Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"Wolf by the Ears"

New from the Johns Hopkins University Press: Wolf by the Ears: The Missouri Crisis, 1819-1821 by John R. Van Atta.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the early days of the republic, American leaders knew that an unpredictable time bomb—the question of slavery—lay at the heart of national politics. An implicit understanding between North and South helped to keep the issue at bay: northern states, where slavery had been set on course for extinction via gradual emancipation, tacitly agreed to respect the property rights of southern slaveholders; in return, southerners essentially promised to view slaveholding as a practical evil and look for ways to get rid of it. By 1819–1820, however, westward expansion had brought the matter to a head. As Thomas Jefferson wrote at the time, a nation dealing with the politically implacable issue of slavery essentially held the "wolf" by the ears—and could neither let go nor hang on forever.

In Wolf by the Ears, John R. Van Atta discusses how the sectional conflict that led to the Civil War surfaced in the divisive fight over Missouri statehood. The first organized Louisiana Purchase territory to lie completely west of the Mississippi River and northwest of the Ohio, Missouri carried special significance for both pro- and anti-slavery advocates. Northern congressmen leaped out of their seats to object to the proposed expansion of the slave "empire," while slave-state politicians voiced outrage at the northerners’ blatant sectional attack. Although the Missouri confrontation ultimately appeared to end amicably with a famous compromise that the wily Kentuckian Henry Clay helped to cobble together, the passions it unleashed proved vicious, widespread, and long lasting.

Van Atta deftly explains how the Missouri crisis revealed the power that slavery had already gained over American nation building. He explores the external social, cultural, and economic forces that gave the confrontation such urgency around the country, as well as the beliefs, assumptions, and fears that characterized both sides of the slavery argument. Wolf by the Ears provides students in American history with an ideal introduction to the Missouri crisis while at the same time offering fresh insights for scholars of the early republic.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 30, 2015

"Glorious Victory"

New from the Johns Hopkins University Press: Glorious Victory: Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans by Donald R. Hickey.

About the book, from the publisher:
Whether or not the United States "won" the war of 1812, two engagements that occurred toward the end of the conflict had an enormous influence on the development of American identity: the successful defenses of the cities of Baltimore and New Orleans. Both engagements bolstered national confidence and spoke to the élan of citizen soldiers and their militia officers. The Battle of New Orleans—perhaps because it punctuated the war, lent itself to frontier mythology, and involved the larger-than-life figure of Andrew Jackson—became especially important in popular memory. In Glorious Victory, leading War of 1812 scholar Donald R. Hickey recounts the New Orleans campaign and Jackson’s key role in the battle.

Drawing on a lifetime of research, Hickey tells the story of America’s "forgotten conflict." He explains why the fragile young republic chose to challenge Great Britain, then a global power with a formidable navy. He also recounts the early campaigns of the war—William Hull’s ignominious surrender at Detroit in 1812; Oliver H. Perry’s remarkable victory on Lake Erie; and the demoralizing British raids in the Chesapeake that culminated in the burning of Washington.

Tracing Jackson’s emergence as a leader in Tennessee and his extraordinary success as a military commander in the field, Hickey finds in Jackson a bundle of contradictions: an enemy of privilege who belonged to Tennessee’s ruling elite, a slaveholder who welcomed free blacks into his army, an Indian-hater who adopted a native orphan, and a general who lectured his superiors and sometimes ignored their orders while simultaneously demanding unquestioning obedience from his men. Aimed at students and the general public, Glorious Victory will reward readers with a clear understanding of Andrew Jackson’s role in the War of 1812 and his iconic place in the postwar era.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 29, 2015

"Intimate Rivals"

New from Columbia University Press: Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China by Sheila A. Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
No country feels China's rise more deeply than Japan. Through intricate case studies of visits by Japanese politicians to the Yasukuni Shrine, conflicts over the boundaries of economic zones in the East China Sea, concerns about food safety, and strategies of island defense, Sheila A. Smith explores the policy issues testing the Japanese government as it tries to navigate its relationship with an advancing China.

Smith finds that Japan's interactions with China extend far beyond the negotiations between diplomats and include a broad array of social actors intent on influencing the Sino-Japanese relationship. Some of the tensions complicating Japan's encounters with China, such as those surrounding the Yasukuni Shrine or territorial disputes, have deep roots in the postwar era, and political advocates seeking a stronger Japanese state organize themselves around these causes. Other tensions manifest themselves during the institutional and regulatory reform of maritime boundary and food safety issues.

Smith scrutinizes the role of the Japanese government in coping with contention as China's influence grows and Japanese citizens demand more protection. Underlying the government's efforts is Japan's insecurity about its own capacity for change and its waning status as the leading economy in Asia. For many, China's rise means Japan's decline, and Smith suggests how Japan can maintain its regional and global clout as confidence in its postwar diplomatic and security approach diminishes.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 28, 2015

"Casualties of History"

New from Cornell University Press: Casualties of History: Wounded Japanese Servicemen and the Second World War by Lee K. Pennington.

About the book, from the publisher:
Thousands of wounded servicemen returned to Japan following the escalation of Japanese military aggression in China in July 1937. Tens of thousands would return home after Japan widened its war effort in 1939. In Casualties of History, Lee K. Pennington relates for the first time in English the experiences of Japanese wounded soldiers and disabled veterans of Japan's "long" Second World War (from 1937 to 1945). He maps the terrain of Japanese military medicine and social welfare practices and establishes the similarities and differences that existed between Japanese and Western physical, occupational, and spiritual rehabilitation programs for war-wounded servicemen, notably amputees. To exemplify the experience of these wounded soldiers, Pennington draws on the memoir of a Japanese soldier who describes in gripping detail his medical evacuation from a casualty clearing station on the front lines and his medical convalescence at a military hospital.

Moving from the hospital to the home front, Pennington documents the prominent roles adopted by disabled veterans in mobilization campaigns designed to rally popular support for the war effort. Following Japan’s defeat in August 1945, U.S. Occupation forces dismantled the social welfare services designed specifically for disabled military personnel, which brought profound consequences for veterans and their dependents. Using a wide array of written and visual historical sources, Pennington tells a tale that until now has been neglected by English-language scholarship on Japanese society. He gives us a uniquely Japanese version of the all-too-familiar story of soldiers who return home to find their lives (and bodies) remade by combat.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 27, 2015

"The Rise of Political Intellectuals in Modern China"

New from Oxford University Press: The Rise of Political Intellectuals in Modern China: May Fourth Societies and the Roots of Mass-party Politics by Shakhar Rahav.

About the book, from the publisher:
The May Fourth movement (1915-1923) is widely considered a watershed in the history of modern China. This book is a social history of cultural and political radicals based in China's most important hinterland city at this pivotal time, Wuhan.

Current narratives of May Fourth focus on the ideological development of intellectuals in the seaboard metropoles of Beijing and Shanghai. And although scholars have pointed to the importance of the many cultural-political societies of the period, they have largely neglected to examine these associations, seeing them only as seedbeds of Chinese communism and its leaders, like Mao Zedong.

This book, by contrast, portrays the everyday life of May Fourth activists in Wuhan in cultural-political societies founded by local teacher and journalist Yun Daiying (1895-1931). The book examines the ways by which radical politics developed in hinterland urban centers, from there into a nation wide movement, which ultimately provided the basis for the emergence of mass political parties, namely the Nationalist Party (Guomindang) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The book's focus on organizations, everyday life, and social networks provides a novel interpretation of where mechanisms of historical change are located. The book also highlights the importance of print culture in the provinces. It demonstrates how provincial print-culture combined with small, local organizations to create a political movement. The vantage point of Wuhan demonstrates that May Fourth radicalism developed in a dialogue between the coastal metropoles of Beijing and Shanghai and hinterland urban centers.

The book therefore charts the way in which seeds of political change grew from individuals, through local organizations into a nation-wide movement, and finally into mass-party politics and subsequently revolution. The book thus connects everyday experiences of activists with the cultural-political ferment which gave rise to both the Chinese Communist party and the Nationalist Party.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 26, 2015

"Democracy as Death"

New from the University of California Press: Democracy as Death: The Moral Order of Anti-Liberal Politics in South Africa by Jason Hickel.

About the book, from the publisher:
The revolution that brought the African National Congress (ANC) to power in South Africa was fractured by internal conflict. Migrant workers from rural Zululand rejected many of the egalitarian values and policies fundamental to the ANC’s liberal democratic platform and organized themselves in an attempt to sabotage the movement. This anti-democracy stance, which persists today as a direct critique of “freedom” in neoliberal South Africa, hinges on an idealized vision of the rural home and a hierarchical social order crafted in part by the technologies of colonial governance over the past century.

In analyzing this conflict, Jason Hickel contributes to broad theoretical debates about liberalism and democratization in the postcolonial world. Democracy as Death interrogates the Western ideals of individual freedom and agency from the perspective of those who oppose such ideals, and questions the assumptions underpinning theories of anti-liberal movements. The book argues that both democracy and the political science that attempts to explain resistance to it presuppose a model of personhood native to Western capitalism, which may not operate cross-culturally.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Fear and the Making of Foreign Policy"

New from Edinburgh University Press: Fear and the Making of Foreign Policy: Europe and Beyond by Raymond Taras.

About the book, from the publisher:
Can a society's fear of foreigners engender xenophobic foreign policy?

This is a book about conflicts and fears: how domestic reasons are drawing countries in Europe into international events. There has been much research into why the U.S. and U.K. militaries intervened in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other conflict zones. But what explains France's newfound international activism, which is taking its military to Libya, Mali and deeper into Africa? Why has Poland become deeply engaged in Ukraine's politics? Why is Sweden, which has not fought a war since 1814, concerned with the fierce internal wars in Iraq and Syria? Can these actions be explained as countries simply protecting their national interests, or has domestic xenophobia also be playing a part?

In Fear and the Making of Foreign Policy, Raymond Taras explains the causal mechanisms propelling these three EU states to become engaged in outside conflicts and tells the story of when and why xenophobia at home is converted into xenophobia abroad.
Visit Ray Taras's website. His recent books include Xenophobia and Islamophobia in Europe (Edinburgh University Press); and (editor) Challenging multiculturalism: European models of diversity (Edinburgh University Press).

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Censoring Racial Ridicule"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Censoring Racial Ridicule: Irish, Jewish, and African American Struggles over Race and Representation, 1890-1930 by M. Alison Kibler.

About the book, from the publisher:
A drunken Irish maid slips and falls. A greedy Jewish pawnbroker lures his female employee into prostitution. An African American man leers at a white woman. These and other, similar images appeared widely on stages and screens across America during the early twentieth century. In this provocative study, M. Alison Kibler uncovers, for the first time, powerful and concurrent campaigns by Irish, Jewish and African Americans against racial ridicule in popular culture at the turn of the twentieth century. Censoring Racial Ridicule explores how Irish, Jewish, and African American groups of the era resisted harmful representations in popular culture by lobbying behind the scenes, boycotting particular acts, and staging theater riots. Kibler demonstrates that these groups' tactics evolved and diverged over time, with some continuing to pursue street protest while others sought redress through new censorship laws.

Exploring the relationship between free expression, democracy, and equality in America, Kibler shows that the Irish, Jewish, and African American campaigns against racial ridicule are at the roots of contemporary debates over hate speech.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 23, 2015

"Purchasing Medical Innovation"

New from the University of California Press: Purchasing Medical Innovation: The Right Technology, for the Right Patient, at the Right Price by James C. Robinson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Innovation in medical technology generates a remarkable supply of new drugs, devices, and diagnostics that improve health, reduce risks, and extend life. But these technologies are too often used on the wrong patient, in the wrong setting, or at an unaffordable price. The only way to moderate the growth in health care costs without undermining the dynamic of medical innovation is to improve the process of assessing, pricing, prescribing, and using new technologies. Purchasing Medical Innovation analyzes the contemporary revolution in the purchasing of health care technology, with a focus on the roles of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Medicare and private health insurers, physicians and hospitals, and consumers themselves. The FDA is more thoroughly assessing product performance under real-world conditions as well as in laboratory settings, accelerating the path to market for breakthroughs while imposing use controls on risky products. Insurers are improving their criteria for coverage and designing payment methods that reward efficiency in the selection of new treatments. Hospitals are aligning adoption of complex supplies and equipment more closely with physicians’ preferences for the best treatment for their patients. Consumers are becoming more engaged and financially accountable for their health care choices. This book describes both the strengths and deficiencies of the current system of purchasing and highlights opportunities for buyers, sellers, and users to help improve the value of medical technology: better outcomes at lower cost.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 22, 2015

"Plucked: A History of Hair Removal"

New from New York University Press: Plucked: A History of Hair Removal by Rebecca M. Herzig.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the clamshell razors and homemade lye depilatories used in colonial America to the diode lasers and prescription pharmaceuticals available today, Americans have used a staggering array of tools to remove hair deemed unsightly, unnatural, or excessive. This is true especially for women and girls; conservative estimates indicate that 99% of American women have tried hair removal, and at least 85% regularly remove hair from their faces, armpits, legs, and bikini lines. How and when does hair become a problem—what makes some growth “excessive”? Who or what separates the necessary from the superfluous?

In Plucked, historian Rebecca Herzig addresses these questions about hair removal. She shows how, over time, dominant American beliefs about visible hair changed: where once elective hair removal was considered a “mutilation” practiced primarily by “savage” men, by the turn of the twentieth century, hair-free faces and limbs were expected for women. Visible hair growth—particularly on young, white women—came to be perceived as a sign of political extremism, sexual deviance, or mental illness. By the turn of the twenty-first century, more and more Americans were waxing, threading, shaving, or lasering themselves smooth. Herzig’s extraordinary account also reveals some of the collateral damages of the intensifying pursuit of hair-free skin. Moving beyond the experiences of particular patients or clients, Herzig describes the surprising histories of race, science, industry, and medicine behind today's hair-removing tools. Plucked is an unsettling, gripping, and original tale of the lengths to which Americans will go to remove hair.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 21, 2015

"Paying with Their Bodies"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Paying with Their Bodies: American War and the Problem of the Disabled Veteran by John M. Kinder.

About the book, from the publisher:
Christian Bagge, an Iraq War veteran, lost both his legs in a roadside bomb attack on his Humvee in 2006. Months after the accident, outfitted with sleek new prosthetic legs, he jogged alongside President Bush for a photo op at the White House. The photograph served many functions, one of them being to revive faith in an American martial ideal—that war could be fought without permanent casualties, and that innovative technology could easily repair war’s damage. When Bagge was awarded his Purple Heart, however, military officials asked him to wear pants to the ceremony, saying that photos of the event should be “soft on the eyes.” Defiant, Bagge wore shorts.

America has grappled with the questions posed by injured veterans since its founding, and with particular force since the early twentieth century: What are the nation’s obligations to those who fight in its name? And when does war’s legacy of disability outweigh the nation’s interests at home and abroad? In Paying with Their Bodies, John M. Kinder traces the complicated, intertwined histories of war and disability in modern America. Focusing in particular on the decades surrounding World War I, he argues that disabled veterans have long been at the center of two competing visions of American war: one that highlights the relative safety of US military intervention overseas; the other indelibly associating American war with injury, mutilation, and suffering. Kinder brings disabled veterans to the center of the American war story and shows that when we do so, the history of American war over the last century begins to look very different. War can no longer be seen as a discrete experience, easily left behind; rather, its human legacies are felt for decades.

The first book to examine the history of American warfare through the lens of its troubled legacy of injury and disability, Paying with Their Bodies will force us to think anew about war and its painful costs.
Visit John M. Kinder's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 20, 2015

"Where the River Burned"

New from Cornell University Press: Where the River Burned Carl Stokes and the Struggle to Save Cleveland by David Stradling and Richard Stradling.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the 1960s, Cleveland suffered through racial violence, spiking crime rates, and a shrinking tax base, as the city lost jobs and population. Rats infested an expanding and decaying ghetto, Lake Erie appeared to be dying, and dangerous air pollution hung over the city. Such was the urban crisis in the "Mistake on the Lake." When the Cuyahoga River caught fire in the summer of 1969, the city was at its nadir, polluted and impoverished, struggling to set a new course. The burning river became the emblem of all that was wrong with the urban environment in Cleveland and in all of industrial America.

Carl Stokes, the first African American mayor of a major U.S. city, had come into office in Cleveland a year earlier with energy and ideas. He surrounded himself with a talented staff, and his administration set new policies to combat pollution, improve housing, provide recreational opportunities, and spark downtown development. In Where the River Burned, David Stradling and Richard Stradling describe Cleveland's nascent transition from polluted industrial city to viable service city during the Stokes administration.

The story culminates with the first Earth Day in 1970, when broad citizen engagement marked a new commitment to the creation of a cleaner, more healthful and appealing city. Although concerned primarily with addressing poverty and inequality, Stokes understood that the transition from industrial city to service city required massive investments in the urban landscape. Stokes adopted ecological thinking that emphasized the connectedness of social and environmental problems and the need for regional solutions. He served two terms as mayor, but during his four years in office Cleveland's progress fell well short of his administration’s goals. Although he was acutely aware of the persistent racial and political boundaries that held back his city, Stokes was in many ways ahead of his time in his vision for Cleveland and a more livable urban America.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 19, 2015

"Pirates, Merchants, Settlers, and Slaves"

New from the University of California Press: Pirates, Merchants, Settlers, and Slaves: Colonial America and the Indo-Atlantic World by Kevin P. McDonald.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, more than a thousand pirates poured from the Atlantic into the Indian Ocean. There, according to Kevin P. McDonald, they helped launch an informal trade network that spanned the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds, connecting the North American colonies with the rich markets of the East Indies. Rather than conducting their commerce through chartered companies based in London or Lisbon, colonial merchants in New York entered into an alliance with Euro-American pirates based in Madagascar. Pirates, Merchants, Settlers, and Slaves explores the resulting global trade network located on the peripheries of world empires and shows the illicit ways American colonists met the consumer demand for slaves and East India goods. The book reveals that pirates played a significant yet misunderstood role in this period and that seafaring slaves were both commodities and essential components in the Indo-Atlantic maritime networks.

Enlivened by stories of Indo-Atlantic sailors and cargoes that included textiles, spices, jewels and precious metals, chinaware, alcohol, and drugs, this book links previously isolated themes of piracy, colonialism, slavery, transoceanic networks, and cross-cultural interactions and extends the boundaries of traditional Atlantic, national, world, and colonial histories.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

"Classroom Wars"

New from Oxford University Press: Classroom Wars: Language, Sex, and the Making of Modern Political Culture by Natalia Mehlman Petrzela.

About the book, from the publisher:
The schoolhouse has long been a crucible in the construction and contestation of the political concept of "family values." Through Spanish-bilingual and sex education, moderates and conservatives in California came to define the family as a politicized and racialized site in the late 1960s and 1970s. Sex education became a vital arena in the culture wars as cultural conservatives imagined the family as imperiled by morally lax progressives and liberals who advocated for these programs attempted to manage the onslaught of sexual explicitness in broader culture. Many moderates, however, doubted the propriety of addressing such sensitive issues outside the home. Bilingual education, meanwhile, was condemned as a symbol of wasteful federal spending on ethically questionable curricula and an intrusion on local prerogative. Spanish-language bilingual-bicultural programs may seem less relevant to the politics of family, but many Latino parents and students attempted to assert their authority, against great resistance, in impassioned demands to incorporate their cultural and linguistic heritage into the classroom. Both types of educational programs, in their successful implementation and in the reaction they inspired, highlight the rightward turn and enduring progressivism in postwar American political culture.

In Classroom Wars, Natalia Mehlman Petrzela charts how a state and a citizenry deeply committed to public education as an engine of civic and moral education navigated the massive changes brought about by the 1960s, including the sexual revolution, school desegregation, and a dramatic increase in Latino immigration. She traces the mounting tensions over educational progressivism, cultural and moral decay, and fiscal improvidence, using sources ranging from policy documents to student newspapers, from course evaluations to oral histories. Petrzela reveals how a growing number of Americans fused values about family, personal, and civic morality, which galvanized a powerful politics that engaged many Californians and, ultimately, many Americans. In doing so, they blurred the distinction between public and private and inspired some of the fiercest classroom wars in American history. Taking readers from the cultures of Orange County mega-churches to Berkeley coffeehouses, Natalia Mehlman Petrzela's history of these classroom controversies sheds light on the bitterness of the battles over diversity we continue to wage today and their influence on schools and society nationwide.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"Everyday Illegal"

New from the University of California Press: Everyday Illegal: When Policies Undermine Immigrant Families by Joanna Dreby.

About the book, from the publisher:
What does it mean to be an illegal immigrant, or the child of immigrants, in this era of restrictive immigration laws in the United States? As lawmakers and others struggle to respond to the changing landscape of immigration, the effects of policies on people's daily lives are all too often overlooked.

In Everyday Illegal, award-winning author Joanna Dreby recounts the stories of children and parents in eighty-one families to show what happens when a restrictive immigration system emphasizes deportation over legalization. Interweaving her own experiences, Dreby illustrates how bitter strains can arise in relationships when spouses have different legal status. She introduces us to “suddenly single mothers” who struggle to place food on the table and pay rent after their husbands have been deported. Taking us into the homes and schools of children living in increasingly vulnerable circumstances, she presents families that are divided internally, with some children having legal status while their siblings are undocumented. Even children who are U.S. citizens regularly associate immigration with illegality.

With vivid ethnographic details and a striking narrative, Everyday Illegal forces us to confront the devastating impacts of our immigration policies as seen through the eyes of children and their families. As legal status influences identity formation, alters the division of power within families, and affects the opportunities children have outside the home, it becomes a growing source of inequality that ultimately touches us all.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 16, 2015


New from Ecco: Pagans: The End of Traditional Religion and the Rise of Christianity by James J. O'Donnell.

About the book, from the publisher:
A provocative and contrarian religious history that charts the rise of Christianity from the point of view of traditional” religion from the religious scholar and critically acclaimed author of Augustine.

Pagans explores the rise of Christianity from a surprising and unique viewpoint: that of the people who witnessed their ways of life destroyed by what seemed then a powerful religious cult. These “pagans” were actually pious Greeks, Romans, Syrians, and Gauls who observed the traditions of their ancestors. To these devout polytheists, Christians who worshipped only one deity were immoral atheists who believed that a splash of water on the deathbed could erase a lifetime of sin.

Religious scholar James J. O’Donnell takes us on a lively tour of the Ancient Roman world through the fourth century CE, when Romans of every nationality, social class, and religious preference found their world suddenly constrained by rulers who preferred a strange new god. Some joined this new cult, while others denied its power, erroneously believing it was little more than a passing fad.

In Pagans, O’Donnell brings to life various pagan rites and essential features of Roman religion and life, offers fresh portraits of iconic historical figures, including Constantine, Julian, and Augustine, and explores important themes—Rome versus the east, civilization versus barbarism, plurality versus unity, rich versus poor, and tradition versus innovation—in this startling account.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 15, 2015

"The Origins of American Religious Nationalism"

New from Oxford University Press: The Origins of American Religious Nationalism by Sam Haselby.

About the book, from the publisher:
Sam Haselby offers a new and persuasive account of the role of religion in the formation of American nationality, showing how a contest within Protestantism reshaped American political culture and led to the creation of an enduring religious nationalism.

Following U.S. independence, the new republic faced vital challenges, including a vast and unique continental colonization project undertaken without, in the centuries-old European senses of the terms, either "a church" or "a state." Amid this crisis, two distinct Protestant movements arose: a popular and rambunctious frontier revivalism; and a nationalist, corporate missionary movement dominated by Northeastern elites. The former heralded the birth of popular American Protestantism, while the latter marked the advent of systematic Protestant missionary activity in the West.

The explosive economic and territorial growth in the early American republic, and the complexity of its political life, gave both movements opportunities for innovation and influence. This book explores the competition between them in relation to major contemporary developments-political democratization, large-scale immigration and unruly migration, fears of political disintegration, the rise of American capitalism and American slavery, and the need to nationalize the frontier. Haselby traces these developments from before the American Revolution to the rise of Andrew Jackson. His approach illuminates important changes in American history, including the decline of religious distinctions and the rise of racial ones, how and why "Indian removal" happened when it did, and with Andrew Jackson, the appearance of the first full-blown expression of American religious nationalism.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 14, 2015

"The Fall of the Ottomans"

New from Basic Books: The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East by Eugene Rogan.

About the book, from the publisher:
From a critically-acclaimed historian and renowned expert on Arab history, a groundbreaking survey of the Middle East's role in World War One—a conflict that both hinged on and reshaped the region.

In 1914 the Ottoman Empire was depleted of men and resources after years of war against Balkan nationalist and Italian forces. But in the aftermath of the assassination in Sarajevo, the powers of Europe were sliding inexorably toward war, and not even the Middle East could escape the vast and enduring consequences of one of the most destructive conflicts in human history. The Great War spelled the end of the Ottomans, unleashing powerful forces that would forever change the face of the Middle East.

In The Fall of the Ottomans, award-winning historian Eugene Rogan brings the First World War and its immediate aftermath in the Middle East to vivid life, uncovering the often ignored story of the region's crucial role in the conflict. Bolstered by German money, arms, and military advisors, the Ottomans took on the Russian, British, and French forces, and tried to provoke Jihad against the Allies in their Muslim colonies. Unlike the static killing fields of the Western Front, the war in the Middle East was fast-moving and unpredictable, with the Turks inflicting decisive defeats on the Entente in Gallipoli, Mesopotamia, and Gaza before the tide of battle turned in the Allies' favor. The great cities of Baghdad, Jerusalem, and, finally, Damascus fell to invading armies before the Ottomans agreed to an armistice in 1918.

The postwar settlement led to the partition of Ottoman lands between the victorious powers, and laid the groundwork for the ongoing conflicts that continue to plague the modern Arab world. A sweeping narrative of battles and political intrigue from Gallipoli to Arabia, The Fall of the Ottomans is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the Great War and the making of the modern Middle East.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 13, 2015

"Citizenship, Nation, Empire"

New from Manchester University Press: Citizenship, nation, empire: The politics of history teaching in England, 1870-1930 by Peter Yeandle.

About the book, from the publisher:
Citizenship, nation, empire investigates the extent to which popular imperialism influenced the teaching of history between 1870 and 1930. It is the first book-length study to trace the substantial impact of educational psychology on the teaching of history, probing its impact on textbooks, literacy primers and teacher-training manuals.

Educationists identified 'enlightened patriotism' to be the core objective of historical education. This was neither tub-thumping jingoism, nor state-prescribed national-identity teaching, but rather a carefully crafted curriculum for all children which fused civic as well as imperial ambitions.

The book details contemporary debates about the purpose of history teaching and the influence of late-Victorian and Edwardian educational culture, and goes on to examine how pedagogical developments shaped the content of early-years reading books and textbooks through analysis of key themes including race, seafaring, gender and national identity. Special attention is paid to the significance of mass schooling in the formation of turn-of-the-twentieth-century cultures of hero worship, and the legacy of such developments for the 1920s.

This volume will be of interest to those studying or researching aspects of English domestic imperial culture, especially those concerned with questions of childhood and schooling, citizenship, educational publishing and Anglo-British relations. Given that vitriolic debates about the politics of history teaching have endured into the twenty-first century, Citizenship, nation, empire is a timely study of the formative influences that shaped the history curriculum in English schools.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 12, 2015

"Religion in the Oval Office"

New from Oxford University Press: Religion in the Oval Office: The Religious Lives of American Presidents by Gary Scott Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
In his highly praised book Faith and the Presidency, Gary Scott Smith cast a revealing light on the role religion has played in presidential politics throughout our nation's history, offering comprehensive, even-handed examinations of the role of religion in the lives, politics, and policies of eleven presidents.

Now, in Religion in the Oval Office, Smith takes on eleven more of our nation's most interesting and influential chief executives: John Adams, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, William McKinley, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. Drawing on a wide range of sources and paying close attention to historical context and America's shifting social and moral values, he examines their religious beliefs, commitments, affiliations, and practices and scrutinizes their relationships with religious leaders and communities. The result is a fascinating account of the ways in which religion has helped shape the course of our history. From John Quincy Adams' treatment of Native Americans, to Harry Truman's decision to recognize Israel, to Bill Clinton's promotion of religious liberty and welfare reform, to Barack Obama's policies on poverty and gay rights, Smith shows how strongly our presidents' religious commitments have affected policy from the earliest days of our nation to the present.

Together with Faith and the Presidency, Religion in the Oval Office provides the most comprehensive examination of the inseparable and intriguing relationship between faith and the American presidency. This book will be invaluable to anyone interested in the presidency and the role of religion in politics.
The Page 99 Test: Heaven in the American Imagination.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"The Captain and 'the Cannibal'"

New from Yale University Press: The Captain and "the Cannibal": An Epic Story of Exploration, Kidnapping, and the Broadway Stage by James Fairhead.

About the book, from the publisher:
Sailing the uncharted waters of the Pacific in 1830, Captain Benjamin Morrell of Connecticut became the first outsider to encounter the inhabitants of a small island off New Guinea. The contact quickly turned violent, fatal cannons were fired, and Morrell abducted young Dako, a hostage so shocked by the white complexions of his kidnappers that he believed he had been captured by the dead. This gripping book unveils for the first time the strange odyssey the two men shared in ensuing years. The account is uniquely told, as much from the captive’s perspective as from the American’s.

Upon returning to New York, Morrell exhibited Dako as a “cannibal” in wildly popular shows performed on Broadway and along the east coast. The proceeds helped fund a return voyage to the South Pacific—the captain hoping to establish trade with Dako’s assistance, and Dako seizing his only chance to return home to his unmapped island. Supported by rich, newly found archives, this wide-ranging volume traces the voyage to its extraordinary ends and en route decrypts Morrell’s ambiguous character, the mythic qualities of Dako’s life, and the two men's infusion into American literature—Dako inspired Melville’s Queequeg, for example. The encounters confound indigenous peoples and Americans alike as both puzzle over what it is to be truly human and alive.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"The Victorian Geopolitical Aesthetic"

New from Oxford University Press: The Victorian Geopolitical Aesthetic: Realism, Sovereignty, and Transnational Experience by Lauren M. E. Goodlad.

About the book, from the publisher:
How did realist fiction alter in the effort to craft forms and genres receptive to the dynamism of an expanding empire and globalizing world? Do these nineteenth-century variations on the "geopolitical aesthetic" continue to resonate today? Crossing literary criticism, political theory, and longue duree history, The Victorian Geopolitical Aesthetic explores these questions from the standpoint of mid-nineteenth-century novelists such as Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, Gustave Flaubert, and Anthony Trollope as well as successors including E. M. Forster and the creators of recent television serials. By looking at the category of "sovereignty" at multiple scales and in diverse formal, geographic, and historical contexts, Lauren M. E. Goodlad shows that the ideological crucible for "high" realism was not a hegemonic liberalism. It was, rather, a clash of modern liberal ideals struggling to distintricate themselves from a powerful conservative vision of empire while striving to negotiate the inequalities of power along lines of race, gender, nationality, and ethnicity which a supposedly universalistic liberalism had helped to generate.

The material occasion for the mid-Victorian era's rich realist experiments was, thus, the transition from an informal empire of trade that could be celebrated as "liberal" to a neo-feudal imperialism that only Tories could warmly embrace. In this way the book places realism's "geopolitical aesthetic" at the heart of recurring modern experiences of breached sovereignty, forgotten history, and subjective exile. The Coda, titled "The Way We Historicize Now," concludes the book with connections to recent debates about "surface reading" "distant reading," and the hermeneutics of suspicion.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 9, 2015

"Love's Uncertainty"

New from the University of California Press: Love's Uncertainty: The Politics and Ethics of Child Rearing in Contemporary China by Teresa Kuan.

About the book, from the publisher:
Love’s Uncertainty explores the hopes and anxieties of urban, middle-class parents in contemporary China. Combining long-term ethnographic research with analyses of popular child-rearing manuals, television dramas, and government documents, Teresa Kuan bears witness to the dilemmas of ordinary Chinese parents, who struggle to reconcile new definitions of good parenting with the reality of limited resources. Situating these parents’ experiences in the historical context of state efforts to improve "population quality," Love’s Uncertainty reveals how global transformations are expressed in the most intimate of human experiences. Ultimately, the book offers a meditation on the nature of moral agency, examining how people discern, amid the myriad contingencies of life, the boundary between what can and cannot be controlled.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 8, 2015

"Purging the Empire"

New from Oxford University Press: Purging the Empire: Mass Expulsions in Germany, 1871-1914 by Matthew P. Fitzpatrick.

About the book, from the publisher:
While the fate of minorities under Nazism is well known, the earlier expulsions of Germany's unwanted residents are less well understood. Against a backdrop of raging public debate, and numerous claims of a 'state of exception', tens of thousands of vulnerable people living in the German Empire were the victims of mass expulsion orders between 1871 and 1914. Groups as diverse as Socialists, Jesuits, Danes, colonial subjects, French nationalists, Poles, and 'Gypsies' were all removed, under circumstances that varied from police actions undertaken by provincial governors through to laws authorising removals passed by the Reichstag.

Purging the Empire examines the competing voices demanding the removal or the preservation of suspect communities, suggesting that these expulsions were enabled by the decentralised and participatory nature of German politics. In a surprisingly responsive political system, a range of players, including the Kaiser, the Reichstag, the bureaucracy, provincial officials, and local police authorities were all empowered to authorise the expulsion of unwanted residents. Added to this, the German press, civic associations, chambers of commerce, public intellectuals, religious societies, and the grassroots membership of political parties all played an important role in advocating or denouncing the measures before, during and after their implementation. Far from revealing the centrality of authoritarian caprice, Germany's mass expulsions point to the diffuse nature of coercive sovereign power and the role of public pressure in authorising or censuring the removals that took place in a modern, increasingly parliamentary Rechtsstaat.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 7, 2015

"The Great Divide"

New from Da Capo Press: The Great Divide: The Conflict between Washington and Jefferson that Defined a Nation by Thomas Fleming.

About the book, from the publisher:
History tends to cast the early years of America in a glow of camaraderie, when there were, in fact, many conflicts between the Founding Fathers—none more important than the one between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Their disagreement centered on the highest, most original public office created by the Constitutional Convention: the presidency. It also involved the nation’s foreign policy, the role of merchants and farmers in a republic, and the durability of the union. At its root were two sharply different visions of the nation’s future.

Acclaimed historian Thomas Fleming examines how the differing characters and leadership styles of Washington and Jefferson shaped two opposing views of the presidency—and the nation. This clash profoundly influenced the next two centuries of America’s history and persists in the present day.
Visit Thomas Fleming's website.

Writers Read: Thomas Fleming.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 6, 2015

"Indian Asceticism"

New from Oxford University Press: Indian Asceticism: Power, Violence, and Play by Carl Olson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Throughout the history of Indian religions, the ascetic figure is most closely identified with power. A by-product of the ascetic path, power is displayed in the ability to fly, walk on water or through dense objects, read minds, discern the former lives of others, see into the future, harm others, or simply levitate one's body. These tales give rise to questions about how power and violence are related to the phenomenon of play.

Indian Asceticism focuses on the powers exhibited by ascetics of India from ancient to modern time. Carl Olson discusses the erotic, the demonic, the comic, and the miraculous forms of play and their connections to power and violence. He focuses on Hinduism, but evidence is also presented from Buddhism and Jainism, suggesting that the subject matter of this book pervades India's major indigenous religious traditions.

The book includes a look at the extent to which findings in cognitive science can add to our understanding of these various powers; Olson argues that violence is built into the practice of the ascetic. Indian Asceticism culminates with an attempt to rethink the nature of power in a way that does justice to the literary evidence from Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain sources.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 5, 2015

"Dachau and the SS"

New from Oxford University Press: Dachau and the SS: A Schooling in Violence by Christopher Dillon.

About the book, from the publisher:
Dachau and the SS studies the concentration camp guards at Dachau, the first SS concentration camp and a national 'school' of violence for its concentration camp personnel. Set up in the first months of Adolf Hitler's rule, Dachau was a bastion of the Nazi 'revolution' and a key springboard for the ascent of Heinrich Himmler and the SS to control of the Third Reich's terror and policing apparatus. Throughout the pre-war era of Nazi Germany, Dachau functioned as an academy of violence where concentration camp personnel were schooled in steely resolution and the techniques of terror. An international symbol of Nazi depredation, Dachau was the cradle of a new and terrible spirit of destruction.

Combining extensive new research into the pre-war history of Dachau with theoretical insights from studies of perpetrator violence, this book offers the first systematic study of the 'Dachau School'. It explores the backgrounds and socialization of thousands of often very young SS men in the camp and critiques the assumption that violence was an outcome of personal or ideological pathologies. Christopher Dillon analyses recruitment to the Dachau SS and evaluates the contribution of ideology, training, social psychology, and masculine ideals to the conduct and subsequent careers of concentration camp guards. Graduates of the Dachau School would go on to play a central role in the wartime criminality of the Third Reich, particularly at Auschwitz. Dachau and the SS makes an original contribution to scholarship on the pre-history of the Holocaust and the institutional organisation of violence.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

"Patriotic Betrayal"

New from Yale University Press: Patriotic Betrayal: The Inside Story of the CIA’s Secret Campaign to Enroll American Students in the Crusade Against Communism by Karen M. Paget.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this revelatory book, Karen M. Paget shows how the CIA turned the National Student Association into an intelligence asset during the Cold War, with students used—often wittingly and sometimes unwittingly—as undercover agents inside America and abroad. In 1967, Ramparts magazine exposed the story, prompting the Agency into engineering a successful cover-up. Now Paget, drawing on archival sources, declassified documents, and more than 150 interviews, shows that the Ramparts story revealed only a small part of the plot.

A cautionary tale, throwing sharp light on the persistent argument, heard even now, about whether America’s national-security interests can be advanced by skullduggery and deception, Patriotic Betrayal, says Karl E. Meyer, a former editorial board member of the New York Times and The Washington Post, evokes “the aura of a John le Carré novel with its self-serving rationalizations, its layers of duplicity, and its bureaucratic doubletalk.” And Hugh Wilford, author of The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America, calls Patriotic Betrayal “extremely valuable as a case study of relations between the CIA and one of its front groups, greatly extending and enriching our knowledge and understanding of the complex dynamics involved in such covert, state-private relationships; it offers a fascinating portrayal of post-World War II U.S. political culture in microcosm."
Visit Karen M. Paget's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

"Soul, Self, and Society"

New from Oxford University Press: Soul, Self, and Society: The New Morality and the Modern State by Edward L Rubin.

About the book, from the publisher:
Political and social commentators regularly bemoan the decline of morality in the modern world. They claim that the norms and values that held society together in the past are rapidly eroding, to be replaced by permissiveness and empty hedonism. But as Edward Rubin demonstrates in this powerful account of moral transformations, these prophets of doom are missing the point. Morality is not diminishing; instead, a new morality, centered on an ethos of human self-fulfillment, is arising to replace the old one.

As Rubin explains, changes in morality have gone hand in hand with changes in the prevailing mode of governance throughout the course of Western history. During the Early Middle Ages, a moral system based on honor gradually developed. In a dangerous world where state power was declining, people relied on bonds of personal loyalty that were secured by generosity to their followers and violence against their enemies. That moral order, exemplified in the early feudal system and in sagas like The Song of Roland, The Song of the Cid, and the Arthurian legends has faded, but its remnants exist today in criminal organizations like the Mafia and in the rap music of the urban ghettos. When state power began to revive in the High Middle Ages through the efforts of the European monarchies, and Christianity became more institutionally effective and more spiritually intense, a new morality emerged. Described by Rubin as the morality of higher purposes, it demanded that people devote their personal efforts to achieving salvation and their social efforts to serving the emerging nation-states. It insisted on social hierarchy, confined women to subordinate roles, restricted sex to procreation, centered child-rearing on moral inculcation, and countenanced slavery and the marriage of pre-teenage girls to older men.

Our modern era, which began in the late 18th century, has seen the gradual erosion of this morality of higher purposes and the rise of a new morality of self-fulfillment, one that encourages individuals to pursue the most meaningful and rewarding life-path. Far from being permissive or a moral abdication, it demands that people respect each other's choices, that sex be mutually enjoyable, that public positions be allocated according to merit, and that society provide all its members with their minimum needs so that they have the opportunity to fulfill themselves. Where people once served the state, the state now functions to serve the people. The clash between this ascending morality and the declining morality of higher purposes is the primary driver of contemporary political and cultural conflict.

A sweeping, big-idea book in the vein of Francis Fukuyama's The End of History, Charles Taylor's The Secular Age, and Richard Sennett's The Fall of Public Man, Edward Rubin's new volume promises to reshape our understanding of morality, its relationship to government, and its role in shaping the emerging world of High Modernity.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 2, 2015

"The Invaders"

New from Harvard University Press: The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction by Pat Shipman.

About the book, from the publisher:
With their large brains, sturdy physique, sophisticated tools, and hunting skills, Neanderthals are the closest known relatives to humans. Approximately 200,000 years ago, as modern humans began to radiate out from their evolutionary birthplace in Africa, Neanderthals were already thriving in Europe—descendants of a much earlier migration of the African genus Homo. But when modern humans eventually made their way to Europe 45,000 years ago, Neanderthals suddenly vanished. Ever since the first Neanderthal bones were identified in 1856, scientists have been vexed by the question, why did modern humans survive while their evolutionary cousins went extinct?

The Invaders musters compelling evidence to show that the major factor in the Neanderthals’ demise was direct competition with newly arriving humans. Drawing on insights from the field of invasion biology, which predicts that the species ecologically closest to the invasive predator will face the greatest competition, Pat Shipman traces the devastating impact of a growing human population: reduction of Neanderthals’ geographic range, isolation into small groups, and loss of genetic diversity.

But modern humans were not the only invaders who competed with Neanderthals for big game. Shipman reveals fascinating confirmation of humans’ partnership with the first domesticated wolf-dogs soon after Neanderthals first began to disappear. This alliance between two predator species, she hypothesizes, made possible an unprecedented degree of success in hunting large Ice Age mammals—a distinct and ultimately decisive advantage for humans over Neanderthals at a time when climate change made both groups vulnerable.
The Page 99 Test: The Animal Connection.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 1, 2015

"Dealing in Desire"

New from the University of California Press: Dealing in Desire: Asian Ascendancy, Western Decline, and the Hidden Currencies of Global Sex Work by Kimberly Kay Hoang.

About the book, from the publisher:
This captivating ethnography explores Vietnam’s sex industry as the country ascends the global and regional stage. Over the course of five years, author Kimberly Kay Hoang worked at four exclusive Saigon hostess bars catering to diverse clientele: wealthy local Vietnamese and Asian businessmen, Viet Kieus (ethnic Vietnamese living abroad), Western businessmen, and Western budget-tourists. Dealing in Desire takes an in-depth and often personal look at both the sex workers and their clients to show how Vietnamese high finance and benevolent giving are connected to the intimate spheres of the informal economy. For the domestic super-elite who use the levers of political power to channel foreign capital into real estate and manufacturing projects, conspicuous consumption is a means of projecting an image of Asian ascendancy to potential investors. For Viet Kieus and Westerners who bring remittances into the local economy, personal relationships with local sex workers reinforce their ideas of Asia’s rise and Western decline, while simultaneously bolstering their diminished masculinity. Dealing in Desire illuminates Ho Chi Minh City’s sex industry as not just a microcosm of the global economy, but a critical space where dreams and deals are traded.
Visit Kimberly Kay Hoang's website.

--Marshal Zeringue