Friday, October 31, 2014

"A History of Stepfamilies in Early America"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: A History of Stepfamilies in Early America by Lisa Wilson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Stepfamilies are not a modern phenomenon, but despite this reality, the history of stepfamilies in America has yet to be fully explored. In the first book-length work on the topic, Lisa Wilson examines the stereotypes and actualities of colonial stepfamilies and reveals them to be important factors in early United States domestic history. Remarriage was a necessity in this era, when war and disease took a heavy toll, all too often leading to domestic stress, and cultural views of stepfamilies during this time placed great strain on stepmothers and stepfathers. Both were seen either as unfit substitutes or as potentially unstable influences, and nowhere were these concerns stronger than in white middle-class families, for whom stepparents presented a paradox.

Wilson shares the stories of real stepfamilies in early New England, investigating the relationship between prejudice and lived experience, and, in the end, offers a new way of looking at family units throughout history and the cultural stereotypes that still affect stepfamilies today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 30, 2014

"We Are Amphibians"

New from the University of California Press: We Are Amphibians: Julian and Aldous Huxley on the Future of Our Species by R. S. Deese.

About the book, from the publisher:
We Are Amphibians tells the fascinating story of two brothers who changed the way we think about the future of our species. As a pioneering biologist and conservationist, Julian Huxley helped advance the “modern synthesis” in evolutionary biology and played a pivotal role in founding UNESCO and the World Wildlife Fund. His argument that we must accept responsibility for our future evolution as a species has attracted a growing number of scientists and intellectuals who embrace the concept of Transhumanism that he first outlined in the 1950s. Although Aldous Huxley is most widely known for his dystopian novel Brave New World, his writings on religion, ecology, and human consciousness were powerful catalysts for the environmental and human potential movements that grew rapidly in the second half of the twentieth century. While they often disagreed about the role of science and technology in human progress, Julian and Aldous Huxley both believed that the future of our species depends on a saner set of relations with each other and with our environment. Their common concern for ecology has given their ideas about the future of Homo sapiens an enduring resonance in the twenty-first century. The amphibian metaphor that both brothers used to describe humanity highlights not only the complexity and mutability of our species but also our ecologically precarious situation.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"Cunegonde's Kidnapping"

New from Yale University Press: Cunegonde's Kidnapping: A Story of Religious Conflict in the Age of Enlightenment by Benjamin J. Kaplan.

About the book, from the publisher:
In a remote village on the Dutch-German border, a young Catholic woman named Cunegonde tries to kidnap a baby to prevent it from being baptized in a Protestant church. When she is arrested, fellow Catholics stage an armed raid to free her from detention. These dramatic events of 1762 triggered a cycle of violence, starting a kind of religious war in the village and its surrounding region. Contradicting our current understanding, this war erupted at the height of the Age of Enlightenment, famous for its religious toleration.

Cunegonde’s Kidnapping tells in vivid detail the story of this hitherto unknown conflict. Drawing characters, scenes, and dialogue straight from a body of exceptional primary sources, it is the first microhistorical study of religious conflict and toleration in early modern Europe. In it, Benjamin J. Kaplan explores the dilemmas of interfaith marriage and the special character of religious life in a borderland, where religious dissenters enjoy unique freedoms. He also challenges assumptions about the impact of Enlightenment thought and suggests that, on a popular level, some parts of eighteenth-century Europe may not have witnessed a “rise of toleration.”
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

"Citizen Coke"

New from W.W. Norton: Citizen Coke: The Making of Coca-Cola Capitalism by Bartow J. Elmore.

About the book, from the publisher:
An absorbing history of how Coke’s insatiable thirst for natural resources shaped the company and reshaped the globe.

How did Coca-Cola build a global empire by selling a low-price concoction of mostly sugar, water, and caffeine? The easy answer is advertising, but the real formula to Coke’s success was its strategy, from the start, to offload costs and risks onto suppliers, franchisees, and the government. For most of its history the company owned no bottling plants, water sources, cane- or cornfields. A lean operation, it benefited from public goods like cheap municipal water and curbside recycling programs. Its huge appetite for ingredients gave it outsized influence on suppliers and congressional committees. This was Coca-Cola capitalism.

In this new history Bartow J. Elmore explores Coke through its ingredients, showing how the company secured massive quantities of coca leaf, caffeine, sugar, and other inputs. Its growth was driven by shrewd leaders such as Asa Candler, who scaled an Atlanta soda-fountain operation into a national empire, and “boss” Robert Woodruff, who nurtured partnerships with companies like Hershey and Monsanto. These men, and the company they helped build, were seen as responsible citizens, bringing jobs and development to every corner of the globe. But as Elmore shows, Coke was usually getting the sweet end of the deal.

It continues to do so. Alongside Coke’s recent public investments in water purification infrastructure, especially in Africa, it has also built—less publicly—a rash of bottling plants in dangerously arid regions. Looking past its message of corporate citizenship, Elmore finds a strategy of relentless growth.

The costs shed by Coke have fallen on the public at large. Its annual use of many billions of gallons of water has strained an increasingly scarce global resource. Its copious servings of high-fructose corn syrup have threatened public health. Citizen Coke became a giant in a world of abundance. In a world of scarcity it is a strain on resources and all who depend on them.
Visit Bartow J. Elmore's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 27, 2014

"Clausewitz: His Life and Work"

New from Oxford University Press: Clausewitz: His Life and Work by Donald Stoker.

About the book, from the publisher:
Carl von Clausewitz's masterwork, On War, is generally considered the greatest text on military theory ever written. Clausewitz is a touchstone for the field today, and is read by scholars, students, and military personnel around the world. And yet to Clausewitz himself, far more important than achieving recognition for his scholarly and theoretical contributions was achieving glory on the field of battle-winning renown not with his pen but with his sword.

Military historian Donald Stoker's perceptive biography of Carl von Clausewitz moves skillfully between Clausewitz's career as a soldier and his work as a theoretician and author, exploring the composition of On War and other works while also emphasizing the many military engagements in which Clausewitz fought. Though Clausewitz certainly spilled his share of ink, he also spilled blood--his as well as that of the enemy. As an officer in the Prussian army, Clausewitz fought in battles from Jena-Auerstedt to Waterloo, as well as the battle of Borodino while serving the Russians. Stoker takes readers through the heat of these battles, providing historical overview and discussing each engagement in detail. Rich context is provided by Clausewitz himself, who wrote abundant letters to his wife and friends throughout his life, and from which Stoker draws extensively.

Clausewitz argues for the centrality of Clausewitz's work as a soldier, but it does not neglect his historical achievements in military theory. Stoker unpacks each of Clausewitz's significant works, considering their influences and describing the circumstances around their composition. The interplay between the biographical details of Clausewitz's life and the arguments put forth in his written works allows for a deeper understanding of these familiar texts, and Stoker's insightful commentary adds depth to the discussion. The result is an absorbing reassessment of both the man and his legacy, and a significant contribution to the study of Clausewitz and his place in today's military and political landscape.
The Page 99 Test: The Grand Design.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 26, 2014

"In God's Path"

New from Oxford University Press: In God's Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire by Robert G. Hoyland.

About the book, from the publisher:
In just over a hundred years--from the death of Muhammad in 632 to the beginning of the Abbasid Caliphate in 750--the followers of the Prophet swept across the whole of the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain. Their armies threatened states as far flung as the Franks in Western Europe and the Tang Empire in China. The conquered territory was larger than the Roman Empire at its greatest expansion, and it was claimed for the Arabs in roughly half the time. How this collection of Arabian tribes was able to engulf so many empires, states, and armies in such a short period has perplexed historians for centuries. Most accounts of the Arab invasions have been based almost solely on the early Muslim sources, which were composed centuries later to illustrate the divinely chosen status of the Arabs.

Robert Hoyland's groundbreaking new history assimilates not only the rich biographical information of the early Muslim sources but also the many non-Arabic sources, contemporaneous or near-contemporaneous with the conquests. In God's Path begins with a broad picture of the Late Antique world prior to the Prophet's arrival, a world dominated by two superpowers: Byzantium and Sasanian Persia. In between these empires, emerged a distinct Arabian identity, which helped forge the inhabitants of western Arabia into a formidable fighting force. The Arabs are the principal actors in this drama yet, as Hoyland shows, the peoples along the edges of Byzantium and Persia--the Khazars, Bulgars, Avars, and Turks--all played critical roles in the remaking of the old world order. The new faith propagated by Muhammad and his successors made it possible for many of the conquered peoples to join the Arabs in creating the first Islamic Empire. Well-paced, comprehensive, and eminently readable, In God's Path presents a sweeping narrative of a transformational period in world history.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 25, 2014

"The History of American Higher Education"

New from Princeton University Press: The History of American Higher Education: Learning and Culture from the Founding to World War II by Roger L. Geiger.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book tells the compelling saga of American higher education from the founding of Harvard College in 1636 to the outbreak of World War II. The most in-depth and authoritative history of the subject available, The History of American Higher Education traces how colleges and universities were shaped by the shifting influences of culture, the emergence of new career opportunities, and the unrelenting advancement of knowledge.

Roger Geiger, arguably today’s leading historian of American higher education, vividly describes how colonial colleges developed a unified yet diverse educational tradition capable of weathering the social upheaval of the Revolution as well as the evangelical fervor of the Second Great Awakening. He shows how the character of college education in different regions diverged significantly in the years leading up to the Civil War—for example, the state universities of the antebellum South were dominated by the sons of planters and their culture—and how higher education was later revolutionized by the land-grant movement, the growth of academic professionalism, and the transformation of campus life by students. By the beginning of the Second World War, the standard American university had taken shape, setting the stage for the postwar education boom.

Breathtaking in scope and rich in narrative detail, The History of American Higher Education is the most comprehensive single-volume history of the origins and development of American higher education.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 24, 2014

"Dark Mirror"

New from Metropolitan Books: Dark Mirror: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Jewish Iconography by Sara Lipton.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Dark Mirror, Sara Lipton offers a fascinating examination of the emergence of anti-Semitic iconography in the Middle Ages

The straggly beard, the hooked nose, the bag of coins, and gaudy apparel—the religious artists of medieval Christendom had no shortage of virulent symbols for identifying Jews. Yet, hateful as these depictions were, the story they tell is not as simple as it first appears.

Drawing on a wide range of primary sources, Lipton argues that these visual stereotypes were neither an inevitable outgrowth of Christian theology nor a simple reflection of medieval prejudices. Instead, she maps out the complex relationship between medieval Christians’ religious ideas, social experience, and developing artistic practices that drove their depiction of Jews from benign, if exoticized, figures connoting ancient wisdom to increasingly vicious portrayals inspired by (and designed to provoke) fear and hostility.

At the heart of this lushly illustrated and meticulously researched work are questions that have occupied scholars for ages—why did Jews becomes such powerful and poisonous symbols in medieval art? Why were Jews associated with certain objects, symbols, actions, and deficiencies? And what were the effects of such portrayals—not only in medieval society, but throughout Western history? What we find is that the image of the Jew in medieval art was not a portrait of actual neighbors or even imagined others, but a cloudy glass into which Christendom gazed to find a distorted, phantasmagoric rendering of itself.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 23, 2014

"Wrestling the Angel"

New from Oxford University Press: Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought: Cosmos, God, Humanity by Terryl L. Givens.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this first volume of his magisterial study of the foundations of Mormon thought and practice, Terryl L. Givens offers a sweeping account of Mormon belief from its founding to the present day. Situating the relatively new movement in the context of the Christian tradition, he reveals that Mormonism continues to change and grow.

Givens shows that despite Mormonism's origins in a biblical culture strongly influenced by nineteenth-century Restorationist thought, which advocated a return to the Christianity of the early Church, the new movement diverges radically from the Christianity of the creeds. Mormonism proposes its own cosmology and metaphysics, in which human identity is rooted in a premortal world as eternal as God. Mormons view mortal life as an enlightening ascent rather than a catastrophic fall, and reject traditional Christian concepts of human depravity and destiny. Popular fascination with Mormonism's social innovations, such as polygamy and communalism, and its supernatural and esoteric elements-angels, gold plates, seer stones, a New World Garden of Eden, and sacred undergarments-have long overshadowed the fact that it is the most enduring and even thriving product of the nineteenth century's religious upheavals and innovations.

Wrestling the Angel traces the essential contours of Mormon thought from the time of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young to the contemporary LDS church, illuminating both the seminal influence of the founding generation of Mormon thinkers and the significant developments in the church over almost 200 years. The most comprehensive account of the development of Mormon thought ever written, Wrestling the Angel will be essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the Mormon faith.
Terryl L. Givens is Professor of Literature and Religion and James A. Bostwick Chair of English, University of Richmond. His books on Mormonism and American religious culture include The Latter-Day Saint Experience in America, By the Hand of Mormon, Viper on the Hearth, and People of Paradox.

The Page 99 Test: People of Paradox.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Relentless Reformer"

New from Princeton University Press: Relentless Reformer: Josephine Roche and Progressivism in Twentieth-Century America by Robyn Muncy.

About the book, from the publisher:
Josephine Roche (1886–1976) was a progressive activist, New Deal policymaker, and businesswoman. As a pro-labor and feminist member of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration, she shaped the founding legislation of the U.S. welfare state and generated the national conversation about health-care policy that Americans are still having today. In this gripping biography, Robyn Muncy offers Roche’s persistent progressivism as evidence for surprising continuities among the Progressive Era, the New Deal, and the Great Society.

Muncy explains that Roche became the second-highest-ranking woman in the New Deal government after running a Colorado coal company in partnership with coal miners themselves. Once in office, Roche developed a national health plan that was stymied by World War II but enacted piecemeal during the postwar period, culminating in Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s. By then, Roche directed the United Mine Workers of America Welfare and Retirement Fund, an initiative aimed at bolstering the labor movement, advancing managed health care, and reorganizing medicine to facilitate national health insurance, one of Roche’s unrealized dreams.

In Relentless Reformer, Muncy uses Roche’s dramatic life story—from her stint as Denver’s first policewoman in 1912 to her fight against a murderous labor union official in 1972—as a unique vantage point from which to examine the challenges that women have faced in public life and to reassess the meaning and trajectory of progressive reform.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"The Lives of Chang and Eng"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: The Lives of Chang and Eng: Siam's Twins in Nineteenth-Century America by Joseph Andrew Orser.

About the book, from the publisher:
Connected at the chest by a band of flesh, Chang and Eng Bunker toured the United States and the world from the 1820s to the 1870s, placing themselves and their extraordinary bodies on exhibit as "freaks of nature" and "Oriental curiosities." More famously known as the Siamese twins, they eventually settled in rural North Carolina, married two white sisters, became slave owners, and fathered twenty-one children between them. Though the brothers constantly professed their normality, they occupied a strange space in nineteenth-century America. They spoke English, attended church, became American citizens, and backed the Confederacy during the Civil War. Yet in life and death, the brothers were seen by most Americans as "monstrosities," an affront they were unable to escape.

Joseph Andrew Orser chronicles the twins' history, their sometimes raucous journey through antebellum America, their domestic lives in North Carolina, and what their fame revealed about the changing racial and cultural landscape of the United States. More than a biography of the twins, the result is a study of nineteenth-century American culture and society through the prism of Chang and Eng that reveals how Americans projected onto the twins their own hopes and fears.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 20, 2014

"Pemmican Empire"

New from Cambridge University Press: Pemmican Empire: Food, Trade, and the Last Bison Hunts in the North American Plains, 1780-1882 by George Colpitts.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the British territories of the North American Great Plains, food figured as a key trading commodity after 1780, when British and Canadian fur companies purchased ever-larger quantities of bison meats and fats (pemmican) from plains hunters to support their commercial expansion across the continent. Pemmican Empire traces the history of the unsustainable food-market hunt on the plains, which, once established, created distinctive trade relations between the newcomers and the native peoples. It also resulted in the near annihilation of the Canadian bison herds north of the Missouri River. Drawing on fur company records and a broad range of Native American history accounts, George Colpitts offers new perspectives on the market economy of the western prairie that was established during this time, one that created asymmetric power among traders and informed the bioregional history of the West where the North American bison became a food commodity hunted to nearly the last animal.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 19, 2014

"Heaven's Gate: America's UFO Religion"

New from New York University Press: Heaven's Gate: America's UFO Religion by Benjamin E. Zeller.

About the book, from the publisher:
In March 1997, thirty-nine people in Rancho Santa Fe, California, ritually terminated their lives. To outsiders, it was a mass suicide. To insiders, it was a graduation. This act was the culmination of over two decades of spiritual and social development for the members of Heaven’s Gate, a religious group focused on transcending humanity and the Earth, and seeking salvation in the literal heavens on board a UFO.

In this fascinating overview, Benjamin Zeller not only explores the question of why the members of Heaven’s Gate committed ritual suicides, but interrogates the origin and evolution of the religion, its appeal, and its practices. By tracking the development of the history, social structure, and worldview of Heaven’s Gate, Zeller draws out the ways in which the movement was both a reflection and a microcosm of larger American culture.The group emerged out of engagement with Evangelical Christianity, the New Age movement, science fiction and UFOs, and conspiracy theories, and it evolved in response to the religious quests of baby boomers, new religions of the counterculture, and the narcissistic pessimism of the 1990s. Thus, Heaven’s Gate not only reflects the context of its environment, but also reveals how those forces interacted in the form of a single religious body.

In the only book-length study of Heaven’s Gate, Zeller traces the roots of the movement, examines its beliefs and practices, and tells the captivating story of the people of Heaven’s Gate.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 18, 2014

"Collective Violence and the Agrarian Origins of South African Apartheid"

New from Cambridge University Press: Collective Violence and the Agrarian Origins of South African Apartheid, 1900-1948 by John Higginson.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book examines the dark odyssey of official and private collective violence against the rural African population and Africans in general during the two generations before apartheid became the primary justification for the existence of the South African state. John Higginson discusses how Africans fought back against the entire spectrum of violence ranged against them, demonstrating just how contingent apartheid was on the struggle to hijack the future of the African majority.
John Higginson is Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is also a research Fellow in the College of Human Sciences and the department of history at the University of South Africa in Pretoria, South Africa. He is the author of A Working Class in the Making: Belgian Colonial Labor Policy, Private Enterprise and the African Mineworker, 1907–1951 (1989).

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 17, 2014

"K-Pop"

New from the University of California Press: K-Pop: Popular Music, Cultural Amnesia, and Economic Innovation in South Korea by John Lie.

About the book, from the publisher:
K-Pop: Popular Music, Cultural Amnesia, and Economic Innovation in South Korea seeks at once to describe and explain the emergence of export-oriented South Korean popular music and to make sense of larger South Korean economic and cultural transformations. John Lie provides not only a history of South Korean popular music—the premodern background, Japanese colonial influence, post-Liberation American impact, and recent globalization—but also a description of K-pop as a system of economic innovation and cultural production. In doing so, he delves into the broader background of South Korea in this wonderfully informed history and analysis of a pop culture phenomenon sweeping the globe.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"The Birth of Hedonism"

New from Princeton University Press: The Birth of Hedonism: The Cyrenaic Philosophers and Pleasure as a Way of Life by Kurt Lampe.

About the book, from the publisher:
According to Xenophon, Socrates tried to persuade his associate Aristippus to moderate his excessive indulgence in wine, women, and food, arguing that only hard work can bring happiness. Aristippus wasn’t convinced. Instead, he and his followers espoused the most radical form of hedonism in ancient Western philosophy. Before the rise of the better known but comparatively ascetic Epicureans, the Cyrenaics pursued a way of life in which moments of pleasure, particularly bodily pleasure, held the highest value. In The Birth of Hedonism, Kurt Lampe provides the most comprehensive account in any language of Cyrenaic ideas and behavior, revolutionizing the understanding of this neglected but important school of philosophy.

The Birth of Hedonism thoroughly and sympathetically reconstructs the doctrines and practices of the Cyrenaics, who were active between the fourth and third centuries BCE. The book examines not only Aristippus and the mainstream Cyrenaics, but also Hegesias, Anniceris, and Theodorus. Contrary to recent scholarship, the book shows that the Cyrenaics, despite giving primary value to discrete pleasurable experiences, accepted the dominant Greek philosophical belief that life-long happiness and the virtues that sustain it are the principal concerns of ethics. The book also offers the first in-depth effort to understand Theodorus’s atheism and Hegesias’s pessimism, both of which are extremely unusual in ancient Greek philosophy and which raise the interesting question of hedonism’s relationship to pessimism and atheism. Finally, the book explores the “new Cyrenaicism” of the nineteenth-century writer and classicist Walter Pater, who drew out the enduring philosophical interest of Cyrenaic hedonism more than any other modern thinker.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"Moral Laboratories"

New from the University of California Press: Moral Laboratories: Family Peril and the Struggle for a Good Life by Cheryl Mattingly.

About the book, from the publisher:
Moral Laboratories is an engaging ethnography and a groundbreaking foray into the anthropology of morality. It takes us on a journey into the lives of African American families caring for children with serious chronic medical conditions, and it foregrounds the uncertainty that affects their struggles for a good life. Challenging depictions of moral transformation as possible only in moments of breakdown or in radical breaches from the ordinary, it offers a compelling portrait of the transformative powers embedded in day-to-day existence. From soccer fields to dinner tables, the everyday emerges as a moral laboratory for reshaping moral life. Cheryl Mattingly offers vivid and heart-wrenching stories to elaborate a first-person ethical framework, forcefully showing the limits of third-person renderings of morality.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"The Good Life"

New from Stanford University Press: The Good Life: Aspiration, Dignity, and the Anthropology of Wellbeing by Edward F. Fischer.

About the book, from the publisher:
What could middle-class German supermarket shoppers buying eggs and impoverished coffee farmers in Guatemala possibly have in common? Both groups use the market in pursuit of the "good life." But what exactly is the good life? How do we define wellbeing beyond material standards of living? While we all may want to live the good life, we differ widely on just what that entails.

In The Good Life, Edward Fischer examines wellbeing in very different cultural contexts to uncover shared notions of the good life and how best to achieve it. With fascinating on-the-ground narratives of Germans' choices regarding the purchase of eggs and cars, and Guatemalans' trade in coffee and cocaine, Fischer presents a richly layered understanding of how aspiration, opportunity, dignity, and purpose comprise the good life.
Visit Ted Fischer's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 13, 2014

"Wine, Sugar, and the Making of Modern France"

New from Cambridge University Press: Wine, Sugar, and the Making of Modern France: Global Economic Crisis and the Racialization of French Citizenship, 1870-1910 by Elizabeth Heath.

About the book, from the publisher:
This is an innovative study of how race and empire transformed French republican citizenship in the early Third Republic. Elizabeth Heath integrates the histories of the wine-producing department of Aude and the sugar-producing colony of Guadeloupe to reveal the ways in which empire was integral to the Third Republic's ability to stabilize a republican regime that began to unravel in an age of economic globalization. She shows how global economic factors shaped negotiations between local citizens and the Third Republic over the responsibilities of the Republic to its citizens leading to the creation of two different and unequal forms of citizenship that became constitutive of the interwar imperial nation-state and the French welfare state. Her findings shed important new light on the tensions within republicanism between ideals of liberty and equality and on the construction of race as a meaningful social category at a foundational moment in French history.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 12, 2014

"Power Lines"

New from Princeton University Press: Power Lines: Phoenix and the Making of the Modern Southwest by Andrew Needham.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 1940, Phoenix was a small, agricultural city of sixty-five thousand, and the Navajo Reservation was an open landscape of scattered sheepherders. Forty years later, Phoenix had blossomed into a metropolis of 1.5 million people and the territory of the Navajo Nation was home to two of the largest strip mines in the world. Five coal-burning power plants surrounded the reservation, generating electricity for export to Phoenix, Los Angeles, and other cities. Exploring the postwar developments of these two very different landscapes, Power Lines tells the story of the far-reaching environmental and social inequalities of metropolitan growth, and the roots of the contemporary coal-fueled climate change crisis.

Andrew Needham explains how inexpensive electricity became a requirement for modern life in Phoenix—driving assembly lines and cooling the oppressive heat. Navajo officials initially hoped energy development would improve their lands too, but as ash piles marked their landscape, air pollution filled the skies, and almost half of Navajo households remained without electricity, many Navajos came to view power lines as a sign of their subordination in the Southwest. Drawing together urban, environmental, and American Indian history, Needham demonstrates how power lines created unequal connections between distant landscapes and how environmental changes associated with suburbanization reached far beyond the metropolitan frontier. Needham also offers a new account of postwar inequality, arguing that residents of the metropolitan periphery suffered similar patterns of marginalization as those faced in America’s inner cities.

Telling how coal from Indian lands became the fuel of modernity in the Southwest, Power Lines explores the dramatic effects that this energy system has had on the people and environment of the region.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 11, 2014

"Earth's Deep History"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Earth's Deep History: How It Was Discovered and Why It Matters by Martin J. S. Rudwick.

About the book, from the publisher:
Earth has been witness to mammoths and dinosaurs, global ice ages, continents colliding or splitting apart, comets and asteroids crashing catastrophically to the surface, as well as the birth of humans who are curious to understand it all. But how was it discovered? How was the evidence for it collected and interpreted? And what kinds of people have sought to reconstruct this past that no human witnessed or recorded? In this sweeping and magisterial book, Martin J. S. Rudwick, the premier historian of the earth sciences, tells the gripping human story of the gradual realization that the Earth’s history has not only been unimaginably long but also astonishingly eventful.

Rudwick begins in the seventeenth century with Archbishop James Ussher, who famously dated the creation of the cosmos to 4004 BC. His narrative then turns to the crucial period of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when inquisitive intellectuals, who came to call themselves “geologists,” began to interpret rocks and fossils, mountains and volcanoes, as natural archives of Earth’s history. He then shows how this geological evidence was used—and is still being used—to reconstruct a history of the Earth that is as varied and unpredictable as human history itself. Along the way, Rudwick defies the popular view of this story as a conflict between science and religion and reveals that the modern scientific account of the Earth’s deep history retains strong roots in Judaeo-Christian ideas.

Extensively illustrated, Earth’s Deep History is an engaging and impressive capstone to Rudwick’s distinguished career. Though the story of the Earth is inconceivable in length, Rudwick moves with grace from the earliest imaginings of our planet’s deep past to today’s scientific discoveries, proving that this is a tale at once timeless and timely.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 10, 2014

"Alcohol: A History"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Alcohol: A History by Rod Phillips.

About the book, from the publisher:
Whether as wine, beer, or spirits, alcohol has had a constant and often controversial role in social life. In his innovative book on the attitudes toward and consumption of alcohol, Rod Phillips surveys a 9,000-year cultural and economic history, uncovering the tensions between alcoholic drinks as healthy staples of daily diets and as objects of social, political, and religious anxiety. In the urban centers of Europe and America, where it was seen as healthier than untreated water, alcohol gained a foothold as the drink of choice, but it has been more regulated by governmental and religious authorities more than any other commodity. As a potential source of social disruption, alcohol created volatile boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable consumption and broke through barriers of class, race, and gender.

Phillips follows the ever-changing cultural meanings of these potent potables and makes the surprising argument that some societies have entered "post-alcohol" phases. His is the first book to examine and explain the meanings and effects of alcohol in such depth, from global and long-term perspectives.
Visit Rod Phillips's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 9, 2014

"Chop Suey, USA: The Story of Chinese Food in America"

New from Columbia University Press: Chop Suey, USA: The Story of Chinese Food in America by Yong Chen.

About the book, from the publisher:
American diners began to flock to Chinese restaurants more than a century ago, making Chinese food the first mass-consumed cuisine in the United States. By 1980, it had become the country’s most popular ethnic cuisine. Chop Suey, USA offers the first comprehensive interpretation of the rise of Chinese food, revealing the forces that made it ubiquitous in the American gastronomic landscape and turned the country into an empire of consumption.

Engineered by a politically disenfranchised, numerically small, and economically exploited group, Chinese food’s tour de America is an epic story of global cultural encounter. It reflects not only changes in taste but also a growing appetite for a more leisurely lifestyle. Americans fell in love with Chinese food not because of its gastronomic excellence but because of its affordability and convenience, which is why they preferred the quick and simple dishes of China while shunning its haute cuisine. Epitomized by chop suey, American Chinese food was a forerunner of McDonald’s, democratizing the once-exclusive dining-out experience for such groups as marginalized Anglos, African Americans, and Jews.

The rise of Chinese food is also a classic American story of immigrant entrepreneurship and perseverance. Barred from many occupations, Chinese Americans successfully turned Chinese food from a despised cuisine into a dominant force in the restaurant market, creating a critical lifeline for their community. Chinese American restaurant workers developed the concept of the open kitchen and popularized the practice of home delivery. They streamlined certain Chinese dishes, such as chop suey and egg foo young, turning them into nationally recognized brand names.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

"The Life of Roman Republicanism"

New from Princeton University Press: The Life of Roman Republicanism by Joy Connolly.

About the book, from the publisher:
In recent years, Roman political thought has attracted increased attention as intellectual historians and political theorists have explored the influence of the Roman republic on major thinkers from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. Held up as a “third way” between liberalism and communitarianism, neo-Roman republicanism promises useful, persuasive accounts of civic virtue, justice, civility, and the ties that bind citizens. But republican revivalists, embedded in modern liberal, democratic, and constitutional concerns, almost never engage closely with Roman texts. The Life of Roman Republicanism takes up that challenge.

With an original combination of close reading and political theory, Joy Connolly argues that Cicero, Sallust, and Horace inspire fresh thinking about central concerns of contemporary political thought and action. These include the role of conflict in the political community, especially as it emerges from class differences; the necessity of recognition for an equal and just society; the corporeal and passionate aspects of civic experience; citizens’ interdependence on one another for senses of selfhood; and the uses and dangers of self-sovereignty and fantasy. Putting classicists and political theorists in dialogue, the book also addresses a range of modern thinkers, including Kant, Hannah Arendt, Stanley Cavell, and Philip Pettit. Together, Connolly’s readings construct a new civic ethos of advocacy, self-criticism, embodied awareness, imagination, and irony.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

"The Devils' Alliance"

New from Basic Books: The Devils' Alliance: Hitler's Pact with Stalin, 1939-1941 by Roger Moorhouse.

About the book, from the publisher:
A renowned historian presents a vivid account of the crucial Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939-1941, showing how it shaped World War II and the era that followed.

History remembers the Soviets and the Nazis as bitter enemies and ideological rivals, the two mammoth and opposing totalitarian regimes of World War II whose conflict would be the defining and deciding clash of the war. Yet for nearly a third of the conflict's entire timespan, Hitler and Stalin stood side by side as partners. The Pact that they agreed had a profound—and bloody—impact on Europe, and is fundamental to understanding the development and denouement of the war.

In The Devils' Alliance, acclaimed historian Roger Moorhouse explores the causes and implications of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, an unholy covenant whose creation and dissolution were crucial turning points in World War II. Forged by the German foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and his Soviet counterpart, Vyacheslav Molotov, the nonaggression treaty briefly united the two powers in a brutally efficient collaboration. Together, the Germans and Soviets quickly conquered and divided central and eastern Europe—Poland, the Baltic States, Finland, and Bessarabia—and the human cost was staggering: during the two years of the pact hundreds of thousands of people in central and eastern Europe caught between Hitler and Stalin were expropriated, deported, or killed. Fortunately for the Allies, the partnership ultimately soured, resulting in the surprise June 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union. Ironically, however, the powers' exchange of materiel, blueprints, and technological expertise during the period of the Pact made possible a far more bloody and protracted war than would have otherwise been conceivable.

Combining comprehensive research with a gripping narrative, The Devils' Alliance is the authoritative history of the Nazi-Soviet Pact—and a portrait of the people whose lives were irrevocably altered by Hitler and Stalin's nefarious collaboration.
Visit Roger Moorhouse's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 6, 2014

"Envisioning Freedom"

New from Harvard University Press: Envisioning Freedom: Cinema and the Building of Modern Black Life by Cara Caddoo.

About the book, from the publisher:
Viewing turn-of-the century African American history through the lens of cinema, Envisioning Freedom examines the forgotten history of early black film exhibition during the era of mass migration and Jim Crow. By embracing the new medium of moving pictures at the turn of the twentieth century, black Americans forged a collective—if fraught—culture of freedom.

In Cara Caddoo’s perspective-changing study, African Americans emerge as pioneers of cinema from the 1890s to the 1920s. Across the South and Midwest, moving pictures presented in churches, lodges, and schools raised money and created shared social experiences for black urban communities. As migrants moved northward, bound for Chicago and New York, cinema moved with them. Along these routes, ministers and reformers, preaching messages of racial uplift, used moving pictures as an enticement to attract followers.

But as it gained popularity, black cinema also became controversial. Facing a losing competition with movie houses, once-supportive ministers denounced the evils of the “colored theater.” Onscreen images sparked arguments over black identity and the meaning of freedom. In 1910, when boxing champion Jack Johnson became the world’s first black movie star, representation in film vaulted to the center of black concerns about racial progress. Black leaders demanded self-representation and an end to cinematic mischaracterizations which, they charged, violated the civil rights of African Americans. In 1915, these ideas both led to the creation of an industry that produced “race films” by and for black audiences and sparked the first mass black protest movement of the twentieth century.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 5, 2014

"The Price of Thirst"

New from the University of Minnesota Press: The Price of Thirst: Global Water Inequality and the Coming Chaos by Karen Piper.

About the book, from the publisher:
“There's Money in Thirst,” reads a headline in the New York Times. The CEO of NestlĂ©, purveyor of bottled water, heartily agrees. It is important to give water a market value, he says in a promotional video, so “we're all aware that it has a price.” But for those who have no access to clean water—a fifth of the world's population—the price is thirst. This is the frightening landscape that Karen Piper leads us through in The Price of Thirst—one where thirst is political, drought is a business opportunity, and more and more of our most necessary natural resource is controlled by multinational corporations.

In visits to the hot spots of water scarcity and the hotshots in water finance, Piper shows us what happens when global businesses with mafia-like powers buy up the water supply and turn off the taps of people who cannot pay: border disputes between Iraq and Turkey, a “revolution of the thirsty” in Egypt, street fights in Greece, an apartheid of water rights in South Africa. The Price of Thirst takes us to Chile, the first nation to privatize 100 percent of its water supplies, creating a crushing monopoly instead of a thriving free market in water; to New Delhi, where the sacred waters of the Ganges are being diverted to a private water treatment plant, fomenting unrest; and to Iraq, where the U.S.-mandated privatization of water resources destroyed by our military is further destabilizing the volatile region. And in our own backyard, where these same corporations are quietly buying up water supplies, Piper reveals how “water banking” is drying up California farms in favor of urban sprawl and private towns.

The product of seven years of investigation across six continents and a dozen countries, and scores of interviews with CEOs, activists, environmentalists, and climate change specialists, The Price of Thirst paints a harrowing picture of a world out of balance, with the distance between the haves and have-nots of water inexorably widening and the coming crisis moving ever closer.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 4, 2014

"A Right to Flee"

New from Cambridge University Press: A Right to Flee: Refugees, States, and the Construction of International Cooperation by Phil Orchard.

About the book, from the publisher:
Why do states protect refugees? In the past twenty years, states have sought to limit access to asylum by increasing their border controls and introducing extraterritorial controls. Yet no state has sought to exit the 1951 Refugee Convention or the broader international refugee regime. This book argues that such international policy shifts represent an ongoing process whereby refugee protection is shaped and redefined by states and other actors. Since the seventeenth century, a mix of collective interests and basic normative understandings held by states created a space for refugees to be separate from other migrants. However, ongoing crisis events undermine these understandings and provide opportunities to reshape how refugees are understood, how they should be protected, and whether protection is a state or multilateral responsibility. Drawing on extensive archival and secondary materials, Phil Orchard examines the interplay among governments, individuals, and international organizations that has shaped how refugees are understood today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 3, 2014

"Founders as Fathers"

New from Yale University Press: Founders as Fathers: The Private Lives and Politics of the American Revolutionaries by Lorri Glover.

About the book, from the publisher:
Surprisingly, no previous book has ever explored how family life shaped the political careers of America’s great Founding Fathers—men like George Mason, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. In this original and intimate portrait, historian Lorri Glover brings to life the vexing, joyful, arduous, and sometimes tragic experiences of the architects of the American Republic who, while building a nation, were also raising families.

The costs and consequences for the families of these Virginia leaders were great, Glover discovers: the Revolution remade family life no less than it reinvented political institutions. She describes the colonial households that nurtured future revolutionaries, follows the development of political and family values during the revolutionary years, and shines new light on the radically transformed world that was inherited by nineteenth-century descendants. Beautifully written and replete with fascinating detail, this groundbreaking book is the first to introduce us to the founders as fathers.
Visit Lorri Glover's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 2, 2014

"Why Occupy a Square?"

New from Oxford University Press: Why Occupy a Square?: People, Protests and Movements in the Egyptian Revolution by Jeroen Gunning and Ilan Zvi Baron.

About the book, from the publisher:
On 25 January 2011, tens of thousands of Egyptians came out on the streets to protest against emergency rule and police brutality. Eighteen days later, Mubarak, one of the longest sitting dictators in the region, had gone. How are we to make sense of these events? Was this a revolution, a revolutionary moment? How did the protests come about? How were they able to outmaneuver the police? Was this really a 'leaderless revolution,' as so many pundits claimed, or were the demonstrations an outgrowth of the protest networks that had developed over the past decade? Why did so many people with no history of activism participate? What role did economic and systemic crises play in creating the conditions for these protests to occur? Was this really a Facebook revolution?

Why Occupy a Square? is a dynamic exploration of the shape and timing of these extraordinary events, the players behind them, and the tactics and protest frames they developed. Drawing on social movement theory, it traces the interaction between protest cycles, regime responses and broader structural changes over the past decade. Using theories of urban politics, space and power, it reflects on the exceptional state of non-sovereign politics that developed during the occupation of Tahrir Square.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"The Power of Feasts"

New from Cambridge University Press: The Power of Feasts: From Prehistory to the Present by Brian Hayden.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this book, Brian Hayden provides the first comprehensive, theoretical work on the history of feasting in pre-industrial societies. As an important barometer of cultural change, feasting is at the forefront of theoretical developments in archaeology. The Power of Feasts chronicles the evolution of the practice from its first perceptible prehistoric presence to modern industrial times. This study explores recurring patterns in the dynamics of feasts as well as linkages to other aspects of culture such as food, personhood, cognition, power, politics, and economics. Analyzing detailed ethnographic and archaeological observations from a wide variety of cultures, including Oceania and Southeast Asia, the Americas, and Eurasia, Hayden illuminates the role of feasts as an invaluable insight into the social and political structures of past societies.
Brian Hayden is Professor Emeritus in the Archaeology Department at Simon Fraser University.

--Marshal Zeringue