Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"German Rocketeers in the Heart of Dixie"

New from Yale University Press: German Rocketeers in the Heart of Dixie: Making Sense of the Nazi Past during the Civil Rights Era by Monique Laney.

About the book, from the publisher:
This thought-provoking study by historian Monique Laney focuses on the U.S. government–assisted integration of German rocket specialists and their families into a small southern community soon after World War II. In 1950, Wernher von Braun and his team of rocket experts relocated to Huntsville, Alabama, a town that would celebrate the team, despite their essential role in the recent Nazi war effort, for their contributions to the U.S. Army missile program and later to NASA’s space program. Based on oral histories, provided by members of the African American and Jewish communities, and by the rocketeers’ families, co-workers, friends, and neighbors, Laney’s book demonstrates how the histories of German Nazism and Jim Crow in the American South intertwine in narratives about the past. This is a critical reassessment of a singular time that links the Cold War, the Space Race, and the Civil Rights era while addressing important issues of transnational science and technology, and asking Americans to consider their country’s own history of racism when reflecting on the Nazi past.
Visit Monique Laney's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 29, 2015

"Emperor Wu Zhao and Her Pantheon of Devis, Divinities, and Dynastic Mothers"

New from Columbia University Press: Emperor Wu Zhao and Her Pantheon of Devis, Divinities, and Dynastic Mothers by N. Harry Rothschild.

About the book, from the publisher:
Wu Zhao (624-705), better known as Wu Zetian or Empress Wu, is the only woman to have ruled China as emperor over the course of its 5,000-year history. How did she--in a predominantly patriarchal and androcentric society--ascend the dragon throne? Exploring a mystery that has confounded scholars for centuries, this multifaceted history suggests that China's rich pantheon of female divinities and eminent women played an integral part in the construction of Wu Zhao's sovereignty.

Wu Zhao deftly deployed language, symbol, and ideology to harness the cultural resonance, maternal force, divine energy, and historical weight of Buddhist devis, Confucian exemplars, Daoist immortals, and mythic goddesses, establishing legitimacy within and beyond the confines of Confucian ideology. Tapping into powerful subterranean reservoirs of female power, Wu Zhao built a pantheon of female divinities carefully calibrated to meet her needs at court. Her pageant was promoted in scripted rhetoric, reinforced through poetry, celebrated in theatrical productions, and inscribed on steles.

Rendered with deft political acumen and aesthetic flair, these affiliations significantly enhanced Wu Zhao's authority and cast her as the human vessel through which the pantheon's divine energy flowed. Her strategy is a model of political brilliance and proof that medieval Chinese women enjoyed a more complex social status than previously known.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 28, 2015

"The Political Machine"

New from Princeton University Press: The Political Machine: Assembling Sovereignty in the Bronze Age Caucasus by Adam T. Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Political Machine investigates the essential role that material culture plays in the practices and maintenance of political sovereignty. Through an archaeological exploration of the Bronze Age Caucasus, Adam Smith demonstrates that beyond assemblies of people, polities are just as importantly assemblages of things—from ballots and bullets to crowns, regalia, and licenses. Smith looks at the ways that these assemblages help to forge cohesive publics, separate sovereigns from a wider social mass, and formalize governance—and he considers how these developments continue to shape politics today.

Smith shows that the formation of polities is as much about the process of manufacturing assemblages as it is about disciplining subjects, and that these material objects or “machines” sustain communities, orders, and institutions. The sensibilities, senses, and sentiments connecting people to things enabled political authority during the Bronze Age and fortify political power even in the contemporary world. Smith provides a detailed account of the transformation of communities in the Caucasus, from small-scale early Bronze Age villages committed to egalitarianism, to Late Bronze Age polities predicated on radical inequality, organized violence, and a centralized apparatus of rule.

From Bronze Age traditions of mortuary ritual and divination to current controversies over flag pins and Predator drones, The Political Machine sheds new light on how material goods authorize and defend political order.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 27, 2015

"When Britain Saved the West"

New from Yale University Press: When Britain Saved the West: The Story of 1940 by Robin Prior.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the comfortable distance of seven decades, it is quite easy to view the victory of the Allies over Hitler’s Germany as inevitable. But in 1940 Great Britain’s defeat loomed perilously close, and no other nation stepped up to confront the Nazi threat. In this cogently argued book, Robin Prior delves into the documents of the time—war diaries, combat reports, Home Security’s daily files, and much more—to uncover how Britain endured a year of menacing crises.

The book reassesses key events of 1940—crises that were recognized as such at the time and others not fully appreciated. Prior examines Neville Chamberlain’s government, Churchill’s opponents, the collapse of France, the Battle of Britain, and the Blitz. He looks critically at the position of the United States before Pearl Harbor, and at Roosevelt’s response to the crisis. Prior concludes that the nation was saved through a combination of political leadership, British Expeditionary Force determination and skill, Royal Air Force and Navy efforts to return soldiers to the homeland, and the determination of the people to fight on “in spite of all terror.” As eloquent as it is controversial, this book exposes the full import of events in 1940, when Britain fought alone and Western civilization hung in the balance.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 26, 2015

"Why Did Europe Conquer the World?"

New from Princeton University Press: Why Did Europe Conquer the World? by Philip T. Hoffman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Between 1492 and 1914, Europeans conquered 84 percent of the globe. But why did Europe rise to the top, when for centuries the Chinese, Japanese, Ottomans, and South Asians were far more advanced? Why didn’t these powers establish global dominance? In Why Did Europe Conquer the World?, distinguished economic historian Philip Hoffman demonstrates that conventional explanations—such as geography, epidemic disease, and the Industrial Revolution—fail to provide answers. Arguing instead for the pivotal role of economic and political history, Hoffman shows that if variables had been at all different, Europe would not have achieved critical military innovations, and another power could have become master of the world.

In vivid detail, Hoffman sheds light on the two millennia of economic, political, and historical changes that set European states on a distinctive path of development and military rivalry. Compared to their counterparts in China, Japan, South Asia, and the Middle East, European leaders—whether chiefs, lords, kings, emperors, or prime ministers—had radically different incentives, which drove them to make war. These incentives, which Hoffman explores using an economic model of political costs and financial resources, resulted in astonishingly rapid growth in Europe’s military sector from the Middle Ages on, and produced an insurmountable lead in gunpowder technology. The consequences determined which states established colonial empires or ran the slave trade, and even which economies were the first to industrialize.

Debunking traditional arguments, Why Did Europe Conquer the World? reveals the startling reasons behind Europe’s historic global supremacy.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 25, 2015

"Inventing a Christian America"

New from Oxford University Press: Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding by Steven K. Green.

About the book, from the publisher:
Among the most enduring themes in American history is the idea that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. A pervasive narrative in everything from school textbooks to political commentary, it is central to the way in which many Americans perceive the historical legacy of their nation. Yet, as Steven K. Green shows in this illuminating new book, it is little more than a myth.

In Inventing a Christian America, Green, a leading historian of religion and politics, explores the historical record that is purported to support the popular belief in America's religious founding and status as a Christian nation. He demonstrates that, like all myths, these claims are based on historical "facts" that have been colored by the interpretive narratives that have been imposed upon them. In tracing the evolution of these claims and the evidence levied in support of them from the founding of the New England colonies, through the American Revolution, and to the present day, he investigates how they became leading narratives in the country's collective identity. Three critical moments in American history shaped and continue to drive the myth of a Christian America: the Puritan founding of New England, the American Revolution and the forging of a new nation, and the early years of the nineteenth century, when a second generation of Americans sought to redefine and reconcile the memory of the founding to match their religious and patriotic aspirations. Seeking to shed light not only on the veracity of these ideas but on the reasons they endure, Green ultimately shows that the notion of America's religious founding is a myth not merely in the colloquial sense, but also in a deeper sense, as a shared story that gives deeper meaning to our collective national identity.

Offering a fresh look at one of the most common and contested claims in American history, Inventing a Christian America is an enlightening read for anyone interested in the story of-and the debate over-America's founding.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"Nature, Human Nature, and Human Difference"

New from Princeton University Press: Nature, Human Nature, and Human Difference: Race in Early Modern Philosophy by Justin E. H. Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
People have always been xenophobic, but an explicit philosophical and scientific view of human racial difference only began to emerge during the modern period. Why and how did this happen? Surveying a range of philosophical and natural-scientific texts, dating from the Spanish Renaissance to the German Enlightenment, Nature, Human Nature, and Human Difference charts the evolution of the modern concept of race and shows that natural philosophy, particularly efforts to taxonomize and to order nature, played a crucial role.

Smith demonstrates how the denial of moral equality between Europeans and non-Europeans resulted from converging philosophical and scientific developments, including a declining belief in human nature’s universality and the rise of biological classification. The racial typing of human beings grew from the need to understand humanity within an all-encompassing system of nature, alongside plants, minerals, primates, and other animals. While racial difference as seen through science did not arise in order to justify the enslavement of people, it became a rationalization and buttress for the practices of trans-Atlantic slavery. From the work of Fran├žois Bernier to G. W. Leibniz, Immanuel Kant, and others, Smith delves into philosophy’s part in the legacy and damages of modern racism.

With a broad narrative stretching over two centuries, Nature, Human Nature, and Human Difference takes a critical historical look at how the racial categories that we divide ourselves into came into being.
Visit Justin E. H. Smith's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

"Roads: An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise"

New from Cornell University Press: Roads: An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise by Penny Harvey and Hannah Knox.

About the book, from the publisher:
Roads matter to people. This claim is central to the work of Penny Harvey and Hannah Knox, who in this book use the example of highway building in South America to explore what large public infrastructural projects can tell us about contemporary state formation, social relations, and emerging political economies.

Roads focuses on two main sites: the interoceanic highway currently under construction between Brazil and Peru, a major public/private collaboration that is being realized within new, internationally ratified regulatory standards; and a recently completed one-hundred-kilometer stretch of highway between Iquitos, the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon, and a small town called Nauta, one of the earliest colonial settlements in the Amazon. The Iquitos-Nauta highway is one of the most expensive roads per kilometer on the planet.

Combining ethnographic and historical research, Harvey and Knox shed light on the work of engineers and scientists, bureaucrats and construction company officials. They describe how local populations anticipated each of the road projects, even getting deeply involved in questions of exact routing as worries arose that the road would benefit some more than others. Connectivity was a key recurring theme as people imagined the prosperity that will come by being connected to other parts of the country and with other parts of the world. Sweeping in scope and conceptually ambitious, Roads tells a story of global flows of money, goods, and people—and of attempts to stabilize inherently unstable physical and social environments.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 22, 2015

"John Knox"

New from Yale University Press: John Knox by Jane Dawson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Jane Dawson has written the definitive life of John Knox, a leader of the Protestant Reformation in sixteenth-century Scotland. Based in large part on previously unavailable sources, including the recently discovered papers of Knox’s close friend and colleague Christopher Goodman, Dawson’s biography challenges the traditionally held stereotype of this founder of the Presbyterian denomination as a strident and misogynist religious reformer whose influence rarely extended beyond Scotland. She maintains instead that John Knox relied heavily on the support of his “godly sisters” and conferred as well as argued with Mary, Queen of Scots. He was a proud member of the European community of Reformed Churches and deeply involved in the religious Reformations within England, Ireland, France, Switzerland, and the Holy Roman Empire. Casting a surprising new light on the public and private personas of a highly complex, difficult, and hugely compelling individual, Dawson’s fascinating study offers a vivid, fully rounded portrait of this renowned Scottish preacher and prophet who had a seismic impact on religion and society.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 21, 2015

"No One Will Let Her Live"

New from the University of California Press: No One Will Let Her Live: Women's Struggle for Well-Being in a Delhi Slum by Claire Snell-Rood.

About the book, from the publisher:
The inequalities that structure relationships in Delhi’s urban slums have left the health of women living there chronically vulnerable. Yet for women living in slums, there is no other option than to depend on someone. Based on fourteen months of intensive fieldwork with ten families in a Delhi slum, No One Will Let Her Live argues that women rely on moral strategies to confront the poverty and unstable relationships that threaten their well-being. Claire Snell-Rood breaks new ground by delineating the complex ways in which women set boundaries, maintain their independence, and develop a nuanced sense of selfhood that draws on endurance, asceticism, mobility, and citizenship.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 20, 2015

"Soviet Soft Power in Poland"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Soviet Soft Power in Poland: Culture and the Making of Stalin's New Empire, 1943-1957 by Patryk Babiracki.

About the book, from the publisher:
Concentrating on the formative years of the Cold War from 1943 to 1957, Patryk Babiracki reveals little-known Soviet efforts to build a postwar East European empire through culture. Babiracki argues that the Soviets involved in foreign cultural outreach tried to use “soft power” in order to galvanize broad support for the postwar order in the emerging Soviet bloc. Populated with compelling characters ranging from artists, writers, journalists, and scientists to party and government functionaries, this work illuminates the behind-the-scenes schemes of the Stalinist international propaganda machine. Based on exhaustive research in Russian and Polish archives, Babiracki's study is the first in any language to examine the two-way interactions between Soviet and Polish propagandists and to evaluate their attempts at cultural cooperation. Babiracki shows that the Stalinist system ultimately undermined Soviet efforts to secure popular legitimacy abroad through persuasive propaganda. He also highlights the limitations and contradictions of Soviet international cultural outreach, which help explain why the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe crumbled so easily after less than a half-century of existence.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 19, 2015

"The Fascist Effect"

New from Cornell University Press: The Fascist Effect: Japan and Italy, 1915-1952 by Reto Hofmann.

About the book, from the publisher:
During the interwar period, Japanese intellectuals, writers, activists, and politicians, although conscious of the many points of intersection between their politics and those of Mussolini, were ambivalent about the comparability of Imperial Japan and Fascist Italy. In The Fascist Effect, Reto Hofmann uncovers the ideological links that tied Japan to Italy, drawing on extensive materials from Japanese and Italian archives to shed light on the formation of fascist history and practice in Japan and beyond. Moving between personal experiences, diplomatic and cultural relations, and geopolitical considerations, Hofmann shows that interwar Japan found in fascism a resource to develop a new order at a time of capitalist crisis.

Japanese thinkers and politicians debated fascism as part of a wider effort to overcome a range of modern woes, including class conflict and moral degeneration, through measures that fostered national cohesion and social order. Hofmann demonstrates that fascism in Japan was neither a European import nor a domestic product; it was, rather, the result of a complex process of global transmission and reformulation. By focusing on how interwar Japanese understood fascism, Hofmann recuperates a historical debate that has been largely disregarded by historians, even though its extent reveals that fascism occupied a central position in the politics of interwar Japan. Far from being a vague term, as postwar historiography has so often claimed, for Japanese of all backgrounds who came of age from the 1920s to the 1940s, fascism conjured up a set of concrete associations, including nationalism, leadership, economics, and a drive toward empire and a new world order.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 18, 2015

"All in Your Head"

New from the University of California Press: All in Your Head: Making Sense of Pediatric Pain by Mara Buchbinder.

About the book, from the publisher:
Although pain is a universal human experience, many view the pain of others as private, resistant to language, and, therefore, essentially unknowable. And, yet, despite the obvious limits to comprehending another’s internal state, language is all that we have to translate pain from the solitary and unknowable to a phenomenon richly described in literature, medicine, and everyday life. Without denying the private dimensions of pain, All in Your Head offers an entirely fresh perspective that considers how pain may be configured, managed, explained, and even experienced in deeply relational ways.

Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in a pediatric pain clinic in California, Mara Buchbinder explores how clinicians, adolescent patients, and their families make sense of puzzling symptoms and work to alleviate pain. Through careful attention to the language of pain—including narratives, conversations, models, and metaphors—and detailed analysis of how young pain sufferers make meaning through interactions with others, her book reveals that however private pain may be, making sense of it is profoundly social.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"God, Modality, and Morality"

New from Oxford University Press: God, Modality, and Morality by William E. Mann.

About the book, from the publisher:
Suppose that God exists: what difference would that make to the world? The answer depends on the nature of God and the nature of the world. In this book, William E. Mann argues in one new and sixteen previously published essays for a modern interpretation of a traditional conception of God as a simple, necessarily existing, personal being. Divine simplicity entails that God has no physical composition or temporal stages; that there is in God no distinction between essence and existence; that there is no partitioning of God's mental life into beliefs, desires, and intentions. God is thus a spiritual, eternal being, dependent on nothing else, whose essence is to exist and whose mode of existence is identical with omniscience, omnipotence, and perfectly goodness.

In metaphysical contrast, the world is a spatial matrix populated most conspicuously by finite physical objects whose careers proceed sequentially from past to present to future. Mann defends a view according to which the world was created out of nothing and is sustained in existence from moment to moment by God. The differences in metaphysical status between creator and creatures raise questions for which Mann suggests answers. How can God know contingent facts and necessary truths without depending on them? Why is it so easy to overlook God's presence? Why would self-sufficient God create anything? Wouldn't a perfect God create the best world possible? Can God be free? Can we be free if God's power is continuously necessary to sustain us in existence? If God does sustain us, is God an accomplice whenever we sin?

Mann responds to the Euthyphro dilemma by arguing for a kind of divine command metaethical theory, whose normative content lays emphasis on love. Given the metaphysical differences between us, how can there be loving relationships between God and creatures? Mann responds by examining the notions of piety and hope.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

"Monster of the Twentieth Century"

New from the University of California Press: Monster of the Twentieth Century: Kotoku Shusui and Japan's First Anti-Imperialist Movement by Robert Thomas Tierney.

About the book, from the publisher:
This extended monograph examines the work of the radical journalist Kotoku Shusui and Japan’s anti-imperialist movement of the early twentieth century. It includes the first English translation of Imperialism (Teikokushugi), Kotoku’s classic 1901 work.

Kotoku Shusui was a Japanese socialist, anarchist, and critic of Japan’s imperial expansionism who was executed in 1911 for his alleged participation in a plot to kill the emperor. His Imperialism was one of the first systematic criticisms of imperialism published anywhere in the world. In this seminal text, Kotoku condemned global imperialism as the commandeering of politics by national elites and denounced patriotism and militarism as the principal causes of imperialism.

In addition to translating Imperialism, Robert Tierney offers an in-depth study of Kotoku’s text and of the early anti-imperialist movement he led. Tierney places Kotoku’s book within the broader context of early twentieth-century debates on the nature and causes of imperialism. He also presents a detailed account of the different stages of the Japanese anti-imperialist movement. Monster of the Twentieth Century constitutes a major contribution to the intellectual history of modern Japan and to the comparative study of critiques of capitalism and colonialism.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 15, 2015

"The Guardians"

New from Oxford University Press: The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire by Susan Pedersen.

About the book, from the publisher:
At the end of the First World War, the Paris Peace Conference saw a battle over the future of empire. The victorious allied powers wanted to annex the Ottoman territories and German colonies they had occupied; Woodrow Wilson and a groundswell of anti-imperialist activism stood in their way. France, Belgium, Japan and the British dominions reluctantly agreed to an Anglo-American proposal to hold and administer those allied conquests under "mandate" from the new League of Nations. In the end, fourteen mandated territories were set up across the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific. Against all odds, these disparate and far-flung territories became the site and the vehicle of global transformation.

In this masterful history of the mandates system, Susan Pedersen illuminates the role the League of Nations played in creating the modern world. Tracing the system from its creation in 1920 until its demise in 1939, Pedersen examines its workings from the realm of international diplomacy; the viewpoints of the League's experts and officials; and the arena of local struggles within the territories themselves. Featuring a cast of larger-than-life figures, including Lord Lugard, King Faisal, Chaim Weizmann and Ralph Bunche, the narrative sweeps across the globe-from windswept scrublands along the Orange River to famine-blighted hilltops in Rwanda to Damascus under French bombardment-but always returns to Switzerland and the sometimes vicious battles over ideas of civilization, independence, economic relations, and sovereignty in the Geneva headquarters. As Pedersen shows, although the architects and officials of the mandates system always sought to uphold imperial authority, colonial nationalists, German revisionists, African-American intellectuals and others were able to use the platform Geneva offered to challenge their claims. Amid this cacophony, imperial statesmen began exploring new means - client states, economic concessions - of securing Western hegemony. In the end, the mandate system helped to create the world in which we now live.

A riveting work of global history, The Guardians enables us to look back at the League with new eyes, and in doing so, appreciate how complex, multivalent, and consequential this first great experiment in internationalism really was.
Learn more about The Guardians at the Oxford University Press website.

Writers Read: Susan Pedersen.

The Page 99 Test: The Guardians.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 14, 2015

"Holy Legionary Youth"

New from Cornell University Press: Holy Legionary Youth: Fascist Activism in Interwar Romania by Roland Clark.

About the book, from the publisher:
Founded in 1927, Romania’s Legion of the Archangel Michael was one of Europe’s largest and longest-lived fascist social movements. In Holy Legionary Youth, Roland Clark draws on oral histories, memoirs, and substantial research in the archives of the Romanian secret police to provide the most comprehensive account of the Legion in English to date. Clark approaches Romanian fascism by asking what membership in the Legion meant to young Romanian men and women. Viewing fascism “from below,” as a social category that had practical consequences for those who embraced it, he shows how the personal significance of fascism emerged out of Legionaries’ interactions with each other, the state, other political parties, families and friends, and fascist groups abroad. Official repression, fascist spectacle, and the frequency and nature of legionary activities changed a person’s everyday activities and relationships in profound ways.

Clark’s sweeping history traces fascist organizing in interwar Romania to nineteenth-century grassroots nationalist movements that demanded political independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It also shows how closely the movement was associated with the Romanian Orthodox Church and how the uniforms, marches, and rituals were inspired by the muscular, martial aesthetic of fascism elsewhere in Europe. Although antisemitism was a key feature of official fascist ideology, state violence against Legionaries rather than the extensive fascist violence against Jews had a far greater impact on how Romanians viewed the movement and their role in it. Approaching fascism in interwar Romania as an everyday practice, Holy Legionary Youth offers a new perspective on European fascism, highlighting how ordinary people “performed” fascism by working together to promote a unique and totalizing social identity.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 13, 2015

"The Liberation of the Camps"

New from Yale University Press: The Liberation of the Camps: The End of the Holocaust and Its Aftermath by Dan Stone.

About the book, from the publisher:
Seventy years have passed since the tortured inmates of Hitler’s concentration and extermination camps were liberated. When the horror of the atrocities came fully to light, it was easy for others to imagine the joyful relief of freed prisoners. Yet for those who had survived the unimaginable, the experience of liberation was a slow, grueling journey back to life. In this unprecedented inquiry into the days, months, and years following the arrival of Allied forces at the Nazi camps, a foremost historian of the Holocaust draws on archival sources and especially on eyewitness testimonies to reveal the complex challenges liberated victims faced and the daunting tasks their liberators undertook to help them reclaim their shattered lives.

Historian Dan Stone focuses on the survivors—their feelings of guilt, exhaustion, fear, shame for having survived, and devastating grief for lost family members; their immense medical problems; and their later demands to be released from Displaced Persons camps and resettled in countries of their own choosing. Stone also tracks the efforts of British, American, Canadian, and Russian liberators as they contended with survivors’ immediate needs, then grappled with longer-term issues that shaped the postwar world and ushered in the first chill of the Cold War years ahead.
The Page 99 Test: Goodbye to All That?.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 12, 2015

"The Battle for Yellowstone"

New from Princeton University Press: The Battle for Yellowstone: Morality and the Sacred Roots of Environmental Conflict by Justin Farrell.

About the book, from the publisher:
Yellowstone holds a special place in America’s heart. As the world’s first national park, it is globally recognized as the crown jewel of modern environmental preservation. But the park and its surrounding regions have recently become a lightning rod for environmental conflict, plagued by intense and intractable political struggles among the federal government, National Park Service, environmentalists, industry, local residents, and elected officials. The Battle for Yellowstone asks why it is that, with the flood of expert scientific, economic, and legal efforts to resolve disagreements over Yellowstone, there is no improvement? Why do even seemingly minor issues erupt into impassioned disputes? What can Yellowstone teach us about the worsening environmental conflicts worldwide?

Justin Farrell argues that the battle for Yellowstone has deep moral, cultural, and spiritual roots that until now have been obscured by the supposedly rational and technical nature of the conflict. Tracing in unprecedented detail the moral causes and consequences of large-scale social change in the American West, he describes how a “new-west” social order has emerged that has devalued traditional American beliefs about manifest destiny and rugged individualism, and how morality and spirituality have influenced the most polarizing and techno-centric conflicts in Yellowstone’s history.

This groundbreaking book shows how the unprecedented conflict over Yellowstone is not all about science, law, or economic interests, but more surprisingly, is about cultural upheaval and the construction of new moral and spiritual boundaries in the American West.
Visit Justin Farrell's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 11, 2015

"Brethren by Nature"

New from Cornell University Press: Brethren by Nature: New England Indians, Colonists, and the Origins of American Slavery by Margaret Ellen Newell.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Brethren by Nature, Margaret Ellen Newell reveals a little-known aspect of American history: English colonists in New England enslaved thousands of Indians. Massachusetts became the first English colony to legalize slavery in 1641, and the colonists' desire for slaves shaped the major New England Indian wars, including the Pequot War of 1637, King Philip's War of 1675–76, and the northeastern Wabanaki conflicts of 1676–1749. When the wartime conquest of Indians ceased, New Englanders turned to the courts to get control of their labor, or imported Indians from Florida and the Carolinas, or simply claimed free Indians as slaves.

Drawing on letters, diaries, newspapers, and court records, Newell recovers the slaves’ own stories and shows how they influenced New England society in crucial ways. Indians lived in English homes, raised English children, and manned colonial armies, farms, and fleets, exposing their captors to Native religion, foods, and technology. Some achieved freedom and power in this new colonial culture, but others experienced violence, surveillance, and family separations.

Newell also explains how slavery linked the fate of Africans and Indians. The trade in Indian captives connected New England to Caribbean and Atlantic slave economies. Indians labored on sugar plantations in Jamaica, tended fields in the Azores, and rowed English naval galleys in Tangier. Indian slaves outnumbered Africans within New England before 1700, but the balance soon shifted. Fearful of the growing African population, local governments stripped Indian and African servants and slaves of legal rights and personal freedoms. Nevertheless, because Indians remained a significant part of the slave population, the New England colonies did not adopt all of the rigid racial laws typical of slave societies in Virginia and Barbados. Newell finds that second- and third-generation Indian slaves fought their enslavement and claimed citizenship in cases that had implications for all enslaved peoples in eighteenth-century America.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

"Just Married"

New from Princeton University Press: Just Married: Same-Sex Couples, Monogamy, and the Future of Marriage by Stephen Macedo.

About the book, from the publisher:
The institution of marriage stands at a critical juncture. As gay marriage equality gains acceptance in law and public opinion, questions abound regarding marriage’s future. Will same-sex marriage lead to more radical marriage reform? Should it? Antonin Scalia and many others on the right warn of a slippery slope from same-sex marriage toward polygamy, adult incest, and the dissolution of marriage as we know it. Equally, many academics, activists, and intellectuals on the left contend that there is no place for monogamous marriage as a special status defined by law. Just Married demonstrates that both sides are wrong: the same principles of democratic justice that demand marriage equality for same-sex couples also lend support to monogamous marriage.

Stephen Macedo displays the groundlessness of arguments against same-sex marriage and defends marriage as a public institution against those who would eliminate its special status or supplant it with private arrangements. Arguing that monogamy reflects and cultivates our most basic democratic values, Macedo opposes the legal recognition of polygamy, but agrees with progressives that public policies should do more to support nontraditional caring and caregiving relationships. Throughout, Macedo explores the meaning of contemporary marriage and the reasons for its fragility and its enduring significance. His defense of reformed marriage against slippery slope alarmists on the right, and radical critics of marriage on the left, vindicates the justice and common sense of the emerging consensus.

Casting new light on today’s debates over the future of marriage, Just Married lays the groundwork for a stronger institution.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

"The Sea Is My Country"

New from Yale University Press: The Sea Is My Country: The Maritime World of the Makahs by Joshua L. Reid.

About the book, from the publisher:
For the Makahs, a tribal nation at the most northwestern point of the contiguous United States, a deep relationship with the sea is the locus of personal and group identity. Unlike most other indigenous tribes whose lives are tied to lands, the Makah people have long placed marine space at the center of their culture, finding in their own waters the physical and spiritual resources to support themselves. This book is the first to explore the history and identity of the Makahs from the arrival of maritime fur-traders in the eighteenth century through the intervening centuries and to the present day.

Joshua L. Reid discovers that the “People of the Cape” were far more involved in shaping the maritime economy of the Pacific Northwest than has been understood. He examines Makah attitudes toward borders and boundaries, their efforts to exercise control over their waters and resources as Europeans and then Americans arrived, and their embrace of modern opportunities and technology to maintain autonomy and resist assimilation. The author also addresses current environmental debates relating to the tribe’s customary whaling and fishing rights and illuminates the efforts of the Makahs to regain control over marine space, preserve their marine-oriented identity, and articulate a traditional future.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 8, 2015

"Hungry Bengal"

New from Oxford University Press: Hungry Bengal: War, Famine and the End of Empire by Janam Mukherjee.

About the book, from the publisher:
The years leading up to the independence and accompanying partition of India mark a tumultuous period in the history of Bengal. Representing both a major front in the Indian struggle against colonial rule, as well as a crucial Allied outpost in the British/American war against Japan, Bengal stood at the crossroads of complex and contentious structural forces - both domestic and international - which, taken together, defined an era of political uncertainty, social turmoil and collective violence. While for the British the overarching priority was to save the empire from imminent collapse at any cost, for the majority of the Indian population the 1940s were years of acute scarcity, violent dislocation and enduring calamity. In particular there are three major crises that shaped the social, economic and political context of pre-partition Bengal: the Second World War, the Bengal famine of 1943, and the Calcutta riots of 1946. Hungry Bengal examines these intricately interconnected events, foregrounding the political economy of war and famine in order to analyse the complex nexus of hunger, war and civil violence in colonial Bengal at the twilight of British rule.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 7, 2015

"Imperial from the Beginning"

New from Yale University Press: Imperial from the Beginning: The Constitution of the Original Executive by Saikrishna Bangalore Prakash.

About the book, from the publisher:
Eminent scholar Saikrishna Prakash offers the first truly comprehensive study of the original American presidency. Drawing from a vast range of sources both well known and obscure, this volume reconstructs the powers and duties of the nation’s chief executive at the Constitution’s founding. Among other subjects, Prakash examines the term and structure of the office of the president, as well as the president’s power as constitutional executor of the law, authority in foreign policy, role as commander in chief, level of control during emergencies, and relationship with the Congress, the courts, and the states. This ambitious and even-handed analysis counters numerous misconceptions about the presidency and fairly demonstrates that the office was seen as monarchical from its inception.
Saikrishna Prakash is the James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law and the Horace W. Goldsmith Research Professor at the University of Virginia.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 6, 2015

"Rome's Revolution"

New from Oxford University Press: Rome's Revolution: Death of the Republic and Birth of the Empire by Richard Alston.

About the book, from the publisher:
On March 15th, 44 BC a group of senators stabbed Julius Caesar, the dictator of Rome. By his death, they hoped to restore Rome's Republic. Instead, they unleashed a revolution. By December of that year, Rome was plunged into a violent civil war. Three men--Mark Antony, Lepidus, and Octavian--emerged as leaders of a revolutionary regime, which crushed all opposition. In time, Lepidus was removed, Antony and Cleopatra were dispatched, and Octavian stood alone as sole ruler of Rome. He became Augustus, Rome's first emperor, and by the time of his death in AD 14 the 500-year-old republic was but a distant memory and the birth of one of history's greatest empires was complete.

Rome's Revolution provides a riveting narrative of this tumultuous period of change. Historian Richard Alston digs beneath the high politics of Cicero, Caesar, Antony, and Octavian to reveal the experience of the common Roman citizen and soldier. He portrays the revolution as the crisis of a brutally competitive society, both among the citizenry and among the ruling class whose legitimacy was under threat. Throughout, he sheds new light on the motivations that drove men to march on their capital city and slaughter their compatriots. He also shows the reasons behind and the immediate legacy of the awe inspiringly successful and ruthless reign of Emperor Augustus. An enthralling story of ancient warfare, social upheaval, and personal betrayal, Rome's Revolution offers an authoritative new account of an epoch which still haunts us today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 5, 2015

"Out of Ashes"

New from Princeton University Press: Out of Ashes: A New History of Europe in the Twentieth Century by Konrad H. Jarausch.

About the book, from the publisher:
A sweeping history of twentieth-century Europe, Out of Ashes tells the story of an era of unparalleled violence and barbarity yet also of humanity, prosperity, and promise.

Konrad Jarausch describes how the European nations emerged from the nineteenth century with high hopes for continued material progress and proud of their imperial command over the globe, only to become embroiled in the bloodshed of World War I, which brought an end to their optimism and gave rise to competing democratic, communist, and fascist ideologies. He shows how the 1920s witnessed renewed hope and a flourishing of modernist art and literature, but how the decade ended in economic collapse and gave rise to a second, more devastating world war and genocide on an unprecedented scale. Jarausch further explores how Western Europe surprisingly recovered due to American help and political integration. Finally, he examines how the Cold War pushed the divided continent to the brink of nuclear annihilation, and how the unforeseen triumph of liberal capitalism came to be threatened by Islamic fundamentalism, global economic crisis, and an uncertain future.

A stunning achievement, Out of Ashes explores the paradox of the European encounter with modernity in the twentieth century, shedding new light on why it led to cataclysm, inhumanity, and self-destruction, but also social justice, democracy, and peace.
Learn more about Out of Ashes: A New History of Europe in the Twentieth Century at the Princeton University Press website.

Cover story: Out of Ashes.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 4, 2015

"From Field to Fork"

New from Oxford University Press: From Field to Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone by Paul B. Thompson.

About the book, from the publisher:
After centuries of neglect, the ethics of food are back with a vengeance. Justice for food workers and small farmers has joined the rising tide of concern over the impact of industrial agriculture on food animals and the broader environment, all while a global epidemic of obesity-related diseases threatens to overwhelm modern health systems. An emerging worldwide social movement has turned to local and organic foods, and struggles to exploit widespread concern over the next wave of genetic engineering or nanotechnologies applied to food. Paul B. Thompson's book applies the rigor of philosophy to key topics in the first comprehensive study explore interconnections hidden deep within this welter of issues. Bringing to bear more than thirty years of experience working closely with farmers, agricultural researchers and food system activists, he explores the eclipse of food ethics during the rise of nutritional science, and examines the reasons for its sudden re-emergence in the era of diet-based disease. Thompson discusses social injustice in the food systems of developed economies and shows how we have missed the key insights for understanding food ethics in the developing world. His discussions of animal production and the environmental impact of agriculture break new ground where most philosophers would least expect it. By emphasizing the integration of these issues, Thompson not only brings a comprehensive philosophical approach to moral issues in the production, processing, distribution, and consumption of food -- he introduces a fresh way to think about practical ethics that will have implications in other areas of applied philosophy.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

"France 1940"

New from Yale University Press: France 1940: Defending the Republic by Philip Nord.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this revisionist account of France’s crushing defeat in 1940, a world authority on French history argues that the nation’s downfall has long been misunderstood. Philip Nord assesses France’s diplomatic and military preparations for war with Germany, its conduct of the war once the fighting began, and the political consequences of defeat on the battlefield. He also tracks attitudes among French leaders once defeat seemed a likelihood, identifying who among them took advantage of the nation’s misfortunes to sabotage democratic institutions and plot an authoritarian way forward. Nord finds that the longstanding view that France’s collapse was due to military unpreparedeness and a decadent national character is unsupported by fact.

Instead, he reveals that the Third Republic was no worse prepared and its military failings no less dramatic than those of the United States and other Allies in the early years of the war. What was unique in France was the betrayal by military and political elites who abandoned the Republic and supported the reprehensible Vichy takeover. Why then have historians and politicians ever since interpreted the defeat as a judgment on the nation as a whole? Why has the focus been on the failings of the Third Republic and not on elite betrayal? The author examines these questions in a fascinating conclusion.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"Afterwar: Healing the Moral Wounds of Our Soldiers"

New from Oxford University Press: Afterwar: Healing the Moral Wounds of Our Soldiers by Nancy Sherman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Movies like American Sniper and The Hurt Locker hint at the inner scars our soldiers incur during service in a war zone. The moral dimensions of their psychological injuries--guilt, shame, feeling responsible for doing wrong or being wronged-elude conventional treatment. Georgetown philosophy professor Nancy Sherman turns her focus to these moral injuries in Afterwar. She argues that psychology and medicine alone are inadequate to help with many of the most painful questions veterans are bringing home from war.

Trained in both ancient ethics and psychoanalysis, and with twenty years of experience working with the military, Sherman draws on in-depth interviews with servicemen and women to paint a richly textured and compassionate picture of the moral and psychological aftermath of America's longest wars. She explores how veterans can go about reawakening their feelings without becoming re-traumatized; how they can replace resentment with trust; and the changes that need to be made in order for this to happen-by military courts, VA hospitals, and the civilians who have been shielded from the heaviest burdens of war.

2.6 million soldiers are currently returning home from war, the greatest number since Vietnam. Facing an increase in suicides and post-traumatic stress, the military has embraced measures such as resilience training and positive psychology to heal mind as well as body. Sherman argues that some psychological wounds of war need a kind of healing through moral understanding that is the special province of philosophical engagement and listening.
Visit Nancy Sherman's website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 1, 2015

"The Little Big Number"

New from Princeton University Press: The Little Big Number: How GDP Came to Rule the World and What to Do about It by Dirk Philipsen.

About the book, from the publisher:
In one lifetime, GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, has ballooned from a narrow economic tool into a global article of faith. It is our universal yardstick of progress. As The Little Big Number demonstrates, this spells trouble. While economies and cultures measure their performance by it, GDP ignores central facts such as quality, costs, or purpose. It only measures output: more cars, more accidents; more lawyers, more trials; more extraction, more pollution—all count as success. Sustainability and quality of life are overlooked. Losses don’t count. GDP promotes a form of stupid growth and ignores real development.

How and why did we get to this point? Dirk Philipsen uncovers a submerged history dating back to the 1600s, climaxing with the Great Depression and World War II, when the first version of GDP arrived at the forefront of politics. Transcending ideologies and national differences, GDP was subsequently transformed from a narrow metric to the purpose of economic activity. Today, increasing GDP is the highest goal of politics. In accessible and compelling prose, Philipsen shows how it affects all of us.

But the world can no longer afford GDP rule. A finite planet cannot sustain blind and indefinite expansion. If we consider future generations equal to our own, replacing the GDP regime is the ethical imperative of our times. More is not better. As Philipsen demonstrates, the history of GDP reveals unique opportunities to fashion smarter goals and measures. The Little Big Number explores a possible roadmap for a future that advances quality of life rather than indiscriminate growth.
--Marshal Zeringue