Saturday, November 30, 2013

"A Union Forever"

New from Cornell University Press: A Union Forever: The Irish Question and U.S. Foreign Relations in the Victorian Age by David Sim.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the mid-nineteenth century the Irish question—the governance of the island of Ireland—demanded attention on both sides of the Atlantic. In A Union Forever, David Sim examines how Irish nationalists and their American sympathizers attempted to convince legislators and statesmen to use the burgeoning global influence of the United States to achieve Irish independence. Simultaneously, he tracks how American politicians used the Irish question as means of furthering their own diplomatic and political ends.

Combining an innovative transnational methodology with attention to the complexities of American statecraft, Sim rewrites the diplomatic history of this neglected topic. He considers the impact that nonstate actors had on formal affairs between the United States and Britain, finding that not only did Irish nationalists fail to involve the United States in their cause but actually fostered an Anglo-American rapprochement in the final third of the nineteenth century. Their failures led them to seek out new means of promoting Irish self-determination, including an altogether more radical, revolutionary strategy that would alter the course of Irish and British history over the next century.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 29, 2013

"America's Great Game"

New from Basic Books: America's Great Game: The CIA's Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East by Hugh Wilford.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the 9/11 attacks to waterboarding to drone strikes, relations between the United States and the Middle East seem caught in a downward spiral. And all too often, the Central Intelligence Agency has made the situation worse. But this crisis was not a historical inevitability — far from it. Indeed, the earliest generation of CIA operatives was actually the region's staunchest western ally.

In America's Great Game, celebrated intelligence historian Hugh Wilford reveals the surprising history of the CIA's pro-Arab operations in the 1940s and 50s by tracing the work of the agency's three most influential — and colorful — officers in the Middle East. Kermit Kim Roosevelt was the grandson of Theodore Roosevelt and the first head of CIA covert action in the region; his cousin, Archie Roosevelt, was a Middle East scholar and chief of the Beirut station. The two Roosevelts joined combined forces with Miles Copeland, a maverick covert operations specialist who had joined the American intelligence establishment during World War II. With their deep knowledge of Middle Eastern affairs, the three men were heirs to an American missionary tradition that engaged Arabs and Muslims with respect and empathy. Yet they were also fascinated by imperial intrigue, and were eager to play a modern rematch of the Great Game, the nineteenth-century struggle between Britain and Russia for control over central Asia. Despite their good intentions, these Arabists propped up authoritarian regimes, attempted secretly to sway public opinion in America against support for the new state of Israel, and staged coups that irrevocably destabilized the nations with which they empathized. Their efforts, and ultimate failure, would shape the course of U.S. Middle Eastern relations for decades to come.

Based on a vast array of declassified government records, private papers, and personal interviews, America's Great Game tells the riveting story of the merry band of CIA officers whose spy games forever changed U.S. foreign policy.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 28, 2013

"How Race Is Made in America"

New from the University of California Press: How Race Is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts by Natalia Molina.

About the book, from the publisher:
How Race Is Made in America examines Mexican Americans—from 1924, when American law drastically reduced immigration into the United States, to 1965, when many quotas were abolished—to understand how broad themes of race and citizenship are constructed. These years shaped the emergence of what Natalia Molina describes as an immigration regime, which defined the racial categories that continue to influence perceptions in the United States about Mexican Americans, race, and ethnicity.

Molina demonstrates that despite the multiplicity of influences that help shape our concept of race, common themes prevail. Examining legal, political, social, and cultural sources related to immigration, she advances the theory that our understanding of race is socially constructed in relational ways—that is, in correspondence to other groups. Molina introduces and explains her central theory, racial scripts, which highlights the ways in which the lives of racialized groups are linked across time and space and thereby affect one another. How Race Is Made in America also shows that these racial scripts are easily adopted and adapted to apply to different racial groups.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"Accountability for Killing"

New from Oxford University Press: Accountability for Killing: Moral Responsibility for Collateral Damage in America's Post-9/11 Wars by Neta C. Crawford.

About the book, from the publisher:
The unintended deaths of civilians in war are too often dismissed as unavoidable, inevitable, and accidental. And despite the best efforts of the U.S. to avoid them, civilian casualties in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan have been a regular feature of the United States' wars after 9/11. In Accountability for Killing, Neta C. Crawford focuses on the causes of these many episodes of foreseeable collateral damage and the moral responsibility for them. The dominant paradigm of legal and moral responsibility in war today stresses both intention and individual accountability. Deliberate killing of civilians is outlawed and international law blames individual soldiers and commanders for such killing. An individual soldier may be sentenced life in prison or death for deliberately killing even a small number of civilians, but the large scale killing of dozens or even hundreds of civilians may be forgiven if it was unintentional--"incidental"--to a military operation. The very law that protects noncombatants from deliberate killing may allow many episodes of unintended killing. Under international law, civilian killing may be forgiven if it was unintended and incidental to a militarily necessary operation.

Given the nature of contemporary war, where military organizations-training, and the choice of weapons, doctrine, and tactics-create the conditions for systemic collateral damage, Crawford contends that placing moral responsibility for systemic collateral damage on individuals is misplaced. She develops a new theory of organizational moral agency and responsibility, and shows how the US military exercised moral agency and moral responsibility to reduce the incidence of collateral damage in America's most recent wars. Indeed, when the U.S. military and its allies saw that the perception of collateral damage killing was causing it to lose support in the war zones, it moved to a "population centric" doctrine, putting civilian protection at the heart of its strategy.

Trenchant, original, and ranging across security studies, international law, ethics, and international relations, Accountability for Killing will reshape our understanding of the ethics of contemporary war.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Beyond the Balance of Power"

New from Cambridge University Press: Beyond the Balance of Power: France and the Politics of National Security in the Era of the First World War by Peter Jackson.

About the book, from the publisher:
This is a major new study of French foreign and security policy before, during and after the First World War. Peter Jackson examines the interplay between two contending conceptions of security: the first based on traditional practices of power politics and the second on internationalist doctrines that emerged in the late nineteenth century. He pays particular attention to the social and political context in which security policy was made and to the cultural dynamics of the policy-making process. The result is a comprehensive reassessment of France's security policy in the era of the Great War. The book reconsiders the evolution of French war aims and reinterprets the peace policy of the Clemenceau government in 1919. It also provides a new perspective on the foreign policy of successive French governments in the early 1920s. It shows that internationalist ideas were far more influential over this entire period than is commonly understood.
Peter Jackson is Professor of Global Security in the History Department at the University of Glasgow.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 25, 2013

"The American Left"

New from Edinburgh and Oxford University Presses: The American Left: Its Impact on Politics and Society since 1900 by Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones.

About the book, from the publisher:
Only the American right has ever really recognised the potency of the American left. Now, Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones fully details the left's numerous achievements, including the welfare state, opposing militarism, reshaping of American culture, black rights and civil liberties, awakening the USA to the dangers of fascism and great public enterprises such as the late Twin Towers. Jones tells the full story of the US's left wing: how the socialists of the Old Left gave way by the 1960s to the anti-war militants of the New Left, and how they in turn gave way to a "Newer Left" that advocated causes such as gay rights and multiculturalism. Bringing the discussion into the 21st century, he shows how the post-2000 Bush administration succumbed to the "socialist" nationalisation it despised, and hails Barack Obama as a president for the left.
Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones was born in Carmarthen in Wales and was a postdoc at Harvard after obtaining his Ph.D. from Cambridge University. He has been an anti-apartheid campaigner and radio and TV broadcaster. President of the Scottish Association for the Study of America, he writes about US social and intelligence history, his latest books being In Spies We Trust: The Story of Western Intelligence and The American Left: Its Impact on Politics and Society since 1900.

Learn about Jeffreys-Jones's top ten classic spy novels.

The Page 99 Test: In Spies We Trust.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 24, 2013

"When I Wear My Alligator Boots"

New from the University of California Press: When I Wear My Alligator Boots: Narco-Culture in the U.S. Mexico Borderlands by Shaylih Muehlmann.

About the book, from the publisher:
When I Wear My Alligator Boots examines how the lives of dispossessed men and women are affected by the rise of narcotrafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border. In particular, the book explores a crucial tension at the heart of the “war on drugs”: despite the violence and suffering brought on by drug cartels, for the rural poor in Mexico’s north, narcotrafficking offers one of the few paths to upward mobility and is a powerful source of cultural meanings and local prestige.

In the borderlands, traces of the drug trade are everywhere: from gang violence in cities to drug addiction in rural villages, from the vibrant folklore popularized in the narco-corridos of Norteña music to the icon of Jesús Malverde, the “patron saint” of narcos, tucked beneath the shirts of local people. In When I Wear My Alligator Boots, the author explores the everyday reality of the drug trade by living alongside its low-level workers, who live at the edges of the violence generated by the militarization of the war on drugs. Rather than telling the story of the powerful cartel leaders, the book focuses on the women who occasionally make their sandwiches, the low-level businessmen who launder their money, the addicts who consume their products, the mules who carry their money and drugs across borders, and the men and women who serve out prison sentences when their bosses' operations go awry.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 23, 2013

"Building the Old Time Religion"

New from New York University Press: Building the Old Time Religion: Women Evangelists in the Progressive Era by Priscilla Pope-Levison.

About the book, from the publisher:
During the Progessive Era, a period of unprecedented ingenuity, women evangelists built the old time religion with brick and mortar, uniforms and automobiles, fresh converts and devoted protégés. Across America, entrepreneurial women founded churches, denominations, religious training schools, rescue homes, rescue missions, and evangelistic organizations. Until now, these intrepid women have gone largely unnoticed, though their collective yet unchoreographed decision to build institutions in the service of evangelism marked a seismic shift in American Christianity.

In this ground-breaking study, Priscilla Pope-Levison dusts off the unpublished letters, diaries, sermons, and yearbooks of these pioneers to share their personal tribulations and public achievements. The effect is staggering. With an uncanny eye for essential details and a knack for historical nuance, Pope-Levison breathes life into not just one or two of these women—but two dozen.

The evangelistic empire of Aimee Semple McPherson represents the pinnacle of this shift from itinerancy to institution building. Her name remains legendary. Yet she built her institutions on the foundation of the work of women evangelists who preceded her. Their stories—untold until now—reveal the cunning and strength of women who forged a path for every generation, including our own, to follow.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 22, 2013

"The Color of Success"

New from Princeton University Press: The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority by Ellen D. Wu.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Color of Success tells of the astonishing transformation of Asians in the United States from the "yellow peril" to "model minorities"--peoples distinct from the white majority but lauded as well-assimilated, upwardly mobile, and exemplars of traditional family values--in the middle decades of the twentieth century. As Ellen Wu shows, liberals argued for the acceptance of these immigrant communities into the national fold, charging that the failure of America to live in accordance with its democratic ideals endangered the country's aspirations to world leadership.

Weaving together myriad perspectives, Wu provides an unprecedented view of racial reform and the contradictions of national belonging in the civil rights era. She highlights the contests for power and authority within Japanese and Chinese America alongside the designs of those external to these populations, including government officials, social scientists, journalists, and others. And she demonstrates that the invention of the model minority took place in multiple arenas, such as battles over zoot suiters leaving wartime internment camps, the juvenile delinquency panic of the 1950s, Hawaii statehood, and the African American freedom movement. Together, these illuminate the impact of foreign relations on the domestic racial order and how the nation accepted Asians as legitimate citizens while continuing to perceive them as indelible outsiders.

By charting the emergence of the model minority stereotype, The Color of Success reveals that this far-reaching, politically charged process continues to have profound implications for how Americans understand race, opportunity, and nationhood.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 21, 2013

"After Civil Rights"

New from Princeton University Press: After Civil Rights: Racial Realism in the New American Workplace by John Skrentny.

About the book, from the publisher:
What role should racial difference play in the American workplace? As a nation, we rely on civil rights law to address this question, and the monumental Civil Rights Act of 1964 seemingly answered it: race must not be a factor in workplace decisions. In After Civil Rights, John Skrentny contends that after decades of mass immigration, many employers, Democratic and Republican political leaders, and advocates have adopted a new strategy to manage race and work. Race is now relevant not only in negative cases of discrimination, but in more positive ways as well. In today's workplace, employers routinely practice "racial realism," where they view race as real--as a job qualification. Many believe employee racial differences, and sometimes immigrant status, correspond to unique abilities or evoke desirable reactions from clients or citizens. They also see racial diversity as a way to increase workplace dynamism. The problem is that when employers see race as useful for organizational effectiveness, they are often in violation of civil rights law.

After Civil Rights examines this emerging strategy in a wide range of employment situations, including the low-skilled sector, professional and white-collar jobs, and entertainment and media. In this important book, Skrentny urges us to acknowledge the racial realism already occurring, and lays out a series of reforms that, if enacted, would bring the law and lived experience more in line, yet still remain respectful of the need to protect the civil rights of all workers.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Fortune Tellers"

New from Princeton University Press: Fortune Tellers: The Story of America's First Economic Forecasters by Walter Friedman.

About the book, from the publishers:
The period leading up to the Great Depression witnessed the rise of the economic forecasters, pioneers who sought to use the tools of science to predict the future, with the aim of profiting from their forecasts. This book chronicles the lives and careers of the men who defined this first wave of economic fortune tellers, men such as Roger Babson, Irving Fisher, John Moody, C. J. Bullock, and Warren Persons. They competed to sell their distinctive methods of prediction to investors and businesses, and thrived in the boom years that followed World War I. Yet, almost to a man, they failed to predict the devastating crash of 1929.

Walter Friedman paints vivid portraits of entrepreneurs who shared a belief that the rational world of numbers and reason could tame--or at least foresee--the irrational gyrations of the market. Despite their failures, this first generation of economic forecasters helped to make the prediction of economic trends a central economic activity, and shed light on the mechanics of financial markets by providing a range of statistics and information about individual firms. They also raised questions that are still relevant today. What is science and what is merely guesswork in forecasting? What motivates people to buy forecasts? Does the act of forecasting set in motion unforeseen events that can counteract the forecast made?

Masterful and compelling, Fortune Tellers highlights the risk and uncertainty that are inherent to capitalism itself.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"White-Collar Government"

New from the University of Chicago Press: White-Collar Government: The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policy Making by Nicholas Carnes.

About the book, from the publisher:
Eight of the last twelve presidents were millionaires when they took office. Millionaires have a majority on the Supreme Court, and they also make up majorities in Congress, where a background in business or law is the norm and the average member has spent less than two percent of his or her adult life in a working-class job. Why is it that most politicians in America are so much better off than the people who elect them— and does the social class divide between citizens and their representatives matter?

With White-Collar Government, Nicholas Carnes answers this question with a resounding—and disturbing—yes. Legislators’ socioeconomic backgrounds, he shows, have a profound impact on both how they view the issues and the choices they make in office. Scant representation from among the working class almost guarantees that the policymaking process will be skewed toward outcomes that favor the upper class. It matters that the wealthiest Americans set the tax rates for the wealthy, that white-collar professionals choose the minimum wage for blue-collar workers, and that people who have always had health insurance decide whether or not to help those without. And while there is no one cause for this crisis of representation, Carnes shows that the problem does not stem from a lack of qualified candidates from among the working class. The solution, he argues, must involve a variety of changes, from the equalization of campaign funding to a shift in the types of candidates the parties support.

If we want a government for the people, we have to start working toward a government that is truly by the people. White-Collar Government challenges long-held notions about the causes of political inequality in the United States and speaks to enduring questions about representation and political accountability.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 18, 2013

"The First Sense"

New from The MIT Press: The First Sense: A Philosophical Study of Human Touch by Matthew Fulkerson.

About the book, from the publisher:
It is through touch that we are able to interact directly with the world; it is our primary conduit of both pleasure and pain. Touch may be our most immediate and powerful sense—“the first sense" because of the central role it plays in experience. In this book, Matthew Fulkerson proposes that human touch, despite its functional diversity, is a single, unified sensory modality. Fulkerson offers a philosophical account of touch, reflecting the interests, methods, and approach that define contemporary philosophy; but his argument is informed throughout by the insights and constraints of empirical work on touch. Human touch is a multidimensional object of investigation, Fulkerson writes, best served by using a variety of methods and approaches.

To defend his view of the unity of touch, Fulkerson describes and argues for a novel, unifying role for exploratory action in touch. He goes on to fill in the details of this unified, exploratory form of perception, offering philosophical accounts of tool use and distal touch, the representational structure of tangible properties, the spatial content of touch, and the role of pleasure in tactual experience. Fulkerson’s argument for the unique role played by exploratory action departs notably from traditional vision-centric philosophical approaches to perception, challenging the received view that action plays the same role in all sensory modalities. The robust philosophical account of touch he offers in The First Sense has significant implications for our general understanding of perception and perceptual experience.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 17, 2013

"The Animal in Ottoman Egypt"

New from Oxford University Press: The Animal in Ottoman Egypt by Alan Mikhail.

About the book, from the publisher:
Since humans first emerged as a distinct species, they have eaten, fought, prayed, and moved with other animals. In this stunningly original and conceptually rich book, historian Alan Mikhail puts the history of human-animal relations at the center of transformations in the Ottoman Empire from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries.

Mikhail uses the history of the empire's most important province, Egypt, to explain how human interactions with livestock, dogs, and charismatic megafauna changed more in a few centuries than they had for millennia. The human world became one in which animals' social and economic functions were diminished. Without animals, humans had to remake the societies they had built around intimate and cooperative interactions between species. The political and even evolutionary consequences of this separation of people and animals were wrenching and often violent. This book's interspecies histories underscore continuities between the early modern period and the nineteenth century and help to reconcile Ottoman and Arab histories. Further, the book highlights the importance of integrating Ottoman history with issues in animal studies, economic history, early modern history, and environmental history.

Carefully crafted and compellingly argued, The Animal in Ottoman Egypt tells the story of the high price humans and animals paid as they entered the modern world.
Visit Alan Mikhail's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 16, 2013

"The Transplant Imaginary"

New from the University of California Press: The Transplant Imaginary: Mechanical Hearts, Animal Parts, and Moral Thinking in Highly Experimental Science by Lesley A. Sharp.

About the book, from the publisher:
In The Transplant Imaginary, author Lesley Sharp explores the extraordinarily surgically successful realm of organ transplantation, which is plagued worldwide by the scarcity of donated human parts, a quandary that generates ongoing debates over the marketing of organs as patients die waiting for replacements. These widespread anxieties within and beyond medicine over organ scarcity inspire seemingly futuristic trajectories in other fields. Especially prominent, longstanding, and promising domains include xenotransplantation, or efforts to cull fleshy organs from animals for human use, and bioengineering, a field peopled with “tinkerers” intent on designing implantable mechanical devices, where the heart is of special interest.

Scarcity, suffering, and sacrifice are pervasive and, seemingly, inescapable themes that frame the transplant imaginary. Xenotransplant experts and bioengineers at work in labs in five Anglophone countries share a marked determination to eliminate scarcity and human suffering, certain that their efforts might one day altogether eliminate any need for parts of human origin. A premise that drives Sharp’s compelling ethnographic project is that high-stakes experimentation inspires moral thinking, informing scientists’ determination to redirect the surgical trajectory of transplantation and, ultimately, alter the integrity of the human form.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 15, 2013

"Saints and Citizens"

New from the University of California Press: Saints and Citizens: Indigenous Histories of Colonial Missions and Mexican California by Lisbeth Haas.

About the book, from the publisher:
Saints and Citizens is a bold new excavation of the history of Indigenous people in California in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, showing how the missions became sites of their authority, memory, and identity. Shining a forensic eye on colonial encounters in Chumash, Luiseño, and Yokuts territories, Lisbeth Haas depicts how native painters incorporated their cultural iconography in mission painting and how leaders harnessed new knowledge for control in other ways. Through her portrayal of highly varied societies, she explores the politics of Indigenous citizenship in the independent Mexican nation through events such as the Chumash War of 1824, native emancipation after 1826, and the political pursuit of Indigenous rights and land through 1848.
Read Chapter 1 of Saints and Citizens.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 14, 2013

"Death to Tyrants!"

New from Princeton University Press: Death to Tyrants!: Ancient Greek Democracy and the Struggle against Tyranny by David A. Teegarden.

About the book, from the publisher:
Death to Tyrants! is the first comprehensive study of ancient Greek tyrant-killing legislation--laws that explicitly gave individuals incentives to "kill a tyrant." David Teegarden demonstrates that the ancient Greeks promulgated these laws to harness the dynamics of mass uprisings and preserve popular democratic rule in the face of anti-democratic threats. He presents detailed historical and sociopolitical analyses of each law and considers a variety of issues: What is the nature of an anti-democratic threat? How would various provisions of the laws help pro-democrats counter those threats? And did the laws work?

Teegarden argues that tyrant-killing legislation facilitated pro-democracy mobilization both by encouraging brave individuals to strike the first blow against a nondemocratic regime and by convincing others that it was safe to follow the tyrant killer's lead. Such legislation thus deterred anti-democrats from staging a coup by ensuring that they would be overwhelmed by their numerically superior opponents. Drawing on modern social science models, Teegarden looks at how the institution of public law affects the behavior of individuals and groups, thereby exploring the foundation of democracy's persistence in the ancient Greek world. He also provides the first English translation of the tyrant-killing laws from Eretria and Ilion.

By analyzing crucial ancient Greek tyrant-killing legislation, Death to Tyrants! explains how certain laws enabled citizens to draw on collective strength in order to defend and preserve their democracy in the face of motivated opposition.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


New from Oxford University Press: Wounded: A New History of the Western Front in World War I by Emily Mayhew.

About the book, from the publisher:
The number of soldiers wounded in World War I is, in itself, devastating: over 21 million military wounded, and nearly 10 million killed. On the battlefield, the injuries were shocking, unlike anything those in the medical field had ever witnessed. The bullets hit fast and hard, went deep and took bits of dirty uniform and airborne soil particles in with them. Soldier after soldier came in with the most dreaded kinds of casualty: awful, deep, ragged wounds to their heads, faces and abdomens. And yet the medical personnel faced with these unimaginable injuries adapted with amazing aptitude, thinking and reacting on their feet to save millions of lives.

In Wounded, Emily Mayhew tells the history of the Western Front from a new perspective: the medical network that arose seemingly overnight to help sick and injured soldiers. These men and women pulled injured troops from the hellscape of trench, shell crater, and no man's land, transported them to the rear, and treated them for everything from foot rot to poison gas, venereal disease to traumatic amputation from exploding shells. Drawing on hundreds of letters and diary entries, Mayhew allows readers to peer over the shoulder of the stretcher bearer who jumped into a trench and tried unsuccessfully to get a tightly packed line of soldiers out of the way, only to find that they were all dead. She takes us into dugouts where rescue teams awoke to dirt thrown on their faces by scores of terrified moles, digging frantically to escape the earth-shaking shellfire. Mayhew moves her account along the route followed by wounded men, from stretcher to aid station, from jolting ambulance to crowded operating tent, from railway station to the ship home, exploring actual cases of casualties who recorded their experiences.

Both comprehensive and intimate, this groundbreaking book captures an often neglected aspect of the soldier's world and a transformative moment in military and medical history.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Red Fortress"

New from Metropolitan Books: Red Fortress: History and Illusion in the Kremlin by Catherine Merridale.

About the book, from the publisher:
A magisterial, richly detailed history of the Kremlin, and of the centuries of Russian elites who have shaped it—and been shaped by it in turn

The Kremlin is the heart of the Russian state, a fortress whose blood-red walls have witnessed more than eight hundred years of political drama and extraordinary violence. It has been the seat of a priestly monarchy and a worldly church; it has served as a crossroads for diplomacy, trade, and espionage; it has survived earthquakes, devastating fires, and at least three revolutions. Its very name is a byword for enduring power. From Ivan the Terrible to Vladimir Putin, generations of Russian leaders have sought to use the Kremlin to legitimize their vision of statehood.

Drawing on a dazzling array of sources from hitherto unseen archives and rare collections, renowned historian Catherine Merridale traces the full history of this enigmatic fortress. The Kremlin has inspired innumerable myths, but no invented tales could be more dramatic than the operatic successions and savage betrayals that took place within its vast compound of palaces and cathedrals. Today, its sumptuous golden crosses and huge electric red stars blaze side by side as the Kremlin fulfills its centuries-old role, linking the country’s recent history to its distant past and proclaiming the eternal continuity of the Russian state.

More than an absorbing history of Russia’s most famous landmark, Red Fortress uses the Kremlin as a unique lens, bringing into focus the evolution of Russia’s culture and the meaning of its politics.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 11, 2013

"What's Wrong with the Poor?"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: What's Wrong with the Poor?: Psychiatry, Race, and the War on Poverty by Mical Raz.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the 1960s, policymakers and mental health experts joined forces to participate in President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty. In her insightful interdisciplinary history, physician and historian Mical Raz examines the interplay between psychiatric theory and social policy throughout that decade, ending with President Richard Nixon's 1971 veto of a bill that would have provided universal day care. She shows that this cooperation between mental health professionals and policymakers was based on an understanding of what poor men, women, and children lacked. This perception was rooted in psychiatric theories of deprivation focused on two overlapping sections of American society: the poor had less, and African Americans, disproportionately represented among America’s poor, were seen as having practically nothing.

Raz analyzes the political and cultural context that led child mental health experts, educators, and policymakers to embrace this deprivation-based theory and its translation into liberal social policy. Deprivation theory, she shows, continues to haunt social policy today, profoundly shaping how both health professionals and educators view children from low-income and culturally and linguistically diverse homes.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 10, 2013

"Prostitution, Modernity, and the Making of the Cuban Republic"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Prostitution, Modernity, and the Making of the Cuban Republic, 1840-1920 by Tiffany A. Sippial.

About the book, from the publisher:
Between 1840 and 1920, Cuba abolished slavery, fought two wars of independence, and was occupied by the United States before finally becoming an independent republic. Tiffany A. Sippial argues that during this tumultuous era, Cuba's struggle to define itself as a modern nation found focus in the social and sexual anxieties surrounding prostitution and its regulation.

Sippial shows how prostitution became a prism through which Cuba's hopes and fears were refracted. Widespread debate about prostitution created a forum in which issues of public morality, urbanity, modernity, and national identity were discussed with consequences not only for the capital city of Havana but also for the entire Cuban nation.

Republican social reformers ultimately recast Cuban prostitutes--and the island as a whole--as victims of colonial exploitation who could be saved only by a government committed to progressive reforms in line with other modernizing nations of the world. By 1913, Cuba had abolished the official regulation of prostitution, embracing a public health program that targeted the entire population, not just prostitutes. Sippial thus demonstrates the central role the debate about prostitution played in defining republican ideals in independent Cuba.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 9, 2013

"Current Flow"

New from Stanford University Press: Current Flow: The Electrification of Palestine by Ronen Shamir.

About the book, from the publisher:
Whether buried underfoot or strung overhead, electrical lines are omnipresent. Not only are most societies dependent on electrical infrastructure, but this infrastructure actively shapes electrified society. From the wires, poles, and generators themselves to the entrepreneurs, engineers, politicians, and advisors who determine the process of electrification, our electrical grids can create power—and politics—just as they transmit it.

Current Flow examines the history of electrification of British-ruled Palestine in the 1920s, as it marked, affirmed, and produced social, political, and economic difference between Arabs and Jews. Considering the interplay of British colonial interests, the Jewish-Zionist leanings of a commissioned electric company, and Arab opposition within the case of the Jaffa Power House, Ronen Shamir reveals how electrification was central in assembling a material infrastructure of ethno-national separation in Palestine long before "political partition plans" had ever been envisioned. Ultimately, Current Flow sheds new light on the history of Jewish-Arab relations and offers broader sociological insights into what happens when people are transformed from users into elements of networks.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 8, 2013

"From Hand to Handle"

New from Oxford University Press: From Hand to Handle: The First Industrial Revolution by Lawrence Barham.

About the book, from the publisher:
Mankind's utter dependency on technology extends back approximately three million years to the first stone tools, but it was only with the innovation of hafting, some 300,000 years ago, that technology took its first modern form and revolutionized our social and economic lives. The development of handles and shafts, which were added to some tools previously made of single materials and hand-held, made the tools not only more efficient but improved their makers' chances of survival by making the quest for food more productive.

This volume brings together evidence for the cognitive, social, and technological foundations necessary for the development of hafting to form a speculative theory about this revolutionary innovation. The creation of tools with handles required considerable planning based on an expert understanding of the properties of the raw materials involved, a form of early engineering. Yet it was the ability to envisage the final, integrated form of the tool which underpinned the remarkable novelty of hafting, one which had massive implications for the human species and which laid the foundations for the technology we rely on today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 7, 2013

"Cuisine and Empire"

New from the University of California Press: Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History by Rachel Laudan.

About the book, from the publisher:
Rachel Laudan tells the remarkable story of the rise and fall of the world’s great cuisines—from the mastery of grain cooking some twenty thousand years ago, to the present—in this superbly researched book. Probing beneath the apparent confusion of dozens of cuisines to reveal the underlying simplicity of the culinary family tree, she shows how periodic seismic shifts in “culinary philosophy”—beliefs about health, the economy, politics, society and the gods—prompted the construction of new cuisines, a handful of which, chosen as the cuisines of empires, came to dominate the globe.

Cuisine and Empire shows how merchants, missionaries, and the military took cuisines over mountains, oceans, deserts, and across political frontiers. Laudan’s innovative narrative treats cuisine, like language, clothing, or architecture, as something constructed by humans. By emphasizing how cooking turns farm products into food and by taking the globe rather than the nation as the stage, she challenges the agrarian, romantic, and nationalistic myths that underlie the contemporary food movement.
Visit Rachel Laudan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"Polio Wars"

New from Oxford University Press: Polio Wars: Sister Kenny and the Golden Age of American Medicine by Naomi Rogers.

About the book, from the publisher:
During World War II, polio epidemics in the United States were viewed as the country's "other war at home": they could be neither predicted nor contained, and paralyzed patients faced disability in a world unfriendly to the disabled. These realities were exacerbated by the medical community's enforced orthodoxy in treating the disease, treatments that generally consisted of ineffective therapies.

Polio Wars is the story of Sister Elizabeth Kenny -- "Sister" being a reference to her status as a senior nurse, not a religious designation -- who arrived in the US from Australia in 1940 espousing an unorthodox approach to the treatment of polio. Kenny approached the disease as a non-neurological affliction, championing such novel therapies as hot packs and muscle exercises in place of splinting, surgery, and immobilization. Her care embodied a different style of clinical practice, one of optimistic, patient-centered treatments that gave hope to desperate patients and families.

The Kenny method, initially dismissed by the US medical establishment, gained overwhelming support over the ensuing decade, including the endorsement of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (today's March of Dimes), America's largest disease philanthropy. By 1952, a Gallup Poll identified Sister Kenny as most admired woman in America, and she went on to serve as an expert witness at Congressional hearings on scientific research, a foundation director, and the subject of a Hollywood film. Kenny breached professional and social mores, crafting a public persona that blended Florence Nightingale and Marie Curie.

By the 1980s, following the discovery of the Salk and Sabin vaccines and the March of Dimes' withdrawal from polio research, most Americans had forgotten polio, its therapies, and Sister Kenny. In examining this historical arc and the public's process of forgetting, Naomi Rogers presents Kenny as someone worth remembering. Polio Wars recalls both the passion and the practices of clinical care and explores them in their own terms.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"After the Sheikhs"

New from Oxford University Press: After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies by Christopher Davidson.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Gulf monarchies (Saudi Arabia and its five smaller neighbours: the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain) have long been governed by highly autocratic and seemingly anachronistic regimes. Yet despite bloody conflicts on their doorsteps, fast-growing populations, and powerful modernising and globalising forces impacting on their largely conservative societies, they have demonstrated remarkable resilience. Obituaries for these traditional monarchies have frequently been penned, but even now these absolutist, almost medieval, entities still appear to pose the same conundrum as before: in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring and the fall of incumbent presidents in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, the apparently steadfast Gulf monarchies have, at first glance, re-affirmed their status as the Middle East s only real bastions of stability. In this book, however, noted Gulf expert Christopher Davidson contends that the collapse of these kings, emirs, and sultans is going to happen, and was always going to. While the revolutionary movements in North Africa, Syria, and Yemen will undeniably serve as important, if indirect, catalysts for the coming upheaval, many of the same socio-economic pressures that were building up in the Arab republics are now also very much present in the Gulf monarchies. It is now no longer a matter of if but when the West s steadfast allies fall. This is a bold claim to make but Davidson, who accurately forecast the economic turmoil that afflicted Dubai in 2009, has an enviable record in diagnosing social and political changes afoot in the region.
Visit Christopher M. Davidson's website.

The Page 99 Test: Christopher Davidson's Abu Dhabi: Oil and Beyond.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 4, 2013

"Why Can the Dead Do Such Great Things?"

New from Princeton University Press: Why Can the Dead Do Such Great Things?: Saints and Worshippers from the Martyrs to the Reformation by Robert Bartlett.

About the book, from the publisher:
From its earliest centuries, one of the most notable features of Christianity has been the veneration of the saints--the holy dead. This sweepingly ambitious history from one of the world's leading medieval historians tells the fascinating story of the cult of the saints from its origins in the second-century days of the Christian martyrs to the Protestant Reformation. Drawing on sources from around the Christian world, Robert Bartlett examines all of the most important aspects of the saints--including miracles, relics, pilgrimages, shrines, and the saints' role in the calendar, literature, and art.

As this engaging narrative shows, a wide variety of figures have been venerated as saints: men and women, kings and servant girls, legendary virgins and highly political bishops--and one dog. The book explores the central role played by the bodies and body parts of saints, and the special treatment these relics received: how they were treasured and enshrined, used in war and peace, and faked and traded. The shrines of the saints drew pilgrims, sometimes from hundreds of miles away, and the book describes the routes, dangers, and rewards of pilgrimage, including the thousands of reported miracles. The book surveys the rich literature and images that proliferated around the saints, as well as the saints' impact on everyday life--from the naming of people and places to the shaping of the calendar. Finally, the book considers how the Christian cult of saints compares with apparently similar aspects of other religions.

At once deeply informative and entertaining, this is an unmatched account of an immensely important and intriguing part of the religious life of the past--as well as the present.
The Page 99 Test: Robert Bartlett's The Natural and the Supernatural in the Middle Ages.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 3, 2013

"Defining the Struggle"

New from Oxford University Press: Defining the Struggle: National Organizing for Racial Justice, 1880-1915 by Susan D. Carle.

About the book, from the publisher:
Since its founding in 1910--the same year as another national organization devoted to the economic and social welfare aspects of race advancement, the National Urban League--the NAACP has been viewed as the vanguard national civil rights organization in American history. But these two flagship institutions were not the first important national organizations devoted to advancing the cause of racial justice. Instead, it was even earlier groups -- including the National Afro American League, the National Afro American Council, the National Association of Colored Women, and the Niagara Movement - that developed and transmitted to the NAACP and National Urban League foundational ideas about law and lawyering that these latter organizations would then pursue.

With unparalleled scholarly depth, Defining the Struggle explores these forerunner organizations whose contributions in shaping early twentieth century national civil rights organizing have largely been forgotten today. It examines the motivations of their leaders, the initiatives they undertook, and the ideas about law and racial justice activism they developed and passed on to future generations. In so doing, it sheds new light on how these early origins helped set the path for twentieth century legal civil rights activism in the United States.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 2, 2013

"The Roar of the Lion"

New from Oxford University Press: The Roar of the Lion: The Untold Story of Churchill's World War II Speeches by Richard Toye.

About the book, from the publisher:
The popular story of Churchill's war-time rhetoric is a simple one: the British people were energized and inspired by his speeches, which were almost universally admired and played an important role in the ultimate victory over Nazi Germany. Richard Toye now re-examines this accepted national story - and gives it a radical new spin.

Using survey evidence and the diaries of ordinary people, he shows how reactions to Churchill's speeches at the time were often very different from what we have always been led to expect. His first speeches as Prime Minister in the dark days of 1940 were by no means universally acclaimed - indeed, many people thought that he was drunk during his famous 'finest hour' broadcast - and there is little evidence that they made a decisive difference to the British people's will to fight on.

In fact, Toye shows, mass enthusiasm sat side-by-side with considerable criticism and dissent from ordinary people. There were speeches that stimulated, invigorated, and excited many, but there were also speeches which caused depression and disappointment in many others and which sometimes led to workplace or family arguments. This more complex reality has been consistently obscured from the historical record by the overwhelming power of a treasured national myth.

The first systematic, archive based examination of Churchill's World War II rhetoric as a whole, The Roar of the Lion considers his oratory not merely as a series of 'great speeches', but as calculated political interventions which had diplomatic repercussions far beyond the effect on the morale of listeners in Britain. Considering his failures as well as his successes, the book moves beyond the purely celebratory tone of much of the existing literature and offers new insight into how the speeches were written and delivered - and shows how Churchill's words were received at home, amongst allies and neutrals, and within enemy and occupied countries.

This is the essential book on Churchill's war-time speeches. It presents us with a dramatically new take on the politics of the 1940s -one that will change the way we think about Churchill's orations forever.
The Page 99 Test: Richard Toye's Churchill's Empire.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 1, 2013

"Apostles of Reason"

New from Oxford University Press: Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism by Molly Worthen.

About the book, from the publisher:
Evangelical Christianity is a paradox. Evangelicals are radically individualist, but devoted to community and family. They believe in the transformative power of a personal relationship with God, but are wary of religious enthusiasm. They are deeply skeptical of secular reason, but eager to find scientific proof that the Bible is true.

In this groundbreaking history of modern American evangelicalism, Molly Worthen argues that these contradictions are the products of a crisis of authority that lies at the heart of the faith. Evangelicals have never had a single authority to guide them through these dilemmas or settle the troublesome question of what the Bible actually means. Worthen chronicles the ideological warfare, institutional conflict, and clashes between modern gurus and maverick disciples that lurk behind the more familiar narrative of the rise of the Christian Right. The result is an ambitious intellectual history that weaves together stories from all corners of the evangelical world to explain the ideas and personalities-the scholarly ambitions and anti-intellectual impulses-that have made evangelicalism a cultural and political force.

In Apostles of Reason, Worthen recasts American evangelicalism as a movement defined not by shared doctrines or politics, but by the problem of reconciling head knowledge and heart religion in an increasingly secular America. She shows that understanding the rise of the Christian Right in purely political terms, as most scholars have done, misses the heart of the story. The culture wars of the late twentieth century emerged not only from the struggle between religious conservatives and secular liberals, but also from the civil war within evangelicalism itself-a battle over how to uphold the commands of both faith and reason, and how ultimately to lead the nation back onto the path of righteousness.
--Marshal Zeringue