditious and treasonable talk finally gained protection as "the birthright of an Englishman." The lively and accessible work of a prize-winning social historian, it offers fresh insight into pre-modern society, the politics of language, and the social impact of the law.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Demobbed"

New from Yale University Press: Demobbed: Coming Home After World War Two by Alan Allport.

About the book, from the publisher:
What happened when millions of British servicemen were “demobbed”—demobilized—after World War II? Most had been absent for years, and the joy of arrival was often clouded with ambivalence, regrets, and fears. Returning soldiers faced both practical and psychological problems, from reasserting their place in the family home to rejoining a much-altered labor force. Civilians worried that their homecoming heroes had been barbarized by their experiences and would bring crime and violence back from the battlefield. Drawing on personal letters and diaries, newspapers, reports, novels, and films, Alan Allport illuminates the darker side of the homecoming experience for ex-servicemen, their families, and society at large—a gripping story that’s in danger of being lost to national memory.
Visit Alan Allport's website.

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Alibis of Empire"

New from Princeton University Press: Alibis of Empire: Henry Maine and the Ends of Liberal Imperialism by Karuna Mantena.

About the book, from the publisher:
Alibis of Empire presents a novel account of the origins, substance, and afterlife of late imperial ideology. Karuna Mantena challenges the idea that Victorian empire was primarily legitimated by liberal notions of progress and civilization. In fact, as the British Empire gained its farthest reach, its ideology was being dramatically transformed by a self-conscious rejection of the liberal model. The collapse of liberal imperialism enabled a new culturalism that stressed the dangers and difficulties of trying to "civilize" native peoples. And, hand in hand with this shift in thinking was a shift in practice toward models of indirect rule. As Mantena shows, the work of Victorian legal scholar Henry Maine was at the center of these momentous changes. Alibis of Empire examines how Maine's sociotheoretic model of "traditional" society laid the groundwork for the culturalist logic of late empire. In charting the movement from liberal idealism, through culturalist explanation, to retroactive alibi within nineteenth-century British imperial ideology, Alibis of Empire unearths a striking and pervasive dynamic of modern empire.
Read an excerpt from Alibis of Empire.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

"Zeal for Zion"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Zeal for Zion: Christians, Jews, and the Idea of the Promised Land by Shalom L. Goldman.

About the book, from the publisher:
The standard histories of Zionism have depicted it almost exclusively as a Jewish political movement, one in which Christians do not appear except as antagonists. In the highly original Zeal for Zion, Shalom Goldman makes the case for a wider and more inclusive history, one that brings the substantial Christian involvement with Zionism--most recently by American evangelical Protestants--into the light.

Goldman offers a fresh perspective on the history of Zionism, deftly weaving together the stories of poets and diplomats, Christian scholars and Jewish leaders, the Vatican and the State of Israel, and modern literary masters such as Jorge Luis Borges, Robert Graves, and Vladimir Nabokov. Goldman argues that Jewish Zionism was influenced by--and cannot be understood in isolation from--Christian culture generally and Christian Zionist culture specifically. Shedding light on the deep and interrelated roots of Christian-Jewish relations, fraught with tension and ambivalence, he finds that Christian support for the Jewish Zionist cause has been essential to the success of the movement.

Christian Zionism has a long history and has been embraced at various times by Catholics and Protestants, liberals and conservatives, reformers and traditionalists. Zeal for Zion places this vital movement within the larger history of Zionism, making the story of Zionism all the more rich and complex.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

"Working the Diaspora"

New from NYU Press: Working the Diaspora: The Impact of African Labor on the Anglo-American World, 1650-1850 by Frederick C. Knight.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the sixteenth to early-nineteenth century, four times more Africans than Europeans crossed the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. While this forced migration stripped slaves of their liberty, it failed to destroy many of their cultural practices, which came with Africans to the New World. In Working the Diaspora, Frederick Knight examines work cultures on both sides of the Atlantic, from West and West Central Africa to British North America and the Caribbean.

Knight demonstrates that the knowledge that Africans carried across the Atlantic shaped Anglo-American agricultural development and made particularly important contributions to cotton, indigo, tobacco, and staple food cultivation. The book also compellingly argues that the work experience of slaves shaped their views of the natural world. Broad in scope, clearly written, and at the center of current scholarly debates, Working the Diaspora challenges readers to alter their conceptual frameworks about Africans by looking at them as workers who, through the course of the Atlantic slave trade and plantation labor, shaped the development of the Americas in significant ways.

Friday, January 22, 2010

"Benign Bigotry"

New from Cambridge University Press: Benign Bigotry: The Psychology of Subtle Prejudice by Kristin J. Anderson.

About the book, from the publisher:
While overt prejudice is now much less prevalent than in decades past, subtle prejudice – prejudice that is inconspicuous, indirect, and often unconscious – continues to pervade our society. Laws do not protect against subtle prejudice and, because of its covert nature, it is difficult to observe and frequently goes undetected by both perpetrator and victim. Benign Bigotry uses a fresh, original format to examine subtle prejudice by addressing six commonly held cultural myths based on assumptions that appear harmless but actually foster discrimination: ‘those people all look alike’; ‘they must be guilty of something’; ‘feminists are man-haters’; ‘gays flaunt their sexuality’; ‘I’m not a racist, I’m color-blind’ and ‘affirmative action is reverse racism’. Kristin J. Anderson skillfully relates each of these myths to real world events, emphasizes how errors in individual thinking can affect society at large, and suggests strategies for reducing prejudice in daily life.
Visit Kristin J. Anderson's website.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"After the Fall"

New from Oxford University Press: After the Fall: German Policy in Occupied France, 1940-1944 by Thomas J. Laub.

About the book, from the publisher:
German policy in occupied France during the Second World War was in many ways a story of bitter internal conflict between the various German agencies in charge of the occupation. After the Fall provides a detailed analysis of the struggle between these different agencies, highlighting the significant differences in ideology, policy, and method between the army, the SS, and the diplomatic service, and the rivalries between them in their struggle for dominance.

While the military government tried to exploit French industrial resources, the SS was focused more exclusively upon pursuing Nazi racial policies (often to the detriment of the wider military effort). In turn, the SS felt frustrated in the pursuit of their racial policies by a lack of assistance from the military. Meanwhile, the diplomatic service was frustrated in its attempts to spread Nazi propaganda and promote Franco-German reconciliation by Hitler's refusal to approve the substantial economic or political concessions that were needed to make this policy effective. Outside this circle of rivalry, caught in a battle that they did not understand, the French leaders tried to demonstrate their loyalty to Hitler's New Order by cooperating with the various competing German agencies.

After the Fall
examines how these battles developed and what they implied for the direction of German policy in France, from the exploitation of the French economy and the suppression of resistance activity to the attempt to carry out Nazi racial plans. In the process, it sheds much light on both the inner workings of the Nazi regime and on the decisions made by the French government during the course of the occupation.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"We Ain't What We Ought To Be"

New from Harvard University Press: We Ain't What We Ought To Be: The Black Freedom Struggle from Emancipation to Obama by Stephen Tuck.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this exciting revisionist history, Stephen Tuck traces the black freedom struggle in all its diversity, from the first years of freedom during the Civil War to President Obama’s inauguration. As it moves from popular culture to high politics, from the Deep South to New England, the West Coast, and abroad, Tuck weaves gripping stories of ordinary black people—as well as celebrated figures—into the sweep of racial protest and social change. The drama unfolds from an armed march of longshoremen in post–Civil War Baltimore to Booker T. Washington’s founding of Tuskegee Institute; from the race riots following Jack Johnson’s “fight of the century” to Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back of a Montgomery bus; and from the rise of hip hop to the journey of a black Louisiana grandmother to plead with the Tokyo directors of a multinational company to stop the dumping of toxic waste near her home.

We Ain’t What We Ought To Be rejects the traditional narrative that identifies the Southern non-violent civil rights movement as the focal point of the black freedom struggle. Instead, it explores the dynamic relationships between those seeking new freedoms and those looking to preserve racial hierarchies, and between grassroots activists and national leaders. As Tuck shows, strategies were ultimately contingent on the power of activists to protest amidst shifting economic and political circumstances in the U.S. and abroad. This book captures an extraordinary journey that speaks to all Americans—both past and future.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"The Enlightened Economy"

New from Yale University Press: The Enlightened Economy: An Economic History of Britain 1700-1850 by Joel Mokyr.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book focuses on the importance of ideological and institutional factors in the rapid development of the British economy during the years between the Glorious Revolution and the Crystal Palace Exhibition. Joel Mokyr shows that we cannot understand the Industrial Revolution without recognizing the importance of the intellectual sea changes of Britain’s Age of Enlightenment.

In a vigorous discussion, Mokyr goes beyond the standard explanations that credit geographical factors, the role of markets, politics, and society to show that the beginnings of modern economic growth in Britain depended a great deal on what key players knew and believed, and how those beliefs affected their economic behavior. He argues that Britain led the rest of Europe into the Industrial Revolution because it was there that the optimal intersection of ideas, culture, institutions, and technology existed to make rapid economic growth achievable. His wide-ranging evidence covers sectors of the British economy often neglected, such as the service industries.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Revolutionary Conceptions"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Revolutionary Conceptions: Women, Fertility, and Family Limitation in America, 1760-1820 by Susan E. Klepp.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the Age of Revolution, how did American women conceive their lives and marital obligations? By examining the attitudes and behaviors surrounding the contentious issues of family, contraception, abortion, sexuality, beauty, and identity, Susan E. Klepp demonstrates that many women--rural and urban, free and enslaved--began to radically redefine motherhood. They asserted, or attempted to assert, control over their bodies, their marriages, and their daughters' opportunities.

Late-eighteenth-century American women were among the first in the world to disavow the continual childbearing and large families that had long been considered ideal. Liberty, equality, and heartfelt religion led to new conceptions of virtuous, rational womanhood and responsible parenthood. These changes can be seen in falling birthrates, in advice to friends and kin, in portraits, and in a gradual, even reluctant, shift in men's opinions. Revolutionary-era women redefined femininity, fertility, family, and their futures by limiting births. Women might not have won the vote in the new Republic, they might not have gained formal rights in other spheres, but, Klepp argues, there was a women's revolution nonetheless.
Read an excerpt from Revolutionary Conceptions.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"A Lethal Obsession"

New from Random House: A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad by Robert S. Wistrich.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this unprecedented work two decades in the making, leading historian Robert S. Wistrich examines the long and ugly history of anti-Semitism, from the first recorded pogrom in 38 BCE to its shocking and widespread resurgence in the present day. As no other book has done before it, A Lethal Obsession reveals the causes behind this shameful and persistent form of hatred and offers a sobering look at how it may shake and reshape the world in years to come.

Here are the fascinating and long-forgotten roots of the “Jewish difference”–the violence that greeted the Jewish Diaspora in first-century Alexandria. Wistrich suggests that the idea of a formless God who passed down a universal moral law to a chosen few deeply disconcerted the pagan world. The early leaders of Christianity increased their strength by painting these “superior” Jews as a cosmic and satanic evil, and by the time of the Crusades, murdering a “Christ killer” had become an act of conscience.

Moving seamlessly through centuries of war and dissidence, A Lethal Obsession powerfully portrays the creation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the fateful anti-Semitic tract commissioned by Russia’s tsarist secret police at the end of the nineteenth century–and the prediction by Theodor Herzl, Austrian founder of political Zionism, of eventual disaster for the Jews in Europe.

The twentieth century fulfilled this dark prophecy, with the horrifying ascent of Hitler’s Third Reich. Yet, as Wistrich disturbingly suggests, the end of World War II failed to neutralize the “Judeophobic virus”: Pogroms and prejudice continued in Soviet-controlled territories and in the Arab-Muslim world that would fan flames for new decades of distrust, malice, and violence.

Here, in pointed and devastating detail, is our own world, one in which jihadi terrorists and the radical left blame Israel for all global ills. In his concluding chapters, Wistrich warns of a possible nuclear “Final Solution” at the hands of Iran, a land in which a formerly prosperous Jewish community has declined in both fortunes and freedoms.

Dazzling in scope and erudition, A Lethal Obsession is a riveting masterwork of investigative nonfiction, the definitive work on this unsettling yet essential subject. It is destined to become an indispensable source for any student of world affairs.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

"On the Make"

New from NYU Press: On the Make: Clerks and the Quest for Capital in Nineteenth-Century America by Brian P. Luskey.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the bustling cities of the mid-nineteenth-century Northeast, young male clerks working in commercial offices and stores were on the make, persistently seeking wealth, respect, and self-gratification. Yet these strivers and "counter jumpers" discovered that claiming the identities of independent men—while making sense of a volatile capitalist economy and fluid urban society—was fraught with uncertainty.

In On the Make, Brian P. Luskey illuminates at once the power of the ideology of self-making and the important contests over the meanings of respectability, manhood, and citizenship that helped to determine who clerks were and who they would become. Drawing from a rich array of archival materials, including clerks’ diaries, newspapers, credit reports, census data, advice literature, and fiction, Luskey argues that a better understanding of clerks and clerking helps make sense of the culture of capitalism and the society it shaped in this pivotal era.

Friday, January 15, 2010

"Pragmatism's Advantage"

New from Stanford University Press: Pragmatism's Advantage: American and European Philosophy at the End of the Twentieth Century by Joseph Margolis.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book addresses the rift between major philosophical factions in the United States, which the author describes as a "philosophically becalmed" three-legged creature made up of analytic philosophy, continental philosophy, and pragmatism. Joseph Margolis offers a modified pragmatism as the best way out of this stalemate. Whether he is examining Heidegger or rethinking the foibles of Dewey, Rorty, and Peirce, much of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Western philosophy comes into play as Margolis presents his history of philosophy's evolution and defends his views. He does not, however, mean for philosophy to turn to the pragmatism of yore or even to its revival in the 1970s. Rather, he finds in recent approaches to pragmatism a middle ground between analytic philosophy's scientism (and its disinterest in analyzing human nature)and continental philosophy's reliance on attributing transcendental powers to mere mortals.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"Mosquito Empires"

New from Cambridge University Press: Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, 1620–1914 by J. R. McNeill.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book explores the links among ecology, disease, and international politics in the context of the Greater Caribbean - the landscapes lying between Surinam and the Chesapeake - in the seventeenth through early twentieth centuries. Ecological changes made these landscapes especially suitable for the vector mosquitoes of yellow fever and malaria, and these diseases wrought systematic havoc among armies and would-be settlers. Because yellow fever confers immunity on survivors of the disease, and because malaria confers resistance, these diseases played partisan roles in the struggles for empire and revolution, attacking some populations more severely than others. In particular, yellow fever and malaria attacked newcomers to the region, which helped keep the Spanish Empire Spanish in the face of predatory rivals in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. In the late eighteenth and through the nineteenth century, these diseases helped revolutions to succeed by decimating forces sent out from Europe to prevent them.
Learn more about John McNeill's research and teaching at his faculty webpage.

Writers Read: John R. McNeill.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Inside Insurgency"

New from NYU Press: Inside Insurgency: Violence, Civilians, and Revolutionary Group Behavior by Claire Metelits.

About the book, from the publisher:
Once considered nationalists, many insurgent groups are now labeled as terrorists and thought to endanger not just their own people, but the world. As the unprecedented trends in political violence among insurgents have taken shape, and as hundreds of thousands of civilians continue to be displaced, brutalized, and killed, Inside Insurgency provides startling insights that help to explain the nature of insurgent behavior.

Claire Metelits draws from over 100 interviews with insurgent soldiers, commanders, government officials, scholars, and civilians in Sudan, Kenya, Colombia, Turkey, and Iraq, offering a new understanding of insurgent group behavior and providing compelling and intimate portraits of the SPLA, FARC, and PKK. The engaging narratives that emerge from her on-the-ground fieldwork provide incredibly valuable and accurate first-hand documentation of the tactics of some of the world’s most notorious insurgent groups. Inside Insurgency offers the reader a timely and intimate understanding of these movements, and explains the changing behavior of insurgent groups toward the civilians they claim to represent.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Lost to the Collective"

New from Cornell University Press: Lost to the Collective: Suicide and the Promise of Soviet Socialism, 1921-1929 by Kenneth M. Pinnow.

About the book, from the publisher:
As an act of unbridled individualism, suicide confronted the Bolshevik regime with a dilemma that challenged both its theory and its practice and helped give rise to a social science state whose primary purpose was the comprehensive and rational care of the population. Labeled a social illness and represented as a vestige of prerevolutionary culture, suicide in the 1920s raised troubling questions about individual health and agency in a socialist society, provided a catalyst for the development of new social bonds and subjective outlooks, and became a marker of the country's incomplete move toward a collectivist society. Determined to eradicate the scourge of self-destruction, the regime created a number of institutions and commissions to identify pockets of disease and foster an integrated social order. The Soviet confrontation with suicide reveals with particular force the regime's anxieties about the relationship between the state and the individual.

In Lost to the Collective, Kenneth M. Pinnow suggests the compatibility of the social sciences with Bolshevik dictatorship and highlights their illusory promises of control over the everyday life of groups and individuals. The book traces the creation of national statistical studies, the course of medical debates about causation and expert knowledge, and the formation of a distinct set of practices in the Bolshevik Party and Red Army that aimed to identify the suicidal individual and establish his or her significance for the rest of society. Arguing that the Soviet regime represents a particular response to the pressures and challenges of modernity, the book examines Soviet socialism-from its intense concern with the individual to its quest to build an integrated society-as one response to the larger question of human unity.

Monday, January 11, 2010

"The Two Hendricks"

New from Harvard University Press: The Two Hendricks: Unraveling a Mohawk Mystery by Eric Hinderaker.

About the book, from the publisher:
In September 1755, the most famous Indian in the world—a Mohawk leader known in English as King Hendrick—died in the Battle of Lake George. He was fighting the French in defense of British claims to North America, and his death marked the end of an era in Anglo-Iroquois relations. He was not the first Mohawk of that name to attract international attention. Half a century earlier, another Hendrick worked with powerful leaders in the frontier town of Albany. He cemented his transatlantic fame when he traveled to London as one of the “four Indian kings.”

Until recently the two Hendricks were thought to be the same person. Eric Hinderaker sets the record straight, reconstructing the lives of these two men in a compelling narrative that reveals the complexities of the Anglo-Iroquois alliance, a cornerstone of Britain’s imperial vision. The two Hendricks became famous because, as Mohawks, they were members of the Iroquois confederacy and colonial leaders believed the Iroquois held the balance of power in the Northeast. As warriors, the two Hendricks aided Britain against the French; as Christians, they adopted the trappings of civility; as sachems, they stressed cooperation rather than bloody confrontation with New York and Great Britain.

Yet the alliance was never more than a mixed blessing for the two Hendricks and the Iroquois. Hinderaker offers a poignant personal story that restores the lost individuality of the two Hendricks while illuminating the tumultuous imperial struggle for North America.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Our Army"

New from Princeton University Press: Our Army: Soldiers, Politics, and American Civil-Military Relations by Jason K. Dempsey.

About the book, from the publisher:
Conventional wisdom holds that the American military is overwhelmingly conservative and Republican, and extremely political. Our Army paints a more complex picture, demonstrating that while army officers are likely to be more conservative, rank-and-file soldiers hold political views that mirror those of the American public as a whole, and army personnel are less partisan and politically engaged than most civilians.

Assumptions about political attitudes in the U.S. Army are based largely on studies focusing on the senior ranks, yet these senior officers comprise only about 6 percent of America's fighting force. Jason Dempsey provides the first random-sample survey that also covers the social and political attitudes held by enlisted men and women in the army. Uniting these findings with those from another unique survey he conducted among cadets at the United States Military Academy on the eve of the 2004 presidential election, Dempsey offers the most detailed look yet at how service members of all ranks approach politics. He shows that many West Point cadets view political conservatism as part of being an officer, raising important questions about how the army indoctrinates officers politically. But Dempsey reveals that the rank-and-file army is not nearly as homogeneous as we think--or as politically active--and that political attitudes across the ranks are undergoing a substantial shift.

Our Army adds needed nuance to our understanding of a profession that seems increasingly distant from the average American.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

"Heisenberg in the Atomic Age"

New from Cambridge University Press: Heisenberg in the Atomic Age: Science and the Public Sphere by Cathryn Carson.

About the book, from the publisher:
The end of the Second World War opened a new era for science in public life. Heisenberg in the Atomic Age explores the transformations of science’s public presence in the postwar Federal Republic of Germany. It shows how Heisenberg’s philosophical commentaries, circulating in the mass media, secured his role as science’s public philosopher, and it reflects on his policy engagements and public political stands, which helped redefine the relationship between science and the state. With deep archival grounding, the book tracks Heisenberg’s interactions with intellectuals from Heidegger to Habermas and political leaders from Adenauer to Brandt. It also traces his evolving statements about his wartime research on nuclear fission for the National Socialist regime. Working between the history of science and German history, the book’s central theme is the place of scientific rationality in public life – after the atomic bomb, in the wake of the Third Reich.
Read an excerpt from Heisenberg in the Atomic Age.

Friday, January 8, 2010

"A Tenth of a Second"

New from the University of Chicago Press: A Tenth of a Second: A History by Jimena Canales.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the late fifteenth century, clocks acquired minute hands. A century later, second hands appeared. But it wasn’t until the 1850s that instruments could recognize a tenth of a second, and, once they did, the impact on modern science and society was profound. Revealing the history behind this infinitesimal interval, A Tenth of a Second sheds new light on modernity and illuminates the work of important thinkers of the last two centuries.

Tracing debates about the nature of time, causality, and free will, as well as the introduction of modern technologies—telegraphy, photography, cinematography—Jimena Canales locates the reverberations of this “perceptual moment” throughout culture. Once scientists associated the tenth of a second with the speed of thought, they developed reaction time experiments with lasting implications for experimental psychology, physiology, and optics. Astronomers and physicists struggled to control the profound consequences of results that were a tenth of a second off. And references to the interval were part of a general inquiry into time, consciousness, and sensory experience that involved rethinking the contributions of Descartes and Kant.

Considering its impact on much longer time periods and featuring appearances by Henri Bergson, Walter Benjamin, and Albert Einstein, among others, A Tenth of a Second is ultimately an important contribution to history and a novel perspective on modernity.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"Happiness Around the World"

New from Oxford University Press: Happiness Around the World: The paradox of happy peasants and miserable millionaires by Carol Graham.

About the book, from the publisher:
For centuries the pursuit of happiness was the preserve of either the philosopher or the voluptuary and took second place to the basic need to survive on the one hand, and the pressure to conform to social conventions and morality on the other. More recently there is a burgeoning interest in the study of happiness, in the social sciences and in the media. Can we really answer the question what makes people happy? Is it really grounded in credible methods and data? Is there consistency in the determinants of happiness across countries and cultures? Are happiness levels innate to individuals or can policy and the environment make a difference? How is happiness affected by poverty? By economic progress? Is happiness a viable objective for policy? This book is an attempt to answer these questions, based on research on the determinants of happiness in countries around the world, ranging from Peru and Russia to the U.S. and Afghanistan.

The book reviews the theory and concepts of happiness, explaining how these concepts underpin a line of research which is both an attempt to understand the determinants of happiness and a tool for understanding the effects of a host of phenomena on human well being. The research finds surprising consistency in the determinants of happiness across levels of development. Yet there is still much debate over the relationship between happiness and income. The book explores the effects of many mediating factors in that relationship, ranging from macroeconomic trends and democracy to inequality and crime. It also reviews what we know about happiness and health and how that relationship varies according to income levels and health status. It concludes by discussing the potential--and the potential pitfalls--of using happiness surveys to contribute to better public policy.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Lost Illusions"

New from Harvard University Press: Lost Illusions: The Politics of Publishing in Nineteenth-Century France by Christine Haynes.

About the book, from the publisher:
Linking the study of business and politics, Christine Haynes reconstructs the passionate and protracted debate over the development of the book trade in nineteenth-century France. While traditionalists claimed that the business of literature required tight state regulation, an increasingly influential group of reformers argued that books were ordinary commodities whose production and distribution were best left to the free market.

The French Revolution overthrew the system of guilds and privileges that had governed the trade under the Old Regime. In the struggle that followed, the new men known as ├ęditeurs (publishers) pushed for increased liberalization of the market. They relied on collective organization, especially a professional association known as the Cercle de la Librairie, to advocate for abolition of licensing requirements and extension of literary rights. Haynes shows how publishers succeeded in transforming the industry from a tightly controlled trade into a free enterprise, with dramatic but paradoxical consequences for literature in France.

The modern literary marketplace was the outcome of a political struggle both within the publishing world and between the book trade and the state. In tracing the contest over literary production in France, Haynes emphasizes the role of the Second Empire in enacting—but also in limiting—press freedom and literary property.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"Remembering Survival"

New from W.W. Norton: Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave-Labor Camp by Christopher R. Browning.

About the book, from the publisher:
A remarkable story of survival for almost three hundred Jews who live to recount the brutalities of a Nazi work camp.

In 1972 the Hamburg State Court acquitted Walter Becker, the German chief of police in the Polish city of Starachowice, of war crimes committed against Jews. Thirty years before, Becker had been responsible for liquidating the nearby Jewish ghetto, sending nearly 4,000 Jews to their deaths at Treblinka and 1,600 to slave-labor factories. The shocking acquittal, delivered despite the incriminating eyewitness testimony of survivors, drives this author’s inquiry.

Drawing on the rich testimony of survivors of the Starachowice slave-labor camps, Christopher R. Browning examines the experiences and survival strategies of the Jewish prisoners and the policies and personnel of the Nazi guard. From the killings in the market square in 1942 through the succession of brutal camp regimes, there are stories of heroism, of corruption and retribution, of desperate choices forced on husbands and wives, parents and children. In the end, the ties of family and neighbor are the sinews of survival.

Monday, January 4, 2010

"Piracy"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates by Adrian Johns.

About the book, from the publisher:
Since the rise of Napster and other file sharing services in its wake, most of us have assumed that intellectual piracy is a product of the digital age and that it threatens creative expression as never before. The Motion Picture Association of America, for instance, claimed that in 2005 the film industry lost $2.3 billion in revenue to piracy online. But here Adrian Johns shows that piracy has a much longer and more vital history than we have realized—one that has been largely forgotten and is little understood.

Piracy explores the intellectual property wars from the advent of print culture in the fifteenth century to the reign of the Internet in the twenty-first. Written with a historian’s flair for narrative and sparkling detail, the book swarms throughout with characters of genius, principle, cunning, and outright criminal intent: in the wars over piracy, it is the victims—from Charles Dickens to Bob Dylan—who have always been the best known, but the principal players—the pirates themselves—have long languished in obscurity, and it is their stories especially that Johns brings to life in these vivid pages.

Brimming with broader implications for today’s debates over open access, fair use, free culture, and the like, Johns’s book ultimately argues that piracy has always stood at the center of our attempts to reconcile creativity and commerce—and that piracy has been an engine of social, technological, and intellectual innovations as often as it has been their adversary. From Cervantes to Sonny Bono, from Maria Callas to Microsoft, from Grub Street to Google, no chapter in the story of piracy evades Johns’s graceful analysis in what will be the definitive history of the subject for years to come.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"Free for All"

New from the University of California Press: Free for All: Fixing School Food in America by Janet Poppendieck.

About the book, from the publisher:
How did our children end up eating nachos, pizza, and Tater Tots for lunch? Taking us on an eye-opening journey into the nation's school kitchens, this superbly researched book is the first to provide a comprehensive assessment of school food in the United States. Janet Poppendieck explores the deep politics of food provision from multiple perspectives--history, policy, nutrition, environmental sustainability, taste, and more. How did we get into the absurd situation in which nutritionally regulated meals compete with fast food items and snack foods loaded with sugar, salt, and fat? What is the nutritional profile of the federal meals? How well are they reaching students who need them? Opening a window onto our culture as a whole, Poppendieck reveals the forces--the financial troubles of schools, the commercialization of childhood, the reliance on market models--that are determining how lunch is served. She concludes with a sweeping vision for change: fresh, healthy food for all children as a regular part of their school day.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"Lenin's Brother"

New from W.W. Norton: Lenin's Brother: The Origins of the October Revolution by Philip Pomper.

About the book, from the publisher:
The gripping untold story of a terrorist leader whose death would catapult his brother—Lenin—to revolution.

In 1886, Alexander Ulyanov, a brilliant biology student, joined a small group of students at St. Petersburg University to plot the assassination of Russia’s tsar. Known as “Second First March” for the date of their action, this group failed disastrously in their mission, and its leaders, Alexander included, were executed. History has largely forgotten Alexander, but for the most important consequence of his execution: his younger brother, Vladimir, went on to lead the October Revolution of 1917 and head the new Soviet government under his revolutionary pseudonym “Lenin.”

Probing the Ulyanov family archives, historian Philip Pomper uncovers Alexander’s transformation from ascetic student to terrorist, and the impact his fate had on Lenin. Vividly portraying the psychological dynamics of a family that would change history, Lenin’s Brother is a perspective-changing glimpse into Lenin’s formative years—and his subsequent behavior as a revolutionary.

Friday, January 1, 2010

"Little Rock"

New from Princeton University Press: Little Rock: Race and Resistance at Central High School by Karen Anderson.

About the book, from the publisher:
The desegregation crisis in Little Rock is a landmark of American history: on September 4, 1957, after the Supreme Court struck down racial segregation in public schools, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called up the National Guard to surround Little Rock Central High School, preventing black students from going in. On September 25, 1957, nine black students, escorted by federal troops, gained entrance. With grace and depth, Little Rock provides fresh perspectives on the individuals, especially the activists and policymakers, involved in these dramatic events. Looking at a wide variety of evidence and sources, Karen Anderson examines American racial politics in relation to changes in youth culture, sexuality, gender relations, and economics, and she locates the conflicts of Little Rock within the larger political and historical context.

Anderson considers how white groups at the time, including middle class women and the working class, shaped American race and class relations. She documents white women's political mobilizations and, exploring political resentments, sexual fears, and religious affiliations, illuminates the reasons behind segregationists' missteps and blunders. Anderson explains how the business elite in Little Rock retained power in the face of opposition, and identifies the moral failures of business leaders and moderates who sought the appearance of federal compliance rather than actual racial justice, leaving behind a legacy of white flight, poor urban schools, and institutional racism.

Probing the conflicts of school desegregation in the mid-century South, Little Rock casts new light on connections between social inequality and the culture wars of modern America.