Monday, July 26, 2021

"Trade and Nation"

New from Columbia University Press: Trade and Nation: How Companies and Politics Reshaped Economic Thought by Emily Erikson.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the seventeenth century, English economic theorists lost interest in the moral status of exchange and became increasingly concerned with the roots of national prosperity. This shift marked the origins of classical political economy and provided the foundation for the contemporary discipline of economics. The seventeenth-century revolution in economic thought fundamentally reshaped the way economic processes have been interpreted and understood. In Trade and Nation, Emily Erikson brings together historical, comparative, and computational methods to explain the institutional forces that brought about this transformation.

Erikson pinpoints how the rise of the company form in confluence with the political marginalization of English merchants created an opening for public argumentation over economic matters. Independent merchants, who were excluded from state institutions and vast areas of trade, confronted the power and influence of crown-endorsed chartered companies. Their distance from the halls of government drove them to take their case to the public sphere. The number of merchant-authored economic texts rose as members of this class sought to show that their preferred policies would contribute to the benefit of the state and commonwealth. In doing so, they created and disseminated a new moral framework of growth, prosperity, and wealth for evaluating economic behavior. By using computational methods to document these processes, Trade and Nation provides both compelling evidence and a prototype for how methodological innovations can help to provide new insights into large-scale social processes.
The Page 99 Test: Between Monopoly and Free Trade.

Follow Emily Erikson on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 25, 2021

"Grey Wars"

New from Yale University Press: Grey Wars: A Contemporary History of U.S. Special Operations by N. W. Collins.

About the book, from the publisher:
This original and accessible book is a comprehensive, authoritative analysis of U.S. Special Operations. U.S. Special Operations Command trains and equips units to undertake select military activities, frequently high-risk missions, often for the purposes of counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. Since 9/11, impelled by an attack on U.S. soil, these forces have been a central instrument of America’s military campaign—operating in about one hundred countries on any given day. This fight—neither hot war nor cold peace—was launched and executed as a new type of global war in 2001 and has since splintered into a spectrum of regional conflicts. The result is our nation’s grey wars: hazy and lethal. This contemporary history, incorporating extensive interviews and archival research by security studies expert N. W. Collins, delves deeply into the transformation of these forces since 9/11.
N. W. Collins is a senior fellow of the Modern War Institute at West Point. Collins is the chair of the Defense and Security Seminar at Columbia University. Collins has received fellowships and grants from, among others, the University of Chicago, Harvard University, the Rockefeller Foundation, Yale University, and the Wilson Center.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 24, 2021

"To Deter and Punish"

New from Columbia University Press: To Deter and Punish: Global Collaboration Against Terrorism in the 1970s by Silke Zoller.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, governments in North America and Western Europe faced a new transnational threat: militants who crossed borders with impunity to commit attacks. These violent actors cooperated in hijacking planes, taking hostages, and organizing assassinations, often in the name of national liberation movements from the decolonizing world. How did this form of political violence become what we know today as “international terrorism”—lacking in legitimacy and categorized first and foremost as a crime?

To Deter and Punish examines why and how the United States and its Western European allies came to treat nonstate “terrorists” as a key threat to their security and interests. Drawing on a multinational array of sources, Silke Zoller traces Western state officials’ attempts to control the meaning of and responses to terrorism from the first Palestinian hijacking in 1968 to Ronald Reagan’s militarization of counterterrorism in the early 1980s. She details how Western states sought to criminalize border-crossing nonstate violence—and thus delegitimized offenders’ political aspirations. U.S. and European officials pressured states around the world to join agreements requiring them to create and enforce criminal laws against alleged individual terrorists. Zoller underscores how recently decolonized states countered that only a more equitable global system capable of addressing political grievances would end the violence.

To Deter and Punish offers a new account of the emergence of modern counterterrorism that pinpoints its international dimensions—a story about diplomats and bureaucrats as well as national liberation militancy and the processes of decolonization.
Visit Silke Zoller's webpage.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 23, 2021

"Trading with the Enemy"

New from Yale University Press: Trading with the Enemy: Britain, France, and the 18th-Century Quest for a Peaceful World Order by John Shovlin.

About the book, from the publisher:
A ground-breaking account of British and French efforts to channel their eighteenth-century geopolitical rivalry into peaceful commercial competition

Britain and France waged war eight times in the century following the Glorious Revolution, a mutual antagonism long regarded as a “Second Hundred Years’ War.” Yet officials on both sides also initiated ententes, free trade schemes, and colonial bargains intended to avert future conflict. What drove this quest for a more peaceful order?

In this highly original account, John Shovlin reveals the extent to which Britain and France sought to divert their rivalry away from war and into commercial competition. The two powers worked to end future conflict over trade in Spanish America, the Caribbean, and India, and imagined forms of empire-building that would be more collaborative than competitive. They negotiated to cut cross-channel tariffs, recognizing that free trade could foster national power while muting enmity. This account shows that eighteenth-century capitalism drove not only repeated wars and overseas imperialism but spurred political leaders to strive for global stability.
Visit John Shovlin's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 22, 2021

"Everyday Peace"

New from Oxford University Press: Everyday Peace: How So-called Ordinary People Can Disrupt Violent Conflict by Roger Mac Ginty.

About the book, from the publisher:
An exploration of how so-called ordinary people can disrupt violent conflict and forge peace.

In this pathbreaking book, Roger Mac Ginty explores everyday peace-or how individuals and small groups can eke out spaces of tolerance and conciliation in conflict-ridden societies. Drawing on original material from the Everyday Peace Indicators project, he blends theory and concept-building together with contemporary and comparative examples. Unusual for the disciplines of peace and conflict studies as well as international relations, Everyday Peace also utilizes personal diaries and memoirs from World Wars One and Two. The book unpacks the core components of everyday peace and argues that it is constructed from a mix of sociality, reciprocity, and solidarity. This exploration of bottom-up and community-level approaches to peace challenges the usual concentration on top-down approaches to peace advanced by governments and international organizations. Indeed, the book goes to the lowest level of social organization - individuals, families and small groups of friends and colleagues - and looks at everyday interaction in workplaces, the stairwells of apartment buildings, and the queue for public transport.

Mac Ginty sees peace and conflict as being embodied, lived, and experienced - and constructs a multi-layered definition of peace. Importantly, he applies his evidentiary base of micro-acts that constitute everyday peace to societies that have emerged out of conflict and have not experienced recidivism on a large scale. Unlike most who focus on top-down processes, he demonstrates that what matters is the interaction between top-down and bottom-up peace and how, in an ideal scenario, they can have a symbiotic relationship. By focusing on how the small-scale can have big and lasting effects, Everyday Peace will reshape our understanding of how peace comes about.
Visit Roger Mac Ginty's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

"Aeroscopics: Media of the Bird's-Eye View"

New from the University of California Press: Aeroscopics: Media of the Bird's-Eye View by Patrick Ellis.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 1900, Paris had no skyscrapers, no tourist helicopters, no drones. Yet well before aviation made aerial views more accessible, those who sought such vantages had countless options available to them. They could take in the vista from an observation ride, see a painting of the view from Notre-Dame, or overlook a miniature model city. In Aeroscopics, Patrick Ellis offers a history of the view from above, written from below. Richly illustrated and premised upon extensive archival work, this interdisciplinary study reveals the forgotten media available to the public in the Balloon Era and after. Ellis resurrects these neglected spectacles as “aeroscopics,” opening up new possibilities for the history of aerial vision.
Follow Patrick Ellis on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

"The Long Game"

New from Oxford University Press: The Long Game: China's Grand Strategy to Displace American Order by Rush Doshi.

About the book, from the publisher
For more than a century, no US adversary or coalition of adversaries - not Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, or the Soviet Union - has ever reached sixty percent of US GDP. China is the sole exception, and it is fast emerging into a global superpower that could rival, if not eclipse, the United States. What does China want, does it have a grand strategy to achieve it, and what should the United States do about it?

In The Long Game, Rush Doshi draws from a rich base of Chinese primary sources, including decades worth of party documents, leaked materials, memoirs by party leaders, and a careful analysis of China's conduct to provide a history of China's grand strategy since the end of the Cold War. Taking readers behind the Party's closed doors, he uncovers Beijing's long, methodical game to displace America from its hegemonic position in both the East Asia regional and global orders through three sequential "strategies of displacement." Beginning in the 1980s, China focused for two decades on "hiding capabilities and biding time." After the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, it became more assertive regionally, following a policy of "actively accomplishing something." Finally, in the aftermath populist elections of 2016, China shifted to an even more aggressive strategy for undermining US hegemony, adopting the phrase "great changes unseen in century." After charting how China's long game has evolved, Doshi offers a comprehensive yet asymmetric plan for an effective US response. Ironically, his proposed approach takes a page from Beijing's own strategic playbook to undermine China's ambitions and strengthen American order without competing dollar-for-dollar, ship-for-ship, or loan-for-loan.
Visit Rush Doshi's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 19, 2021

"A Dog's World"

Coming October 26 from Princeton University Press: A Dog's World: Imagining the Lives of Dogs in a World without Humans by Jessica Pierce and Marc Bekoff.

About the book, from the publisher:
What would happen to dogs if humans simply disappeared? Would dogs be able to survive on their own without us? A Dog’s World imagines a posthuman future for dogs, revealing how dogs would survive—and possibly even thrive—and explaining how this new and revolutionary perspective can guide how we interact with dogs now.

Drawing on biology, ecology, and the latest findings on the lives and behavior of dogs and their wild relatives, Jessica Pierce and Marc Bekoff—two of today’s most innovative thinkers about dogs—explore who dogs might become without direct human intervention into breeding, arranged playdates at the dog park, regular feedings, and veterinary care. Pierce and Bekoff show how dogs are quick learners who are highly adaptable and opportunistic, and they offer compelling evidence that dogs already do survive on their own—and could do so in a world without us.

Challenging the notion that dogs would be helpless without their human counterparts, A Dog’s World enables us to understand these independent and remarkably intelligent animals on their own terms.
The Page 99 Test: Wild Justice.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 18, 2021

"Taking Stock of Shock"

New from Oxford University Press: Taking Stock of Shock: Social Consequences of the 1989 Revolutions by Kristen Ghodsee and Mitchell Orenstein.

About the book, from the publisher:
Kristen Ghodsee and Mitchell A. Orenstein blend empirical data with lived experiences to produce a robust picture of who won and who lost in post-communist transition, contextualizing the rise of populism in Eastern Europe.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, more than 400 million people suddenly found themselves in a new reality, a dramatic transition from state socialist and centrally planned workers' states to liberal democracy (in most cases) and free markets. Thirty years later, postsocialist citizens remain sharply divided on the legacies of transition. Was it a success that produced great progress after a short recession, or a socio-economic catastrophe foisted on the East by Western capitalists? Taking Stock of Shock aims to uncover the truth using a unique, interdisciplinary investigation into the social consequences of transition—including the rise of authoritarian populism and xenophobia. Showing that economic, demographic, sociological, political scientific, and ethnographic research produce contradictory results based on different disciplinary methods and data, Kristen Ghodsee and Mitchell Orenstein triangulate the results. They find that both the J-curve model, which anticipates sustained growth after a sharp downturn, and the "disaster capitalism" perspective, which posits that neoliberalism led to devastating outcomes, have significant basis in fact. While substantial percentages of the populations across a variety of postsocialist countries enjoyed remarkable success, prosperity, and progress, many others suffered an unprecedented socio-economic catastrophe. Ghodsee and Orenstein conclude that the promise of transition still remains elusive for many and offer policy ideas for overcoming negative social and political consequences.
Visit Kristen Ghodsee's website and Mitchell Orenstein's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Left Side of History.

The Page 99 Test: The Left Side of History.

Writers Read: Kristen Ghodsee (March 2019).

The Page 99 Test: Second World, Second Sex.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 17, 2021

"Dying to Learn"

New from Cornell University Press: Dying to Learn: Wartime Lessons from the Western Front by Michael A. Hunzeker.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Dying to Learn, Michael Hunzeker develops a novel theory to explain how wartime militaries learn. He focuses on the Western Front, which witnessed three great-power armies struggle to cope with deadlock throughout the First World War, as the British, French, and German armies all pursued the same solutions-assault tactics, combined arms, and elastic defense in depth. By the end of the war, only the German army managed to develop and implement a set of revolutionary offensive, defensive, and combined arms doctrines that in hindsight represented the best way to fight.

Hunzeker identifies three organizational variables that determine how fighting militaries generate new ideas, distinguish good ones from bad ones, and implement the best of them across the entire organization. These factors are: the degree to which leadership delegates authority on the battlefield; how effectively the organization retains control over soldier and officer training; and whether or not the military possesses an independent doctrinal assessment mechanism.

Through careful study of the British, French, and German experiences in the First World War, Dying to Learn provides a model that shows how a resolute focus on analysis, command, and training can help prepare modern militaries for adapting amidst high-intensity warfare in an age of revolutionary technological change.
Follow Michael Hunzeker on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue