Monday, November 30, 2020

"Heartland Blues"

New from Oxford University Press: Heartland Blues: Labor Rights in the Industrial Midwest by Marc Dixon.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Midwest experienced an upheaval over labor rights beginning in the winter of 2011. For most commentators, the fallout in the Midwest and unions' weak showing in the 2016 presidential election a few years later was just more evidence of labor's emaciated state.

In Heartland Blues, Marc Dixon provides a new perspective on union decline by revisiting the labor movement at its historical peak in the late 1950s. Drawing on social movement theories and archival materials, he analyzes campaigns over key labor policies as they were waged in the heavily unionized states of Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin-the very same states at the center of more recent battles over labor rights. He shows how many of the key ingredients necessary for less powerful groups to succeed, including effective organization and influential political allies, were not a given for labor at the time, but instead varied in important ways across the industrial heartland. Thus, the labor movement's social and political isolation and their limited responses to employer mobilization became a death knell in the ensuing decades, as unions sought organizational and legislative remedies to industrial decline and the rising anti-union tide.

Showing how labor rights have been challenged in significant ways in the industrial Midwest in the 1950s, Heartland Blues both identifies enduring problems for labor and forces scholars to look beyond size when seeking clues to labor's failures and successes.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 29, 2020

"How the Tea Party Captured the GOP"

New from the University of Chicago Press: How the Tea Party Captured the GOP: Insurgent Factions in American Politics by Rachel M. Blum.

About the book, from the publisher:
The rise of the Tea Party redefined both the Republican Party and how we think about intraparty conflict. What initially appeared to be an anti-Obama protest movement of fiscal conservatives matured into a faction that sought to increase its influence in the Republican Party by any means necessary. Tea Partiers captured the party’s organizational machinery and used it to replace established politicians with Tea Party–style Republicans, eventually laying the groundwork for the nomination and election of a candidate like Donald Trump.

In How the Tea Party Captured the GOP, Rachel Marie Blum approaches the Tea Party from the angle of party politics, explaining the Tea Party’s insurgent strategies as those of a party faction. Blum offers a novel theory of factions as miniature parties within parties, discussing how fringe groups can use factions to increase their political influence in the US two-party system. In this richly researched book, the author uncovers how the electoral losses of 2008 sparked disgruntled Republicans to form the Tea Party faction, and the strategies the Tea Party used to wage a systematic takeover of the Republican Party. This book not only illuminates how the Tea Party achieved its influence, but also provides a framework for identifying other factional insurgencies.
Visit Rachel Blum's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 28, 2020

"A Question of Freedom"

New from Yale University Press: A Question of Freedom: The Families Who Challenged Slavery from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War by William G. Thomas III.

About the book, from the publisher:
The story of the longest and most complex legal challenge to slavery in American history

For over seventy years and five generations, the enslaved families of Prince George’s County, Maryland, filed hundreds of suits for their freedom against a powerful circle of slaveholders, taking their cause all the way to the Supreme Court. Between 1787 and 1861, these lawsuits challenged the legitimacy of slavery in American law and put slavery on trial in the nation’s capital.

Piecing together evidence once dismissed in court and buried in the archives, William Thomas tells an intricate and intensely human story of the enslaved families (the Butlers, Queens, Mahoneys, and others), their lawyers (among them a young Francis Scott Key), and the slaveholders who fought to defend slavery, beginning with the Jesuit priests who held some of the largest plantations in the nation and founded a college at Georgetown. A Question of Freedom asks us to reckon with the moral problem of slavery and its legacies in the present day.
Visit William G. Thomas's blog.

The Page 99 Test: The Iron Way.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 27, 2020

"The Ties that Bind"

New from Liverpool University Press: The Ties that Bind: Transatlantic Abolitionism in the Age of Reform, c. 1820-1866 by J.R. Oldfield.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Ties that Bind explores in depth the close affinities that bound together anti-slavery activists in Britain and the USA during the middle decades of the nineteenth century, years that witnessed the overthrow of slavery in both the British Caribbean and the American South. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, the book sheds important new light on the dynamics of abolitionist opinion building during the Age of Reform, from books and artefacts to anti-slavery songs, lectures and placards. Building an anti-slavery public required patience and perseverance. It also involved an engagement with politics, even if anti-slavery activists disagreed about what form that engagement should take. This is a book about the importance of transatlantic co-operation and the transmission of ideas and practices. Yet, at the same time, it is also alert to the tensions that underlay these 'Atlantic affinities', particularly when it came to what was sometimes perceived as the increasing Americanization of anti-slavery protest culture. Above all, The Ties that Bind stresses the importance of personality, perhaps best exemplified in the enduring transatlantic friendship between George Thompson and William Lloyd Garrison.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

"Unspeakable: A Life Beyond Sexual Morality"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Unspeakable: A Life Beyond Sexual Morality by Rachel Hope Cleves.

About the book, from the publisher:
The sexual exploitation of children by adults has a long, fraught history. Yet how cultures have reacted to it is shaped by a range of forces, beliefs, and norms, like any other social phenomenon. Changes in how Anglo-American culture has understood intergenerational sex can be seen with startling clarity in the life of British writer Norman Douglas (1868–1952), who was a beloved and popular author, a friend of luminaries like Graham Greene, Aldous Huxley, and D.H. Lawrence, and an unrepentant and uncloseted pederast. Rachel Hope Cleves’s careful study opens a window onto the social history of intergenerational sex in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, revealing how charisma, celebrity, and contemporary standards protected Douglas from punishment—until they didn’t.

Unspeakable approaches Douglas as neither monster nor literary hero, but as a man who participated in an exploitative sexual subculture that was tolerated in ways we may find hard to understand. Using letters, diaries, memoirs, police records, novels, and photographs—including sources by the children Douglas encountered—Cleves identifies the cultural practices that structured pedophilic behaviors in England, Italy, and other places Douglas favored. Her book delineates how approaches to adult-child sex have changed over time and offers insight into how society can confront similar scandals today, celebrity and otherwise.
Visit Rachel Hope Cleves's website.

--Marshal Zeirngue

"Britain at Bay"

New from Knopf: Britain at Bay: The Epic Story of the Second World War, 1938-1941 by Alan Allport.

About the book, from the publisher:
A sweeping, groundbreaking epic that combines military with social history, to illuminate the ways in which Great Britain and its people were permanently transformed by the Second World War.

Here is the many-faceted, world-historically significant story of Britain at war. In looking closely at the military and political dimensions of the conflict’s first crucial years, Alan Allport tackles questions such as: Could the war have been avoided? Could it have been lost? Were the strategic decisions the rights ones? How well did the British organize and fight? How well did the British live up to their own values? What difference did the war make in the end to the fate of the nation?

In answering these and other essential questions he focuses on the human contingencies of the war, weighing directly at the roles of individuals and the outcomes determined by luck or chance. Moreover, he looks intimately at the changes in wartime British society and culture. Britain at Bay draws on a large cast of characters–from the leading statesmen and military commanders who made the decisions, to the ordinary men, women, and children who carried them out and lived through their consequences–in a comprehensible and compelling single history of forty-six million people. For better or worse, much of Britain today is ultimately the product of the experiences of 1938-1941.
The Page 99 Test: Demobbed: Coming Home After World War Two by Alan Allport.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

"Crap: A History of Cheap Stuff in America"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Crap: A History of Cheap Stuff in America by Wendy A. Woloson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Crap. We all have it. Filling drawers. Overflowing bins and baskets. Proudly displayed or stuffed in boxes in basements and garages. Big and small. Metal, fabric, and a whole lot of plastic. So much crap. Abundant cheap stuff is about as American as it gets. And it turns out these seemingly unimportant consumer goods offer unique insights into ourselves—our values and our desires.

In Crap: A History of Cheap Stuff in America, Wendy A. Woloson takes seriously the history of objects that are often cynically-made and easy to dismiss: things not made to last; things we don't really need; things we often don't even really want. Woloson does not mock these ordinary, everyday possessions but seeks to understand them as a way to understand aspects of ourselves, socially, culturally, and economically: Why do we—as individuals and as a culture—possess these things? Where do they come from? Why do we want them? And what is the true cost of owning them?

Woloson tells the history of crap from the late eighteenth century up through today, exploring its many categories: gadgets, knickknacks, novelty goods, mass-produced collectibles, giftware, variety store merchandise. As Woloson shows, not all crap is crappy in the same way—bric-a-brac is crappy in a different way from, say, advertising giveaways, which are differently crappy from commemorative plates. Taking on the full brilliant and depressing array of crappy material goods, the book explores the overlooked corners of the American market and mindset, revealing the complexity of our relationship with commodity culture over time.

By studying crap rather than finely made material objects, Woloson shows us a new way to truly understand ourselves, our national character, and our collective psyche. For all its problems, and despite its disposability, our crap is us.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 23, 2020

"Indigenous Dispossession"

New from Stanford University Press: Indigenous Dispossession: Housing and Maya Indebtedness in Mexico by M. Bianet Castellanos.

About the book, from the publisher:
Following the recent global housing boom, tract housing development became a billion-dollar industry in Mexico. At the national level, neoliberal housing policy has overtaken debates around land reform. For Indigenous peoples, access to affordable housing remains crucial to alleviating poverty. But as palapas, traditional thatch and wood houses, are replaced by tract houses in the Yucatán Peninsula, Indigenous peoples' relationship to land, urbanism, and finance is similarly transformed, revealing a legacy of debt and dispossession.

Indigenous Dispossession examines how Maya families grapple with the ramifications of neoliberal housing policies. M. Bianet Castellanos relates Maya migrants' experiences with housing and mortgage finance in Cancún, one of Mexico's fastest-growing cities. Their struggle to own homes reveals colonial and settler colonial structures that underpin the city's economy, built environment, and racial order. But even as Maya people contend with predatory lending practices and foreclosure, they cultivate strategies of resistance—from "waiting out" the state, to demanding Indigenous rights in urban centers. As Castellanos argues, it is through these maneuvers that Maya migrants forge a new vision of Indigenous urbanism.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 22, 2020

"Royals and Rebels"

New from Oxford University Press: Royals and Rebels: The Rise and Fall of the Sikh Empire by Priya Atwal.

About the book, from the publisher:
In late-eighteenth-century India, the glory of the Mughal emperors was fading, and ambitious newcomers seized power, changing the political map forever. Enter the legendary Maharajah Ranjit Singh, whose Sikh Empire stretched throughout northwestern India into Afghanistan and Tibet.

Priya Atwal shines fresh light on this long-lost kingdom, looking beyond its founding father to restore the queens and princes to the story of this empire's spectacular rise and fall. She brings to life a self-made ruling family, inventively fusing Sikh, Mughal and European ideas of power, but eventually succumbing to gendered family politics, as the Sikh Empire fell to its great rival in the new India: the British.

Royals and Rebels is a fascinating tale of family, royalty and the fluidity of power, set in a dramatic global era when new stars rose and upstart empires clashed.
Visit Priya Atwal's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 21, 2020

"The Autocratic Middle Class"

New from Princeton University Press: The Autocratic Middle Class: How State Dependency Reduces the Demand for Democracy by Bryn Rosenfeld.

About the book, from the publisher:
Conventional wisdom holds that the rising middle classes are a force for democracy. Yet in post-Soviet countries like Russia, where the middle class has grown rapidly, authoritarianism is deepening. Challenging a basic tenet of democratization theory, Bryn Rosenfeld shows how the middle classes can actually be a source of support for autocracy and authoritarian resilience, and reveals why development and economic growth do not necessarily lead to greater democracy.

In pursuit of development, authoritarian states often employ large swaths of the middle class in state administration, the government budget sector, and state enterprises. Drawing on attitudinal surveys, unique data on protest behavior, and extensive fieldwork in the post-Soviet region, Rosenfeld documents how the failure of the middle class to gain economic autonomy from the state stymies support for political change, and how state economic engagement reduces middle-class demands for democracy and weakens prodemocratic coalitions.

The Autocratic Middle Class makes a vital contribution to the study of democratization, showing how dependence on the state weakens the incentives of key societal actors to prefer and pursue democracy.
Visit Bryn Rosenfeld's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 20, 2020

"The Virtues of Vulnerability"

New from Oxford University Press: The Virtues of Vulnerability: Humility, Autonomy, and Citizen-Subjectivity by Sara Rushing.

About the book, from the publisher:
Within the liberal tradition, the physical body has been treated as a focus of rights discussion and a source of economic and democratic value; it needs protection but it is also one's dominion, tool, and property, and thus something over which we should be able to exercise free will. However, the day-to-day reality of how we live in our bodies and how we make choices about them is not something over which we can exercise full control. In this way, embodiment mirrors life in a pluralist body politic: we are interdependent and vulnerable, exposed with and to others while desiring agency. As disability, feminist, and critical race scholars have all suggested, barriers to bodily control are often a problem of public and political will and social and economic structures that render relationality and caring responsibilities private, invisible, and low value. These scholarly traditions firmly maintain the importance of bodily integrity and self-determination, but make clear that autonomy is not a matter of mere non-interference but rather requires extensive material and social support. Autonomy is thus totally intertwined with, not opposed to, vulnerability. Put another way, the pursuit of autonomy requires practices of humility. Given this, what do we learn about agency and self-determination, as well as trust, self-knowledge, dependence, and resistance under such conditions of acute vulnerability?

The Virtues of Vulnerability looks at the question of how we navigate "choice" and control over our bodies when it comes to conditions like birth, illness, and death, particularly as they are experienced within mainstream medical institutions operating under the pressures of neoliberal capitalism. There is often a deep disconnect between what people say they want in navigating birth, illness, and death, and what they actually experience through all of these life events. Practices such as informed consent, the birth plan, advanced directives, and the patient satisfaction survey typically offer a thin and unreliable version of self-determination. In reality, "choice" in these instances is encumbered and often determined by our vulnerability at the most critical moments. This book looks at the ways in which we navigate birth, illness, and death in order to think about how vulnerability and humility can inform political will. Overall, the book asks under what conditions vulnerability and interdependence enhance or diminish our sense of ourselves as agents. In exploring this question it aims to produce a new vocabulary for democratic politics, highlighting traits that have profound political implications in terms of how citizens aspire, struggle, relate to, and persevere with each other.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 19, 2020

"Gangsters and Other Statesmen"

New from Princeton University Press: Gangsters and Other Statesmen: Mafias, Separatists, and Torn States in a Globalized World by Danilo Mandic.

About the book, from the publisher:
How global organized crime shapes the politics of borders in modern conflicts

Separatism has been on the rise across the world since the end of the Cold War, dividing countries through political strife, ethnic conflict, and civil war, and redrawing the political map. Gangsters and Other Statesmen examines the role transnational mafias play in the success and failure of separatist movements, challenging conventional wisdom about the interrelation of organized crime with peacebuilding, nationalism, and state making.

Danilo Mandić conducted fieldwork in the disputed territories of Kosovo and South Ossetia, talking to mobsters, separatists, and policymakers in war zones and along major smuggling routes. In this timely and provocative book, he demonstrates how globalized mafias shape the politics of borders in torn states, shedding critical light on an autonomous nonstate actor that has been largely sidelined by considerations of geopolitics, state-centered agency, and ethnonationalism. Blending extensive archival sleuthing and original ethnographic data with insights from sociology and other disciplines, Mandić argues that organized crime can be a fateful determinant of state capacity, separatist success, and ethnic conflict.

Putting mafias at the center of global processes of separatism and territorial consolidation, Gangsters and Other Statesmen raises vital questions and urges reconsideration of a host of separatist cases in West Africa, the Middle East, and East Europe.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

"Wild Visionary: Maurice Sendak in Queer Jewish Context"

New from Stanford University Press: Wild Visionary: Maurice Sendak in Queer Jewish Context by Golan Y. Moskowitz.

About the book, from the publisher:
Wild Visionary reconsiders Maurice Sendak's life and work in the context of his experience as a Jewish gay man. Maurice (Moishe) Bernard Sendak (1928–2012) was a fierce, romantic, and shockingly funny truth seeker who intervened in modern literature and culture. Raising the stakes of children's books, Sendak painted childhood with the dark realism and wild imagination of his own sensitive "inner child," drawing on the queer and Yiddish sensibilities that shaped his singular voice.

Interweaving literary biography and cultural history, Golan Y. Moskowitz follows Sendak from his parents' Brooklyn home to spaces of creative growth and artistic vision—from neighborhood movie palaces to Hell's Kitchen, Greenwich Village, Fire Island, and the Connecticut country home he shared with Eugene Glynn, his partner of more than fifty years. Further, he analyzes Sendak's investment in the figure of the endangered child in symbolic relation to collective touchstones that impacted the artist's perspective—the Great Depression, the Holocaust, and the AIDS crisis. Through a deep exploration of Sendak's picture books, interviews, and previously unstudied personal correspondence, Wild Visionary offers a sensitive portrait of the most beloved and enchanting picture-book artist of our time.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

"Killing Strangers"

New from Oxford University Press: Killing Strangers: How Political Violence Became Modern by T. K. Wilson.

About the book, from the publisher:
A bewildering feature of so much contemporary political violence is its stunning impersonality. Every major city centre becomes a potential shooting gallery; and every metro system a potential bomb alley. Victims just happen, as the saying goes, to 'be in the wrong place at the wrong time'.

We accept this contemporary reality - at least to some degree. But we rarely ask: where has it come from historically? Killing Strangers tackles this question head on. It examines how such violence became 'unchained' from inter-personal relationships. It traces the rise of such impersonal violence by examining violence in conjunction with changing social and political realities. In particular, it traces both 'push' and 'pull' - the ability of modern states to force the violence of their challengers into niche forms: and the disturbing new opportunities that technological changes offer to cause mayhem in fresh and original ways.

Killing Strangers therefore aims to highlight the very strangeness of contemporary experience when it is viewed against a long-term perspective. Atrocities regularly capture media attention - and just as quickly fade from public view. That is both tragic - and utterly predictable. Deep down we expect no different. And that is why such atrocities must be repeated if our attention is to be re-engaged. Deep down we expect that, too.

So Killing Strangers deliberately asks the very simplest of questions. How on earth did we get here?
Follow Tim Wilson on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 16, 2020

"Leviathan on a Leash"

New from Princeton University Press: Leviathan on a Leash: A Theory of State Responsibility by Sean Fleming.

About the book, from the publisher:
States are commonly blamed for wars, called on to apologize, held liable for debts and reparations, bound by treaties, and punished with sanctions. But what does it mean to hold a state responsible as opposed to a government, a nation, or an individual leader? Under what circumstances should we assign responsibility to states rather than individuals? Leviathan on a Leash demystifies the phenomenon of state responsibility and explains why it is a challenging yet indispensable part of modern politics.

Taking Thomas Hobbes’ theory of the state as his starting point, Sean Fleming presents a theory of state responsibility that sheds new light on sovereign debt, historical reparations, treaty obligations, and economic sanctions. Along the way, he overturns longstanding interpretations of Hobbes’ political thought, explores how new technologies will alter the practice of state responsibility as we know it, and develops new accounts of political authority, representation, and legitimacy. He argues that Hobbes’ idea of the state offers a far richer and more realistic conception of state responsibility than the theories prevalent today, and demonstrates that Hobbes’ Leviathan is much more than an anthropomorphic “artificial man.”

Leviathan on a Leash is essential reading for political theorists, scholars of international relations, international lawyers, and philosophers. This groundbreaking book recovers a forgotten understanding of state personality in Hobbes’ thought and shows how to apply it to the world of imperfect states in which we live.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 15, 2020

"The Invention of China"

New from Yale University Press: The Invention of China by Bill Hayton.

About the book, from the publisher:
A provocative account showing that “China”—and its 5,000 years of unified history—is a national myth, created only a century ago with a political agenda that persists to this day

China’s current leadership lays claim to a 5,000-year-old civilization, but “China” as a unified country and people, Bill Hayton argues, was created far more recently by a small group of intellectuals.

In this compelling account, Hayton shows how China’s present-day geopolitical problems—the fates of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, and the South China Sea—were born in the struggle to create a modern nation-state. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, reformers and revolutionaries adopted foreign ideas to “invent’ a new vision of China. By asserting a particular, politicized version of the past the government bolstered its claim to a vast territory stretching from the Pacific to Central Asia. Ranging across history, nationhood, language, and territory, Hayton shows how the Republic’s reworking of its past not only helped it to justify its right to rule a century ago—but continues to motivate and direct policy today.
Visit Bill Hayton's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 14, 2020

"Angry Politics"

New from the University Press of Kansas: Angry Politics: Partisan Hatred and Political Polarization among College Students by Stacy G. Ulbig.

About the book, from the publisher:
At a time of political tribalism and ideological purity tests, when surveys tell us that pluralities of the people in each party deem the opposition “downright evil,” it can be hard to remember that cross-party hatred isn’t an inherent feature of partisan politics. But, as this book reminds us, a backward glance—or a quick survey of so many retiring members of Congress—tells us that even in the past decade partisan rancor has grown exponentially. In Angry Politics, Stacy G. Ulbig asks why. Even more to the point, she traces the trend to the place where it all might begin—the college campus, among the youngest segment of the electorate.

A distinguished researcher and scholar of political psychology and public opinion, Ulbig gets right to the heart of the problem—the early manifestation of the incivility pervading contemporary US politics. With an emphasis on undergraduates at four-year universities, she gauges the intensity and effects of partisan animosities on campus, examines the significance of media consumption in forming political attitudes, and considers the possibility that partisan hostility can operate like racial and ethnic animosities in fomenting intolerance for other groups. During the college years, political attitudes are most likely to be mutable; so, as Angry Politics explores the increasing combativeness on campus, it also considers the possibility of forestalling partisan hatred before attitudes harden. Finally, Ulbig finds hope in the very conditions that make college a breeding ground for political ill will. Embracing their responsibility for developing responsible citizens capable of productive political engagement, colleges and universities may well be able to inject more reason, and thus more civility, into future partisan debate.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 13, 2020

"Operation Moonglow"

New from Basic Books: Operation Moonglow: A Political History of Project Apollo by Teasel Muir-Harmony.

About the book, from the publisher:
The moon landing was an important moment in history, but many forget what was happening behind the scenes — discover the groundbreaking political history of the Apollo program in this riveting exploration of America's space missions.

Since July 1969, Neil Armstrong's first step on the Moon has represented the pinnacle of American space exploration and a grand scientific achievement. Yet, as Smithsonian curator Teasel Muir-Harmony argues in Operation Moonglow, its primary purpose wasn't advancing science. Rather, it was part of a political strategy to build a global coalition. Starting with President John F. Kennedy's 1961 decision to send astronauts to the Moon to promote American "freedom" over Soviet "tyranny," Project Apollo was central to American foreign relations. From that perspective, the critical event did not just take place on the lunar surface, it took place in homes, public squares, palaces, and schools around the world, as Apollo captured global attention like never before. After the Moon landing, the Apollo astronauts and President Richard Nixon traveled the world to amplify the sense of participation and global unity shared by billions of people who followed the flight.

Drawing on a rich array of untapped archives and firsthand interviews with Apollo astronauts, Operation Moonglow paints a riveting picture of the intersection of spaceflight, geopolitics, propaganda, and diplomacy during the Cold War.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Past and Prologue"

New from Yale University Press: Past and Prologue: Politics and Memory in the American Revolution by Michael D. Hattem.

About the book, from the publisher:
How American colonists reinterpreted their British and colonial histories to help establish political and cultural independence from Britain

In Past and Prologue, Michael Hattem shows how colonists’ changing understandings of their British and colonial histories shaped the politics of the American Revolution and the origins of American national identity. Between the 1760s and 1800s, Americans stopped thinking of the British past as their own history and created a new historical tradition that would form the foundation for what subsequent generations would think of as “American history.” This change was a crucial part of the cultural transformation at the heart of the Revolution by which colonists went from thinking of themselves as British subjects to thinking of themselves as American citizens. Rather than liberating Americans from the past—as many historians have argued—the Revolution actually made the past matter more than ever. Past and Prologue shows how the process of reinterpreting the past played a critical role in the founding of the nation.
Michael D. Hattem is Associate Director of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. He has taught history at Knox College and Lang College at The New School.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 12, 2020

"The Sultan's Communists"

New from Stanford University Press: The Sultan's Communists: Moroccan Jews and the Politics of Belonging by Alma Rachel Heckman.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Sultan's Communists uncovers the history of Jewish radical involvement in Morocco's national liberation project and examines how Moroccan Jews envisioned themselves participating as citizens in a newly-independent Morocco. Closely following the lives of five prominent Moroccan Jewish Communists (Léon René Sultan, Edmond Amran El Maleh, Abraham Serfaty, Simon Lévy, and Sion Assidon), Alma Rachel Heckman describes how Moroccan Communist Jews fit within the story of mass Jewish exodus from Morocco in the 1950s and '60s, and how they survived oppressive post-independence authoritarian rule under the Moroccan monarchy to ultimately become heroic emblems of state-sponsored Muslim-Jewish tolerance.

The figures at the center of Heckman's narrative stood at the intersection of colonialism, Arab nationalism, and Zionism. Their stories unfolded in a country that, upon independence from France and Spain in 1956, allied itself with the United States (and, more quietly, Israel) during the Cold War, while attempting to claim a place for itself within the fraught politics of the post-independence Arab world. The Sultan's Communists contributes to the growing literature on Jews in the modern Middle East and provides a new history of twentieth-century Jewish Morocco.
Alma Rachel Heckman is Neufeld-Levin Chair of Holocaust Studies and Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

"China and the End of Global Silver, 1873–1937"

New from Cornell University Press: China and the End of Global Silver, 1873–1937 by Austin Dean.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the late nineteenth century, as much of the world adopted some variant of the gold standard, China remained the most populous country still using silver. Yet China had no unified national currency; there was not one monetary standard but many. Silver coins circulated alongside chunks of silver and every transaction became an "encounter of wits."

China and the End of Global Silver, 1873–1937 focuses on how officials, policy makers, bankers, merchants, academics, and journalists in China and around the world answered a simple question: how should China change its monetary system? Far from a narrow, technical issue, Chinese monetary reform is a dramatic story full of political revolutions, economic depressions, chance, and contingency. As different governments in China attempted to create a unified monetary standard in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the United States, England, and Japan tried to shape the direction of Chinese monetary reform for their own benefit. Austin Dean argues convincingly that the Silver Era in world history ended owing to the interaction of imperial competition in East Asia and the state-building projects of different governments in China. When the Nationalist government of China went off the silver standard in 1935, it marked a key moment not just in Chinese history but in world history.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

"Coming Out to the Streets"

New from the University of California Press: Coming Out to the Streets: LGBTQ Youth Experiencing Homelessness by Brandon Andrew Robinson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth are disproportionately represented in the U.S. youth homelessness population. In Coming Out to the Streets, Brandon Andrew Robinson examines their lives.

Based on interviews and ethnographic fieldwork in central Texas, Coming Out to the Streets looks into the LGBTQ youth's lives before they experience homelessness—within their families, schools, and other institutions—and later when they navigate the streets, deal with police, and access shelters and other services. Through this documentation, Brandon Andrew Robinson shows how poverty and racial inequality shape the ways that the LGBTQ youth negotiate their gender and sexuality before and while they are experiencing homelessness. To address LGBTQ youth homelessness, Robinson contends that solutions must move beyond blaming families for rejecting their child. In highlighting the voices of the LGBTQ youth, Robinson calls for queer and trans liberation through systemic change.
Brandon Andrew Robinson is Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of California, Riverside and coauthor of Race and Sexuality.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 9, 2020

"American Gold Digger"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: American Gold Digger: Marriage, Money, and the Law from the Ziegfeld Follies to Anna Nicole Smith by Brian Donovan.

About the book, from the publisher:
The stereotype of the "gold digger" has had a fascinating trajectory in twentieth-century America, from tales of greedy flapper-era chorus girls to tabloid coverage of Anna Nicole Smith and her octogenarian tycoon husband. The term entered American vernacular in the 1910s as women began to assert greater power over courtship, marriage, and finances, threatening men’s control of legal and economic structures. Over the course of the century, the gold digger stereotype reappeared as women pressed for further control over love, sex, and money while laws failed to keep pace with such realignments. The gold digger can be seen in silent films, vaudeville jokes, hip hop lyrics, and reality television. Whether feared, admired, or desired, the figure of the gold digger appears almost everywhere gender, sexuality, class, and race collide.

This fascinating interdisciplinary work reveals the assumptions and disputes around women's sexual agency in American life, shedding new light on the cultural and legal forces underpinning romantic, sexual, and marital relationships.
Brian Donovan is professor of sociology at the University of Kansas.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 8, 2020

"Nobody's People: Hierarchy as Hope in a Society of Thieves"

New from Stanford University Press: Nobody's People: Hierarchy as Hope in a Society of Thieves by Anastasia Piliavsky.

About the book, from the publisher:
What if we could imagine hierarchy not as a social ill, but as a source of social hope? Taking us into a "caste of thieves" in northern India, Nobody's People depicts hierarchy as a normative idiom through which people imagine better lives and pursue social ambitions. Failing to find a place inside hierarchic relations, the book's heroes are "nobody's people": perceived as worthless, disposable and so open to being murdered with no regret or remorse. Following their journey between death and hope, we learn to perceive vertical, non-equal relations as a social good, not only in rural Rajasthan, but also in much of the world—including settings stridently committed to equality. Challenging egalo-normative commitments, Anastasia Piliavsky asks scholars across the disciplines to recognize hierarchy as a major intellectual resource.
Anastasia Piliavsky is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and Politics at the India Institute at King's College London. She is the editor of Patronage as Politics in South Asia (2014).

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 7, 2020


New from Yale University Press: MI9: A History of the Secret Service for Escape and Evasion in World War Two by Helen Fry.

About the book, from the publisher:
A thrilling history of MI9—the WWII organization that engineered the escape of Allied forces from behind enemy lines

When Allied fighters were trapped behind enemy lines, one branch of military intelligence helped them escape: MI9. The organization set up clandestine routes that zig-zagged across Nazi-occupied Europe, enabling soldiers and airmen to make their way home. Secret agents and resistance fighters risked their lives and those of their families to hide the men.

Drawing on declassified files and eye-witness testimonies from across Europe and the United States, Helen Fry provides a significant reassessment of MI9’s wartime role. Central to its success were figures such as Airey Neave, Jimmy Langley, Sam Derry, and Mary Lindell—one of only a few women parachuted into enemy territory for MI9. This astonishing account combines escape and evasion tales with the previously untold stories behind the establishment of MI9—and reveals how the organization saved thousands of lives.
Visit Helen Fry's website.

The Page 99 Test: The London Cage.

The Page 99 Test: The Walls Have Ears.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 6, 2020

"Cartographies of Youth Resistance"

New from the University of California Press: Cartographies of Youth Resistance: Hip-Hop, Punk, and Urban Autonomy in Mexico by Maurice Rafael Magaña.

About the book, from the publisher:
In his exciting new book, based on a decade of ethnographic fieldwork, Maurice Magaña considers how urban and migrant youth in Oaxaca embrace subcultures from hip-hop to punk and adopt creative organizing practices to create meaningful channels of participation in local social and political life. In the process, young people remake urban space and construct new identities in ways that directly challenge elite visions of their city and essentialist notions of what it means to be indigenous in the contemporary era. Cartographies of Youth Resistance is essential reading for students and scholars interested in youth politics and culture in Mexico, social movements, urban studies, and migration.
Maurice Rafael Magaña is a sociocultural anthropologist and Assistant Professor of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona.

Visit Maurice Rafael Magaña's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 5, 2020

"Savoir-Faire: A History of Food in France"

New from Reaktion Books: Savoir-Faire: A History of Food in France by Maryann Tebben.

About the book, from the publisher:
Savoir-Faire is a comprehensive account of France’s rich culinary history, which is not only full of tales of haute cuisine, but seasoned with myths and stories from a wide variety of times and places—from snail hunting in Burgundy to female chefs in Lyon, and from cheese appreciation in Roman Gaul to bread debates from the Middle Ages to the present. It examines the use of less familiar ingredients such as chestnuts, couscous, and oysters; explores French food in literature and film; reveals the influence of France’s overseas territories on the shape of French cuisine today; and includes historical recipes for readers to try at home.
Maryann Tebben is professor of French and head of the Center for Food Studies at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Massachusetts. She is the author of Sauces: A Global History.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

"An Aristocracy of Critics"

New from Yale University Press: An Aristocracy of Critics: Luce, Hutchins, Niebuhr, and the Committee That Redefined Freedom of the Press by Stephen Bates.

About the book, from the publisher:
The story behind the 1940s Commission on Freedom of the Press—groundbreaking then, timelier than ever now

In 1943, Time Inc. editor-in-chief Henry R. Luce sponsored the greatest collaboration of intellectuals in the twentieth century. He and University of Chicago president Robert Maynard Hutchins summoned the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, the Pulitzer-winning poet Archibald MacLeish, and ten other preeminent thinkers to join the Commission on Freedom of the Press. They spent three years wrestling with subjects that are as pertinent as ever: partisan media and distorted news, activists who silence rather than rebut their opponents, conspiracy theories spread by shadowy groups, and the survivability of American democracy in a post-truth age. The report that emerged, A Free and Responsible Press, is a classic, but many of the commission’s sharpest insights never made it into print. Journalist and First Amendment scholar Stephen Bates reveals how these towering intellects debated some of the most vital questions of their time—and reached conclusions urgently relevant today.
Stephen Bates is an associate professor in the Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

"White Fright"

New from Basic Books: White Fright: The Sexual Panic at the Heart of America's Racist History by Jane Dailey.

About the book, from the publisher:
A major new history of the fight for racial equality in America, arguing that fear of black sexuality has undergirded white supremacy from the start.

In White Fright, historian Jane Dailey brilliantly reframes our understanding of the long struggle for African American rights. Those fighting against equality were not motivated only by a sense of innate superiority, as is often supposed, but also by an intense fear of black sexuality.

In this urgent investigation, Dailey examines how white anxiety about interracial sex and marriage found expression in some of the most contentious episodes of American history since Reconstruction: in battles over lynching, in the policing of black troops’ behavior overseas during World War II, in the violent outbursts following the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, and in the tragic story of Emmett Till. The question was finally settled — as a legal matter — with the Court’s definitive 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia, which declared interracial marriage a “fundamental freedom.” Placing sex at the center of our civil rights history, White Fright offers a bold new take on one of the most confounding threads running through American history.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 2, 2020

"To Rule Eurasia’s Waves"

New from Yale University Press: To Rule Eurasia’s Waves: The New Great Power Competition at Sea by Geoffrey F. Gresh.

About the book, from the publisher:

The first book to weave Eurasia together through the perspective of the oceans and seas

Eurasia’s emerging powers—India, China, and Russia—have increasingly embraced their maritime geographies as they have expanded and strengthened their economies, military capabilities, and global influence. Maritime Eurasia, a region that facilitates international commerce and contains some of the world’s most strategic maritime chokepoints, has already caused a shift in the global political economy and challenged the dominance of the Atlantic world and the United States. Climate change is set to further affect global politics.

With meticulous and comprehensive field research, Geoffrey Gresh considers how the melting of the Arctic ice cap will create new shipping lanes and exacerbate a contest for the control of Arctic natural resources. He explores as well the strategic maritime shifts under way from Europe to the Indian Ocean and Pacific Asia. The race for great power status and the earth’s changing landscape, Gresh shows, are rapidly transforming Eurasia and thus creating a new world order.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 1, 2020

"Unlivable Lives"

New from the University of California Press: Unlivable Lives: Violence and Identity in Transgender Activism by Laurel Westbrook.

About the book, from the publisher:
Anti-violence movements rooted in identity politics are commonplace, including those to stop violence against people of color, women, and LGBT people. Unlivable Lives reveals the unintended consequences of this approach within the transgender rights movement in the United States. It illustrates how this form of activism obscures the causes of and lasting solutions to violence and exacerbates fear among members of the identity group, running counter to the goal of making lives more livable. Analyzing over a thousand documents produced by thirteen national organizations, Westbrook charts both a history of the movement and a path forward that relies less on identity-based tactics and more on intersectionality and coalition building. Provocative and galvanizing, this book envisions new strategies for anti-violence and social justice movements and will revolutionize the way we think about this form of activism.
Laurel Westbrook is Associate Professor of Sociology at Grand Valley State University and cofounder of Sociologists for Trans Justice.

Visit Laurel Westbrook's website.

--Marshal Zeringue