Thursday, April 15, 2021

"Stoic Wisdom"

New from Oxford University Press: Stoic Wisdom: Ancient Lessons for Modern Resilience by Nancy Sherman.

About the book, from the publisher:

How do we find calm in times of stress and uncertainty? How do we cope with sudden losses or find meaning in a world that can easily rob us of what we most value? Drawing on the wisdom of Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and others, Nancy Sherman's Stoic Wisdom presents a compelling, modern Stoicism that teaches grit, resilience, and the importance of close relationships in addressing life's biggest and smallest challenges.

A renowned expert in ancient and modern ethics, Sherman relates how Stoic methods of examining beliefs and perceptions can help us correct distortions in what we believe, see, and feel. Her study reveals a profound insight about the Stoics: They never believed, as Stoic popularizers often hold, that rugged self-reliance or indifference to the world around us is at the heart of living well. We are at home in the world, they insisted, when we are connected to each other in cooperative efforts. We build resilience and goodness through our deepest relationships.

Bringing ancient ideas to bear on 21st century concerns — from workers facing stress and burnout to first responders in a pandemic, from soldiers on the battlefield to citizens fighting for racial justice — Sherman shows how Stoicism can help us fulfil the promise of our shared humanity.

In nine lessons that combine ancient pithy quotes and daily exercises with contemporary ethics and psychology, Stoic Wisdom is a field manual for the art of living well.
Visit Nancy Sherman's website and Facebook page.

The Page 99 Test: Afterwar.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

"We Are the Land"

New from the University of California Press: We Are the Land: A History of Native California by Damon B. Akins and William J. Bauer Jr.

About the book, from the publisher:
Rewriting the history of California as Indigenous.

Before there was such a thing as “California,” there were the People and the Land. Manifest Destiny, the Gold Rush, and settler colonial society drew maps, displaced Indigenous People, and reshaped the land, but they did not make California. Rather, the lives and legacies of the people native to the land shaped the creation of California. We Are the Land is the first and most comprehensive text of its kind, centering the long history of California around the lives and legacies of the Indigenous people who shaped it. Beginning with the ethnogenesis of California Indians, We Are the Land recounts the centrality of the Native presence from before European colonization through statehood—paying particularly close attention to the persistence and activism of California Indians in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The book deftly contextualizes the first encounters with Europeans, Spanish missions, Mexican secularization, the devastation of the Gold Rush and statehood, genocide, efforts to reclaim land, and the organization and activism for sovereignty that built today’s casino economy. A text designed to fill the glaring need for an accessible overview of California Indian history, We Are the Land will be a core resource in a variety of classroom settings, as well as for casual readers and policymakers interested in a history that centers the native experience.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

"Iran in Motion"

New from Stanford University Press: Iran in Motion: Mobility, Space, and the Trans-Iranian Railway by Mikiya Koyagi.

About the book, from the publisher:
Completed in 1938, the Trans-Iranian Railway connected Tehran to Iran's two major bodies of water: the Caspian Sea in the north and the Persian Gulf in the south. Iran's first national railway, it produced and disrupted various kinds of movement—voluntary and forced, intended and unintended, on different scales and in different directions—among Iranian diplomats, tribesmen, migrant laborers, technocrats, railway workers, tourists and pilgrims, as well as European imperial officials alike. Iran in Motion tells the hitherto unexplored stories of these individuals as they experienced new levels of mobility.

Drawing on newspapers, industry publications, travelogues, and memoirs, as well as American, British, Danish, and Iranian archival materials, Mikiya Koyagi traces contested imaginations and practices of mobility from the conception of a trans-Iranian railway project during the nineteenth-century global transport revolution to its early years of operation on the eve of Iran's oil nationalization movement in the 1950s. Weaving together various individual experiences, this book considers how the infrastructural megaproject reoriented the flows of people and goods. In so doing, the railway project simultaneously brought the provinces closer to Tehran and pulled them away from it, thereby constantly reshaping local, national, and transnational experiences of space among mobile individuals.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 12, 2021

"West of Slavery"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: West of Slavery: The Southern Dream of a Transcontinental Empire by Kevin Waite.

About the book, from the publisher:
When American slaveholders looked west in the mid-nineteenth century, they saw an empire unfolding before them. They pursued that vision through diplomacy, migration, and armed conquest. By the late 1850s, slaveholders and their allies had transformed the southwestern quarter of the nation – California, New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of Utah – into a political client of the plantation states. Across this vast swath of the map, white southerners defended the institution of African American chattel slavery as well as systems of Native American bondage. This surprising history uncovers the Old South in unexpected places, far beyond the region's cotton fields and sugar plantations.

Slaveholders' western ambitions culminated in a coast-to-coast crisis of the Union. By 1861, the rebellion in the South inspired a series of separatist movements in the Far West. Even after the collapse of the Confederacy, the threads connecting South and West held, undermining the radical promise of Reconstruction. Kevin Waite brings to light what contemporaries recognized but historians have described only in part: The struggle over slavery played out on a transcontinental stage.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 11, 2021

"Intentions in Great Power Politics"

New from Yale University Press: Intentions in Great Power Politics: Uncertainty and the Roots of Conflict by Sebastian Rosato.

About the book, from the publisher:
Why the future of great power politics is likely to resemble its dismal past

Can great powers be confident that their peers have benign intentions? States that trust each other can live at peace; those that mistrust each other are doomed to compete for arms and allies and may even go to war. Sebastian Rosato explains that states routinely lack the kind of information they need to be convinced that their rivals mean them no harm. Even in cases that supposedly involved mutual trust—Germany and Russia in the Bismarck era; Britain and the United States during the great rapprochement; France and Germany, and Japan and the United States in the early interwar period; and the Soviet Union and United States at the end of the Cold War—the protagonists mistrusted each other and struggled for advantage. Rosato argues that the ramifications of his argument for U.S.–China relations are profound: the future of great power politics is likely to resemble its dismal past.
Visit Sebastian Rosato's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 10, 2021

"Up to Heaven and Down to Hell"

New from Princeton University Press: Up to Heaven and Down to Hell: Fracking, Freedom, and Community in an American Town by Colin Jerolmack.

About the book, from the publisher:
A riveting portrait of a rural Pennsylvania town at the center of the fracking controversy

Shale gas extraction—commonly known as fracking—is often portrayed as an energy revolution that will transform the American economy and geopolitics. But in greater Williamsport, Pennsylvania, fracking is personal. Up to Heaven and Down to Hell is a vivid and sometimes heartbreaking account of what happens when one of the most momentous decisions about the well-being of our communities and our planet—whether or not to extract shale gas and oil from the very land beneath our feet—is largely a private choice that millions of ordinary people make without the public's consent.

The United States is the only country in the world where property rights commonly extend "up to heaven and down to hell," which means that landowners have the exclusive right to lease their subsurface mineral estates to petroleum companies. Colin Jerolmack spent eight months living with rural communities outside of Williamsport as they confronted the tension between property rights and the commonwealth. In this deeply intimate book, he reveals how the decision to lease brings financial rewards but can also cause irreparable harm to neighbors, to communal resources like air and water, and even to oneself.

Up to Heaven and Down to Hell casts America’s ideas about freedom and property rights in a troubling new light, revealing how your personal choices can undermine your neighbors’ liberty, and how the exercise of individual rights can bring unintended environmental consequences for us all.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 9, 2021

"Theory of the Earth"

New from Stanford University Press: Theory of the Earth by Thomas Nail.

About the book, from the publisher:

We need a new philosophy of the earth. Geological time used to refer to slow and gradual processes, but today we are watching land sink into the sea and forests transform into deserts. We can even see the creation of new geological strata made of plastic, chicken bones, and other waste that could remain in the fossil record for millennia or longer. Crafting a philosophy of geology that rewrites natural and human history from the broader perspective of movement, Thomas Nail provides a new materialist, kinetic ethics of the earth that speaks to this moment.

Climate change and other ecological disruptions challenge us to reconsider the deep history of minerals, atmosphere, plants, and animals and to take a more process-oriented perspective that sees humanity as part of the larger cosmic and terrestrial drama of mobility and flow. Building on his earlier work on the philosophy of movement, Nail argues that we should shift our biocentric emphasis from conservation to expenditure, flux, and planetary diversity. Theory of the Earth urges us to rethink our ethical relationship to one another, the planet, and the cosmos at large.
Visit Thomas Nail's blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 8, 2021

"The Age of Acrimony"

New from Bloomsbury USA: The Age of Acrimony: How Americans Fought to Fix Their Democracy, 1865-1915 by Jon Grinspan.

About the book, from the publisher:
A raucous history of American democracy at its wildest--and a bold rethinking of the relationship between the people and their politics.

Democracy was broken. Or that was what many Americans believed in the decades after the Civil War. Shaken by economic and technological disruption, they sought safety in aggressive, tribal partisanship. The results were the loudest, closest, most violent elections in U.S. history, driven by vibrant campaigns that drew our highest-ever voter turnouts. At the century's end, reformers finally restrained this wild system, trading away participation for civility in the process. They built a calmer, cleaner democracy, but also a more distant one. Americans' voting rates crashed and never fully recovered.

This is the origin story of the “normal” politics of the 20th century. Only by exploring where that civility and restraint came from can we understand what is happening to our democracy today.

The Age of Acrimony charts the rise and fall of 19th-century America's unruly politics through the lives of a remarkable father-daughter dynasty. The radical congressman William “Pig Iron” Kelley and his fiery, Progressive daughter Florence Kelley led lives packed with drama, intimately tied to their nation's politics. Through their friendships and feuds, campaigns and crusades, Will and Florie trace the narrative of a democracy in crisis. In telling the tale of what it cost to cool our republic, historian Jon Grinspan reveals our divisive political system's enduring capacity to reinvent itself.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

"The Ledger and the Chain"

New from Basic Books: The Ledger and the Chain: How Domestic Slave Traders Shaped America by Joshua D. Rothman.

About the book, from the publisher:
An award-winning historian reveals the harrowing forgotten story of America's internal slave trade—and its role in the making of America.

Slave traders are peripheral figures in most histories of American slavery. But these men—who trafficked and sold over half a million enslaved people from the Upper South to the Deep South—were essential to slavery's expansion and fueled the growth and prosperity of the United States.

In The Ledger and the Chain, acclaimed historian Joshua D. Rothman recounts the shocking story of the domestic slave trade by tracing the lives and careers of Isaac Franklin, John Armfield, and Rice Ballard, who built the largest and most powerful slave-trading operation in American history. Far from social outcasts, they were rich and widely respected businessmen, and their company sat at the center of capital flows connecting southern fields to northeastern banks. Bringing together entrepreneurial ambition and remorseless violence toward enslaved people, domestic slave traders produced an atrocity that forever transformed the nation.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

"To Her Credit"

New from Johns Hopkins University Press: To Her Credit: Women, Finance, and the Law in Eighteenth-Century New England Cities by Sara T. Damiano.

About the book, from the publisher:
A transformative look at colonial women's pivotal roles as lenders and debtors in shaping the economic and legal systems of Newport and Boston.

In colonial Boston and Newport, personal credit relationships were a cornerstone of economic networks. During the eighteenth century, the pace of market exchange quickened and debt cases swelled the dockets of county courts, institutions that became ever more central to enforcing financial obligations. At the same time, seafaring and military service drew men away from home, some never to return. The absences of male household heads during this era of economic transition forced New Englanders to evaluate a pressing question: Who would establish and manage consequential financial relationships?

In To Her Credit, Sara T. Damiano uncovers free women's centrality to the interrelated worlds of eighteenth-century finance and law. Focusing on everyday life in Boston, Massachusetts, and Newport, Rhode Island—two of the busiest port cities of this period—Damiano argues that colonial women's skilled labor actively facilitated the growth of Atlantic ports and their legal systems. Mining vast troves of court records, Damiano reveals that married and unmarried women of all social classes forged new paths through the complexities of credit and debt, stabilizing credit networks amid demographic and economic turmoil. In turn, urban women mobilized sophisticated skills and strategies as borrowers, lenders, litigants, and witnesses.

Highlighting the often-unrecognized malleability of early American social hierarchies, the book shows how indebtedness intensified women's vulnerability, while acting as creditors, clients, or witnesses enabled women to exercise significant power over men. Yet by the late eighteenth century, class differentiation began to mark finance and the law as masculine realms, obscuring women's contributions to the very institutions they helped to create. The first book to systematically reconstruct the centrality of women's labor to eighteenth-century personal credit relationships, To Her Credit will be an eye-opening work for economic historians, legal historians, and anyone interested in the early history of New England.
--Marshal Zeringue