Monday, October 25, 2021

"A War of Empires"

New from Osprey Publishing: A War of Empires: Japan, India, Burma & Britain: 1941-45 by Robert Lyman.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 1941 and 1942 the British and Indian Armies were brutally defeated and Japan reigned supreme in its newly conquered territories throughout Asia. But change was coming. New commanders were appointed, significant training together with restructuring took place, and new tactics were developed. A War of Empires by acclaimed historian Robert Lyman expertly retells these coordinated efforts and describes how a new volunteer Indian Army, rising from the ashes of defeat, would ferociously fight to turn the tide of war.

But victory did not come immediately. It wasn't until March 1944, when the Japanese staged their famed 'March on Delhi', that the years of rebuilding reaped their reward and after bitter fighting, the Japanese were finally defeated at Kohima and Imphal. This was followed by a series of extraordinary victories culminating in Mandalay in May 1945 and the collapse of all Japanese forces in Burma. The Indian Army's contribution has been consistently forgotten and ignored by many Western historians, Robert Lyman proves how vital this hard-fought campaign was in securing Allied victory in the east, defeating Japanese militarism and ultimately redrawing the map of the region with an independent India, free from the shackles of empire, all but guaranteed.
Visit Robert Lyman's website.

The Page 99 Test: Under a Darkening Sky.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 24, 2021

"All Options on the Table"

New from Cornell University Press: All Options on the Table: Leaders, Preventive War, and Nuclear Proliferation by Rachel Elizabeth Whitlark.

About the book, from the publisher:
When is preventive war chosen to counter nuclear proliferation? In All Options on the Table, Rachel Elizabeth Whitlark looks beyond systemic and slow-moving factors such as the distribution of power. Instead, she highlights individual leaders' beliefs to explain when preventive military force is the preferred strategy. Executive perspective—not institutional structure—is paramount.

Whitlark makes her argument through archivally based comparative case studies. She focuses on executive decision making regarding nuclear programs in China, North Korea, Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria. This book considers the actions of US presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, as well as Israeli prime ministers Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, and Ehud Olmert. All Options on the Table demonstrates that leaders have different beliefs about the consequences of nuclear proliferation in the international system and their state's ability to deter other states' nuclear activity. These divergent beliefs lead to variation in leaders' preferences regarding the use of preventive military force as a counter-proliferation strategy.

The historical evidence amassed in All Options on the Table bears on strategic assessments of aspiring nuclear powers such as Iran and North Korea. Whitlark argues that only those leaders who believe that nuclear proliferation is destabilizing for the international system will consider preventive force to counter such challenges. In a complex nuclear world, this insight helps explain why the use of force as a counter-proliferation strategy has been an extremely rare historical event.
Visit Rachel Elizabeth Whitlark's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 23, 2021

"Hegel's Century"

New from Cambridge University Press: Hegel's Century: Alienation and Recognition in a Time of Revolution by Jon Stewart.

About the book, from the publisher:
The remarkable lectures that Hegel gave in Berlin in the 1820s generated an exciting intellectual atmosphere which lasted for decades. From the 1830s, many students flocked to Berlin to study with people who had studied with Hegel, and both his original students, such as Feuerbach and Bauer, and later arrivals including Kierkegaard, Engels, Bakunin, and Marx, evolved into leading nineteenth-century thinkers. Jon Stewart's panoramic study of Hegel's deep influence upon the nineteenth century in turn reveals what that century contributed to the wider history of philosophy. It shows how Hegel's notions of 'alienation' and 'recognition' became the central motifs for the era's thinking; how these concepts spilled over into other fields – like religion, politics, literature, and drama; and how they created a cultural phenomenon so rich and pervasive that it can truly be called 'Hegel's century.' This book is required reading for historians of ideas as well as of philosophy.
Jon Stewart is a fellow of the Institute of Philosophy at the Slovak Academy of Sciences. His many books include Kierkegaard's Relations to Hegel Reconsidered (2003), Hegel's Interpretations of the Religions of the World (2018), and The Emergence of Subjectivity in the Ancient and Medieval World (2020), and he is editor of The Palgrave Handbook of German Idealism and Existentialism (2020).

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 22, 2021

"Three Cities After Hitler"

New from the University of Pittsburgh Press: Three Cities After Hitler: Redemptive Reconstruction Across Cold War Borders by Andrew Demshuk.

About the book, from the publisher:
Three Cities after Hitler compares how three prewar German cities shared decades of postwar development under three competing post-Nazi regimes: Frankfurt in capitalist West Germany, Leipzig in communist East Germany, and Wrocław (formerly Breslau) in communist Poland. Each city was rebuilt according to two intertwined modern trends. First, certain local edifices were chosen to be resurrected as “sacred sites” to redeem the national story after Nazism. Second, these tokens of a reimagined past were staged against the hegemony of modernist architecture and planning, which wiped out much of whatever was left of the urban landscape that had survived the war. All three cities thus emerged with simplified architectural narratives, whose historically layered complexities only survived in fragments where this twofold “redemptive reconstruction” after Nazism had proven less vigorous, sometimes because local citizens took action to save and appropriate them. Transcending both the Iron Curtain and freshly homogenized nation-states, three cities under three rival regimes shared a surprisingly common history before, during, and after Hitler—in terms of both top-down planning policies and residents’ spontaneous efforts to make home out of their city as its shape shifted around them.
The Page 99 Test: The Lost German East.

The Page 99 Test: Demolition on Karl Marx Square.

The Page 99 Test: Bowling for Communism.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 21, 2021

"Winning and Losing the Nuclear Peace"

New from Stanford University Press: Winning and Losing the Nuclear Peace: The Rise, Demise, and Revival of Arms Control by Michael Krepon.

About the book, from the publisher:
The definitive guide to the history of nuclear arms control by a wise eavesdropper and masterful storyteller, Michael Krepon.

The greatest unacknowledged diplomatic achievement of the Cold War was the absence of mushroom clouds. Deterrence alone was too dangerous to succeed; it needed arms control to prevent nuclear warfare. So, U.S. and Soviet leaders ventured into the unknown to devise guardrails for nuclear arms control and to treat the Bomb differently than other weapons. Against the odds, they succeeded. Nuclear weapons have not been used in warfare for three quarters of a century. This book is the first in-depth history of how the nuclear peace was won by complementing deterrence with reassurance, and then jeopardized by discarding arms control after the Cold War ended.

Winning and Losing the Nuclear Peace tells a remarkable story of high-wire acts of diplomacy, close calls, dogged persistence, and extraordinary success. Michael Krepon brings to life the pitched battles between arms controllers and advocates of nuclear deterrence, the ironic twists and unexpected outcomes from Truman to Trump. What began with a ban on atmospheric testing and a nonproliferation treaty reached its apogee with treaties that mandated deep cuts and corralled "loose nukes" after the Soviet Union imploded.

After the Cold War ended, much of this diplomatic accomplishment was cast aside in favor of freedom of action. The nuclear peace is now imperiled by no less than four nuclear-armed rivalries. Arms control needs to be revived and reimagined for Russia and China to prevent nuclear warfare. New guardrails have to be erected. Winning and Losing the Nuclear Peace is an engaging account of how the practice of arms control was built from scratch, how it was torn down, and how it can be rebuilt.
The Page 99 Test: Better Safe Than Sorry.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

"When France Fell"

New from Harvard University Press: When France Fell: The Vichy Crisis and the Fate of the Anglo-American Alliance by Michael S. Neiberg.

About the book, from the publisher:
Shocked by the fall of France in 1940, panicked U.S. leaders rushed to back the Vichy government—a fateful decision that nearly destroyed the Anglo–American alliance.

According to U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson, the “most shocking single event” of World War II was not the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but rather the fall of France in spring 1940. Michael Neiberg offers a dramatic history of the American response—a policy marked by panic and moral ineptitude, which placed the United States in league with fascism and nearly ruined the alliance with Britain.

The successful Nazi invasion of France destabilized American planners’ strategic assumptions. At home, the result was huge increases in defense spending, the advent of peacetime military conscription, and domestic spying to weed out potential fifth columnists. Abroad, the United States decided to work with Vichy France despite its pro-Nazi tendencies. The U.S.–Vichy partnership, intended to buy time and temper the flames of war in Europe, severely strained Anglo–American relations. American leaders naively believed that they could woo men like Philippe Pétain, preventing France from becoming a formal German ally. The British, however, understood that Vichy was subservient to Nazi Germany and instead supported resistance figures such as Charles de Gaulle. After the war, the choice to back Vichy tainted U.S.–French relations for decades.

Our collective memory of World War II as a period of American strength overlooks the desperation and faulty decision making that drove US policy from 1940 to 1943. Tracing the key diplomatic and strategic moves of these formative years, When France Fell gives us a more nuanced and complete understanding of the war and of the global position the United States would occupy afterward.
The Page 99 Test: Dance of the Furies.

The Page 99 Test: The Blood of Free Men.

The Page 99 Test: Potsdam.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

"Violent Fraternity"

New from Princeton University Press: Violent Fraternity: Indian Political Thought in the Global Age by Shruti Kapila.

About the book, from the publisher:
Violent Fraternity is a major history of the political thought that laid the foundations of modern India. Taking readers from the dawn of the twentieth century to the independence of India and formation of Pakistan in 1947, the book is a testament to the power of ideas to drive historical transformation.

Shruti Kapila sheds new light on leading figures such as M. K. Gandhi, Muhammad Iqbal, B. R. Ambedkar, and Vinayak Savarkar, the founder of Hindutva, showing how they were innovative political thinkers as well as influential political actors. She also examines lesser-known figures who contributed to the making of a new canon of political thought, such as B. G. Tilak, considered by Lenin to be the “fountainhead of revolution in Asia,” and Sardar Patel, India’s first deputy prime minister. Kapila argues that it was in India that modern political languages were remade through a revolution that defied fidelity to any exclusive ideology. The book shows how the foundational questions of politics were addressed in the shadow of imperialism to create both a sovereign India and the world’s first avowedly Muslim nation, Pakistan. Fraternity was lost only to be found again in violence as the Indian age signaled the emergence of intimate enmity.

A compelling work of scholarship, Violent Fraternity demonstrates why India, with its breathtaking scale and diversity, redefined the nature of political violence for the modern global era.
Follow Shruti Kapila on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 18, 2021

"Sustaining Democracy"

New from Oxford University Press: Sustaining Democracy: What We Owe to the Other Side by Robert B. Talisse.

About the book, from the publisher:
Democracy is not easy. Citizens who disagree sharply about politics must nonetheless work together as equal partners in the enterprise of collective self-government. Ideally, this work would be conducted under conditions of mutual civility, with opposed citizens nonetheless recognizing one another's standing as political equals. But when the political stakes are high, and the opposition seems to us severely mistaken, why not drop the democratic pretences of civil partnership, and simply play to win? Why seek to uphold properly democratic relations with those who embrace political ideas that are flawed, irresponsible, and out of step with justice? Why sustain democracy with political foes?

Drawing on extensive social science research concerning political polarization and partisan identity, Robert B. Talisse argues that when we break off civil interactions with our political opponents, we imperil relations with our political allies. In the absence of engagement with our political critics, our alliances grow increasingly homogeneous, conformist, and hierarchical. Moreover, they fracture and devolve amidst internal conflicts. In the end, our political aims suffer because our coalitions shrink and grow ineffective. Why sustain democracy with our foes? Because we need them if we are going to sustain democracy with our allies and friends.
Learn more about Sustaining Democracy at the Oxford University Press website. 

The Page 99 Test: Overdoing Democracy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 17, 2021

"Unsound Empire"

New from Yale University Press: Unsound Empire: Civilization and Madness in Late-Victorian Law by Catherine L. Evans.

About the book, from the publisher:
A study of the internal tensions of British imperial rule told through murder and insanity trials

Unsound Empire is a history of criminal responsibility in the nineteenth‑century British Empire told through detailed accounts of homicide cases across three continents. If a defendant in a murder trial was going to hang, he or she had to deserve it. Establishing the mental element of guilt—criminal responsibility—transformed state violence into law. And yet, to the consternation of officials in Britain and beyond, experts in new scientific fields posited that insanity was widespread and growing, and evolutionary theories suggested that wide swaths of humanity lacked the self‑control and understanding that common law demanded. Could it be fair to punish mentally ill or allegedly “uncivilized” people? Could British civilization survive if killers avoided the noose?
Catherine Evans is assistant professor at the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 16, 2021

"Klimat: Russia in the Age of Climate Change"

New from Harvard University Press: Klimat: Russia in the Age of Climate Change by Thane Gustafson.

About the book, from the publisher:
A discerning analysis of the future effects of climate change on Russia, the major power most dependent on the fossil fuel economy.

Russia will be one of the countries most affected by climate change. No major power is more economically dependent on the export of hydrocarbons; at the same time, two-thirds of Russia’s territory lies in the arctic north, where melting permafrost is already imposing growing damage. Climate change also brings drought and floods to Russia’s south, threatening the country’s agricultural exports.

Thane Gustafson predicts that, over the next thirty years, climate change will leave a dramatic imprint on Russia. The decline of fossil fuel use is already underway, and restrictions on hydrocarbons will only tighten, cutting fuel prices and slashing Russia’s export revenues. Yet Russia has no substitutes for oil and gas revenues. The country is unprepared for the worldwide transition to renewable energy, as Russian leaders continue to invest the national wealth in oil and gas while dismissing the promise of post-carbon technologies. Nor has the state made efforts to offset the direct damage that climate change will do inside the country. Optimists point to new opportunities—higher temperatures could increase agricultural yields, the melting of arctic ice may open year-round shipping lanes in the far north, and Russia could become a global nuclear-energy supplier. But the eventual post-Putin generation of Russian leaders will nonetheless face enormous handicaps, as their country finds itself weaker than at any time in the preceding century.

Lucid and thought-provoking, Klimat shows how climate change is poised to alter the global order, potentially toppling even great powers from their perches.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 15, 2021

"The Neomercantilists"

New from Cornell University Press: The Neomercantilists: A Global Intellectual History by Eric Helleiner.

About the book, from the publisher:
At a time when critiques of free trade policies are gaining currency, The Neomercantilists helps make sense of the protectionist turn, providing the first intellectual history of the genealogy of neomercantilism. Eric Helleiner identifies many pioneers of this ideology between the late eighteenth and early twentieth centuries who backed strategic protectionism and other forms of government economic activism to promote state wealth and power. They included not just the famous Friedrich List, but also numerous lesser-known thinkers, many of whom came from outside of the West.

Helleiner's novel emphasis on neomercantilism's diverse origins challenges traditional Western-centric understandings of its history. It illuminates neglected local intellectual traditions and international flows of ideas that gave rise to distinctive varieties of the ideology around the globe, including in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. This rich history left enduring intellectual legacies, including in the two dominant powers of the contemporary world economy: China and the United States.

The result is an exceptional study of a set of profoundly influential economic ideas. While rooted in the past, it sheds light on the present moment. The Neomercantilists shows how we might construct more global approaches to the study of international political economy and intellectual history, devoting attention to thinkers from across the world, and to the cross-border circulation of thought.
The Page 99 Test: Forgotten Foundations of Bretton Woods.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 14, 2021

"Career & Family"

New from Princeton University Press: Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey toward Equity by Claudia Goldin.

About the book, from the publisher:
A century ago, it was a given that a woman with a college degree had to choose between having a career and a family. Today, there are more female college graduates than ever before, and more women want to have a career and family, yet challenges persist at work and at home. This book traces how generations of women have responded to the problem of balancing career and family as the twentieth century experienced a sea change in gender equality, revealing why true equity for dual career couples remains frustratingly out of reach.

Drawing on decades of her own groundbreaking research, Claudia Goldin provides a fresh, in-depth look at the diverse experiences of college-educated women from the 1900s to today, examining the aspirations they formed—and the barriers they faced—in terms of career, job, marriage, and children. She shows how many professions are “greedy,” paying disproportionately more for long hours and weekend work, and how this perpetuates disparities between women and men. Goldin demonstrates how the era of COVID-19 has severely hindered women’s advancement, yet how the growth of remote and flexible work may be the pandemic’s silver lining.

Antidiscrimination laws and unbiased managers, while valuable, are not enough. Career and Family explains why we must make fundamental changes to the way we work and how we value caregiving if we are ever to achieve gender equality and couple equity.
. --Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

"Empire of Destruction"

New from Yale University Press: Empire of Destruction: A History of Nazi Mass Killing by Alex J. Kay.

About the book, from the publisher:
The first comparative, comprehensive history of Nazi mass killing – showing how genocidal policies were crucial to the regime’s strategy to win the war

Nazi Germany killed approximately 13 million civilians and other non-combatants in deliberate policies of mass murder, mostly during the war years. Almost half the victims were Jewish, systematically destroyed in the Holocaust, the core of the Nazis’ pan-European racial purification programme.

Alex Kay argues that the genocide of European Jewry can be examined in the wider context of Nazi mass killing. For the first time, Empire of Destruction considers Europe’s Jews alongside all the other major victim groups: captive Red Army soldiers, the Soviet urban population, unarmed civilian victims of preventive terror and reprisals, the mentally and physically disabled, the European Roma and the Polish intelligentsia. Kay shows how each of these groups was regarded by the Nazi regime as a potential threat to Germany’s ability to successfully wage a war for hegemony in Europe.

Combining the full quantitative scale of the killings with the individual horror, this is a vital and groundbreaking work.
The Page 99 Test: The Making of an SS Killer.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

"Cogs and Monsters"

New from Princeton University Press: Cogs and Monsters: What Economics Is, and What It Should Be by Diane Coyle.

About the book, from the publisher:
Digital technology, big data, big tech, machine learning, and AI are revolutionizing both the tools of economics and the phenomena it seeks to measure, understand, and shape. In Cogs and Monsters, Diane Coyle explores the enormous problems—but also opportunities—facing economics today if it is to respond effectively to these dizzying changes and help policymakers solve the world’s crises, from pandemic recovery and inequality to slow growth and the climate emergency.

Mainstream economics, Coyle says, still assumes people are “cogs”—self-interested, calculating, independent agents interacting in defined contexts. But the digital economy is much more characterized by “monsters”—untethered, snowballing, and socially influenced unknowns. What is worse, by treating people as cogs, economics is creating its own monsters, leaving itself without the tools to understand the new problems it faces. In response, Coyle asks whether economic individualism is still valid in the digital economy, whether we need to measure growth and progress in new ways, and whether economics can ever be objective, since it influences what it analyzes. Just as important, the discipline needs to correct its striking lack of diversity and inclusion if it is to be able to offer new solutions to new problems.

Filled with original insights, Cogs and Monsters offers a road map for how economics can adapt to the rewiring of society, including by digital technologies, and realize its potential to play a hugely positive role in the twenty-first century.
Visit The Enlightened Economist blog.

The Page 69 Test: Diane Coyle's The Soulful Science.

The Page 99 Test: The Economics of Enough.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 11, 2021

"Public Confessions"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Public Confessions: The Religious Conversions That Changed American Politics by Rebecca L. Davis.

About the book, from the publisher:
Personal reinvention is a core part of the human condition. Yet in the mid-twentieth century, certain private religious choices became lightning rods for public outrage and debate.

Public Confessions reveals the controversial religious conversions that shaped modern America. Rebecca L. Davis explains why the new faiths of notable figures including Clare Boothe Luce, Whittaker Chambers, Sammy Davis Jr., Marilyn Monroe, Muhammad Ali, Chuck Colson, and others riveted the American public. Unconventional religious choices charted new ways of declaring an “authentic” identity amid escalating Cold War fears of brainwashing and coercion. Facing pressure to celebrate a specific vision of Americanism, these converts variously attracted and repelled members of the American public. Whether the act of changing religions was viewed as selfish, reckless, or even unpatriotic, it provoked controversies that ultimately transformed American politics.

Public Confessions takes intimate history to its widest relevance, and in so doing, makes you see yourself in both the private and public stories it tells.
Visit Rebecca L. Davis's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 10, 2021

"American Afterlives"

New from Princeton University Press: American Afterlives: Reinventing Death in the Twenty-First Century by Shannon Lee Dawdy.

About the book, from the publisher:
A mesmerizing trip across America to investigate the changing face of death in contemporary life

Death in the United States is undergoing a quiet revolution. You can have your body frozen, dissected, composted, dissolved, or tanned. Your family can incorporate your remains into jewelry, shotgun shells, paperweights, and artwork. Cremations have more than doubled, and DIY home funerals and green burials are on the rise. American Afterlives is Shannon Lee Dawdy’s lyrical and compassionate account of changing death practices in America as people face their own mortality and search for a different kind of afterlife.

As an anthropologist and archaeologist, Dawdy knows that how a society treats its dead yields powerful clues about its beliefs and values. As someone who has experienced loss herself, she knows there is no way to tell this story without also reexamining her own views about death and dying. In this meditative and gently humorous book, Dawdy embarks on a transformative journey across the United States, talking to funeral directors, death-care entrepreneurs, designers, cemetery owners, death doulas, and ordinary people from all walks of life. What she discovers is that, by reinventing death, Americans are reworking their ideas about personhood, ritual, and connection across generations. She also confronts the seeming contradiction that American death is becoming at the same time more materialistic and more spiritual.

Written in conjunction with a documentary film project, American Afterlives features images by cinematographer Daniel Zox that provide their own testament to our rapidly changing attitudes toward death and the afterlife.
Visit Shannon Lee Dawdy's website.

The Page 99 Test: Building the Devil's Empire.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 9, 2021

"The Mismeasure of the Self"

New from Oxford University Press: The Mismeasure of the Self: A Study in Vice Epistemology by Alessandra Tanesini.

About the book , from the publisher:
The Mismeasure of the Self is dedicated to vices that blight many lives. They are the vices of superiority, characteristic of those who feel entitled, superior and who have an inflated opinion of themselves, and those of inferiority, typical of those who are riddled with self-doubt and feel inferior. Arrogance, narcissism, haughtiness, and vanity are among the first group. Self-abasement, fatalism, servility, and timidity exemplify the second. This book shows these traits to be to vices of self-evaluation and describes their pervasive harmful effects in some detail. Even though the influence of these traits extends to any aspect of life, the focus of this book is their damaging impact on the life of the intellect. Tanesini develops and defends a view of these vices that puts vicious motivations at their core. The analyses developed in this work build on empirical research in attitude psychology and on philosophical theories in virtue ethics and epistemology. The book concludes with a positive proposal for weakening vice and promoting virtue.
Visit Alessandra Tanesini's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 8, 2021

"Pushing Cool"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Pushing Cool: Big Tobacco, Racial Marketing, and the Untold Story of the Menthol Cigarette by Keith Wailoo.

About the book, from the publisher:
Spanning a century, Pushing Cool reveals how the twin deceptions of health and Black affinity for menthol were crafted—and how the industry’s disturbingly powerful narrative has endured to this day.

Police put Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold for selling cigarettes on a New York City street corner. George Floyd was killed by police outside a store in Minneapolis known as “the best place to buy menthols.” Black smokers overwhelmingly prefer menthol brands such as Kool, Salem, and Newport. All of this is no coincidence. The disproportionate Black deaths and cries of “I can’t breathe” that ring out in our era—because of police violence, COVID-19, or menthol smoking—are intimately connected to a post-1960s history of race and exploitation.

In Pushing Cool, Keith Wailoo tells the intricate and poignant story of menthol cigarettes for the first time. He pulls back the curtain to reveal the hidden persuaders who shaped menthol buying habits and racial markets across America: the world of tobacco marketers, consultants, psychologists, and social scientists, as well as Black lawmakers and civic groups including the NAACP. Today most Black smokers buy menthols, and calls to prohibit their circulation hinge on a history of the industry’s targeted racial marketing. In 2009, when Congress banned flavored cigarettes as criminal enticements to encourage youth smoking, menthol cigarettes were also slated to be banned. Through a detailed study of internal tobacco industry documents, Wailoo exposes why they weren’t and how they remain so popular with Black smokers.
Visit Keith Wailoo's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

"Poverty, Solidarity, and Poor-led Social Movements"

New from Oxford University Press: Poverty, Solidarity, and Poor-Led Social Movements by Monique Deveaux.

About the book, from the publisher:
Poverty is not only about material deprivation, but also about the subordination and disempowerment of poor populations. So why isn't the emancipation and empowerment of the poor a core goal of ethical arguments for poverty reduction? Deveaux argues in this book that philosophers fail to prioritize these ends, and to recognize the moral and political agency of poor people, because they still conceive of poverty narrowly and apolitically as mere needs scarcity. By comparison, poor activists and critical poverty researchers who see deprivation as structural exclusion and powerlessness advocate a "poor-centered," poor-led, approach to reducing poverty. Stuck in an older paradigm of poverty thinking, philosophers have failed to recognize the power and moral authority of poor communities--and their movements for justice and social change.

If normative ethicists seek to contribute to proposals for just and durable poverty reduction, they will need to look to the insights and aims of "pro-poor," poor-led social movements. From rural landless workers in Brazil, to urban shack dwellers in South Africa, to unemployed workers impoverished by neoliberal economic policies in Argentina, poor-led organizations and movements advance a more political understanding of poverty--and of what is needed to eradicate it. Deveaux shows how these groups develop the political consciousness and collective capabilities of poor communities and help to create the basis for solidarity among poor populations. Defending the idea of a political responsibility for solidarity, she shows how nonpoor outsiders--individuals, institutions, and states--can help to advance a transformative anti-poverty agenda by supporting the efforts of these movements.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 1, 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

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

"Utopia in the Age of Survival"

New from Stanford University Press: Utopia in the Age of Survival: Between Myth and Politics by S.D. Chrostowska.

About the book, from the publisher:
A pathbreaking exploration of the fate of utopia in our troubled times, this book shows how the historically intertwined endeavors of utopia and critique might be leveraged in response to humanity's looming existential challenges.

Utopia in the Age of Survival makes the case that critical social theory needs to reinstate utopia as a speculative myth. At the same time the left must reassume utopia as an action-guiding hypothesis—that is, as something still possible. S. D. Chrostowska looks to the vibrant, visionary mid-century resurgence of embodied utopian longings and projections in Surrealism, the Situationist International, and critical theorists writing in their wake, reconstructing utopia's link to survival through to the earliest, most radical phase of the French environmental movement. Survival emerges as the organizing concept for a variety of democratic political forms that center the corporeality of desire in social movements contesting the expanding management of life by state institutions across the globe.

Vigilant and timely, balancing fine-tuned analysis with broad historical overview to map the utopian impulse across contemporary cultural and political life, Chrostowska issues an urgent report on the vitality of utopia.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

"Teaching Machines"

New from The MIT Press: Teaching Machines: The History of Personalized Learning by Audrey Watters.

About the book, from the publisher:
How ed tech was born: Twentieth-century teaching machines—from Sidney Pressey's mechanized test-giver to B. F. Skinner's behaviorist bell-ringing box.

Contrary to popular belief, ed tech did not begin with videos on the internet. The idea of technology that would allow students to “go at their own pace” did not originate in Silicon Valley. In Teaching Machines, education writer Audrey Watters offers a lively history of predigital educational technology, from Sidney Pressey's mechanized positive-reinforcement provider to B. F. Skinner's behaviorist bell-ringing box. Watters shows that these machines and the pedagogy that accompanied them sprang from ideas—bite-sized content, individualized instruction—that had legs and were later picked up by textbook publishers and early advocates for computerized learning.

Watters pays particular attention to the role of the media—newspapers, magazines, television, and film—in shaping people's perceptions of teaching machines as well as the psychological theories underpinning them. She considers these machines in the context of education reform, the political reverberations of Sputnik, and the rise of the testing and textbook industries. She chronicles Skinner's attempts to bring his teaching machines to market, culminating in the famous behaviorist's efforts to launch Didak 101, the “pre-verbal” machine that taught spelling. (Alternate names proposed by Skinner include “Autodidak,” “Instructomat,” and “Autostructor.”) Telling these somewhat cautionary tales, Watters challenges what she calls “the teleology of ed tech”—the idea that not only is computerized education inevitable, but technological progress is the sole driver of events.
Visit Audrey Watters's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

"Embattled"

New from Stanford University Press: Embattled: How Ancient Greek Myths Empower Us to Resist Tyranny by Emily Katz Anhalt.

About the book, from the publisher:
An incisive exploration of the way Greek myths empower us to defeat tyranny.

As tyrannical passions increasingly plague twenty-first-century politics, tales told in ancient Greek epics and tragedies provide a vital antidote. Democracy as a concept did not exist until the Greeks coined the term and tried the experiment, but the idea can be traced to stories that the ancient Greeks told and retold. From the eighth through the fifth centuries BCE, Homeric epics and Athenian tragedies exposed the tyrannical potential of individuals and groups large and small. These stories identified abuses of power as self-defeating. They initiated and fostered a movement away from despotism and toward broader forms of political participation.

Following her highly praised book Enraged: Why Violent Times Need Ancient Greek Myths, the classicist Emily Katz Anhalt retells tales from key ancient Greek texts and proceeds to interpret the important message they hold for us today. As she reveals, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Aeschylus's Oresteia, and Sophocles's Antigone encourage us—as they encouraged the ancient Greeks—to take responsibility for our own choices and their consequences. These stories emphasize the responsibilities that come with power (any power, whether derived from birth, wealth, personal talents, or numerical advantage), reminding us that the powerful and the powerless alike have obligations to each other. They assist us in restraining destructive passions and balancing tribal allegiances with civic responsibilities. They empower us to resist the tyrannical impulses not only of others but also in ourselves.

In an era of political polarization, Embattled demonstrates that if we seek to eradicate tyranny in all its toxic forms, ancient Greek epics and tragedies can point the way.
Visit Emily Katz Anhalt's website.

The Page 99 Test: Enraged.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

"Dogopolis"

Coming September 14 from the University of Chicago Press: Dogopolis: How Dogs and Humans Made Modern New York, London, and Paris (Animal Lives) by Chris Pearson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Dogopolis suggests a surprising source of urban innovation in the history of three major cities: human-canine relationships.

Stroll through any American or European city today and you probably won’t get far before seeing a dog being taken for a walk. It’s expected that these domesticated animals can easily navigate sidewalks, streets, and other foundational elements of our built environment. But what if our cities were actually shaped in response to dogs more than we ever realized?

Chris Pearson’s Dogopolis boldly and convincingly asserts that human-canine relations were a crucial factor in the formation of modern urban living. Focusing on New York, London, and Paris from the early nineteenth century into the 1930s, Pearson shows that human reactions to dogs significantly remolded them and other contemporary western cities. It’s an unalterable fact that dogs—often filthy, bellicose, and sometimes off-putting—run away, spread rabies, defecate, and breed wherever they like, so as dogs became a more and more common in nineteenth-century middle-class life, cities had to respond to people’s fear of them and revulsion at their least desirable traits. The gradual integration of dogs into city life centered on disgust at dirt, fear of crime and vagrancy, and the promotion of humanitarian sentiments. On the other hand, dogs are some people’s most beloved animal companions, and human compassion and affection for pets and strays were equally powerful forces in shaping urban modernity. Dogopolis details the complex interrelations among emotions, sentiment, and the ways we manifest our feelings toward what we love—showing that together they can actually reshape society.
Follow Chris Pearson on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 30, 2021

"Far-Right Vanguard"

Coming October 29 from the University of Pennsylvania Press: Far-Right Vanguard: The Radical Roots of Modern Conservatism by John S. Huntington.

About the book, from the publisher:
Donald Trump shocked the nation in 2016 by winning the presidency through an ultraconservative, anti-immigrant platform, but, despite the electoral surprise, Trump's far-right views were not an aberration, nor even a recent phenomenon. In Far-Right Vanguard, John Huntington shows how, for almost a century, the far right has forced so-called "respectable" conservatives to grapple with their concerns, thereby intensifying right-wing thought and forecasting the trajectory of American politics. Ultraconservatives of the twentieth century were the vanguard of modern conservatism as it exists in the Republican Party of today.

Far-Right Vanguard chronicles the history of the ultraconservative movement, its national network, its influence on Republican Party politics, and its centrality to America's rightward turn during the second half of the twentieth century. Often marginalized as outliers, the far right grew out of the same ideological seedbed that nourished mainstream conservatism. Ultraconservatives were true reactionaries, dissenters seeking to peel back the advance of the liberal state, hoping to turn one of the major parties, if not a third party, into a bastion of true conservatism.

In the process, ultraconservatives left a deep imprint upon the cultural and philosophical bedrock of American politics. Far-right leaders built their movement through grassroots institutions, like the John Birch Society and Christian Crusade, each one a critical node in the ultraconservative network, a point of convergence for activists, politicians, and businessmen. This vibrant, interconnected web formed the movement's connective tissue and pushed far-right ideas into the political mainstream. Conspiracy theories, nativism, white supremacy, and radical libertarianism permeated far-right organizations, producing an uncompromising mindset and a hyper-partisanship that consumed conservatism and, eventually, the Republican Party.

Ultimately, the far right's politics of dissent—against racial progress, federal power, and political moderation—laid the groundwork for the aggrieved, vitriolic conservatism of the twenty-first century.
Visit John S. Huntington's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 29, 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

Saturday, August 28, 2021

"Meatpacking America"

Coming soon from the University of North Carolina Press: Meatpacking America: How Migration, Work, and Faith Unite and Divide the Heartland by Kristy Nabhan-Warren.

About the book, from the publisher:
Whether valorized as the heartland or derided as flyover country, the Midwest became instantly notorious when COVID-19 infections skyrocketed among workers in meatpacking plants—and Americans feared for their meat supply. But the Midwest is not simply the place where animals are fed corn and then butchered. Native midwesterner Kristy Nabhan-Warren spent years interviewing Iowans who work in the meatpacking industry, both native-born residents and recent migrants from Latin America, Africa, and Asia. In Meatpacking America, she digs deep below the stereotype and reveals the grit and grace of a heartland that is a major global hub of migration and food production—and also, it turns out, of religion.

Across the flatlands, Protestants, Catholics, and Muslims share space every day as worshippers, employees, and employers. On the bloody floors of meatpacking plants, in bustling places of worship, and in modest family homes, longtime and newly arrived Iowans spoke to Nabhan-Warren about their passion for religious faith and desire to work hard for their families. Their stories expose how faith-based aspirations for mutual understanding blend uneasily with rampant economic exploitation and racial biases. Still, these new and old midwesterners say that a mutual language of faith and morals brings them together more than any of them would have ever expected.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 27, 2021

"Strokes of Luck"

New from Oxford University Press: Strokes of Luck: A Study in Moral and Political Philosophy by Gerald Lang.

About the book, from the publisher:
Strokes of Luck provides a detailed and wide-ranging examination of the role of luck in moral and political philosophy. The first part tackles debates in moral luck, which are concerned with the assignment of blameworthiness to individuals who are separated only by lucky differences. 'Anti-luckists' think that one who, for example, attempts and succeeds in an assassination and one who attempts and fails are equally blameworthy. This book defends an anti-anti-luckist argument, according to which the successful assassin is more blameworthy than the unsuccessful one. Moreover, the successful assassin is, all things equal, a worse person than the unsuccessful one. The worldly outcomes of our acts can make an all-important difference, not only to how bad our acts can be deemed, but to how bad we are. The second part enters into debates about distributive justice. Lang argues that the attempt to neutralize luck in the distribution of advantages among individuals does not deserve its prominence in political philosophy: the 'luck egalitarian' programme is flawed. A better way forward is to re-invest in John Rawls's 'justice as fairness', which demonstrates a superior way of taming the bad effects of luck and unchosen disadvantage.
Gerald Lang is Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Leeds.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 26, 2021

"Soldier Snapshots"

New from the University Press of Kansas: Soldier Snapshots: Masculinity, Play, and Friendship in the Everyday Photographs of Men in the American Military by Jay Mechling.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Soldier Snapshots Jay Mechling explores how American men socially construct their performance of masculinity in everyday life in all-male friendship groups during their service in the military. The evidence Mechling analyzes is a collection of vernacular photographs, “snapshots,” of and by American soldiers, sailors, Marines, and aviators. Since almost all of the snapshots are photographs taken of men by other men, this book offers a unique view into the social construction, performance, and repair of American masculinity. Mechling guides the reader from the snapshots to ideas about the everyday lives of male soldiers to ideas about the lives of men in groups to ideas about American culture.

In his introduction Mechling offers his thoughts about how to undertake the interdisciplinary study of American culture; he draws from history, folklore, anthropology, sociology, rhetoric, psychology, gender and sexuality studies, ethnic studies, popular culture studies, and visual studies to reveal the intricacies of how men use their folk practices in an all-male group to manage the paradoxes of their friendship and comradeship under sometimes stressful conditions. Soldier Snapshots begins with a brief history of war photography and establishes the nature of vernacular photography: the snapshot. This is followed by a jargon-free discussion of the key ideas about masculinity and the vernacular practices of men in groups, exploring male friendship, the important role of play in men’s relationships, and the ways “animal buddies” adopted by male friendship groups actually tell us even more about male friendship and issues of trust.

In the final section Mechling’s careful analysis reveals how the men employ different folk practices—including rough-and-tumble playfighting, building human pyramids, bathing naked in public, cross-dressing, hazing, and gallows humor—in order to manage their relationships. Regardless of the man’s sexual orientation and sexual identity, the strong heterosexual norm in the military means that the men must find ways to understand and even enact or perform their feelings of bonding while still defining those feelings and acts as heterosexual.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

"Ends of War"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Ends of War: The Unfinished Fight of Lee's Army after Appomattox by Caroline E. Janney.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Army of Northern Virginia’s chaotic dispersal began even before Lee and Grant met at Appomattox Court House. As the Confederates had pushed west at a relentless pace for nearly a week, thousands of wounded and exhausted men fell out of the ranks. When word spread that Lee planned to surrender, most remaining troops stacked their arms and accepted paroles allowing them to return home, even as they lamented the loss of their country and cause. But others broke south and west, hoping to continue the fight. Fearing a guerrilla war, Grant extended the generous Appomattox terms to every rebel who would surrender himself. Provost marshals fanned out across Virginia and beyond, seeking nearly 18,000 of Lee’s men who had yet to surrender. But the shock of Lincoln’s assassination led Northern authorities to see threats of new rebellion in every rail depot and harbor where Confederates gathered for transport, even among those already paroled. While Federal troops struggled to keep order and sustain a fragile peace, their newly surrendered adversaries seethed with anger and confusion at the sight of Union troops occupying their towns and former slaves celebrating freedom.

In this dramatic new history of the weeks and months after Appomattox, Caroline E. Janney reveals that Lee’s surrender was less an ending than the start of an interregnum marked by military and political uncertainty, legal and logistical confusion, and continued outbursts of violence. Janney takes readers from the deliberations of government and military authorities to the ground-level experiences of common soldiers. Ultimately, what unfolds is the messy birth narrative of the Lost Cause, laying the groundwork for the defiant resilience of rebellion in the years that followed.
The Page 99 Test: Remembering the Civil War.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

"The Scope of Consent"

New from Oxford University Press: The Scope of Consent by Tom Dougherty.

About the book, from the publisher:
The scope of someone's consent is the range of actions that they permit by giving consent. The Scope of Consent investigates the under-explored question of which normative principle governs the scope of consent. To answer this question, the book's investigation involves taking a stance on what constitutes consent. By appealing to the idea that someone can justify their behaviour by appealing to another person's consent, Dougherty defends the view that consent consists in behaviour that expresses a consent-giver's will for how a consent-receiver behaves. The ultimate conclusion of the book is that the scope of consent is determined by certain evidence that bears on the appropriate interpretation of the consent.
Tom Dougherty is an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has previously worked at the University of Cambridge, the University of Sydney, and Stanford University. He specialises in normative ethics and has published articles on consent in journals including Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Nous, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, and Philosophical Studies.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 23, 2021

"Haiti Fights Back"

New from Rutgers University Press: Haiti Fights Back: The Life and Legacy of Charlemagne Péralte by Yveline Alexis.

About the book, from the publisher:
Haiti Fights Back: The Life and Legacy of Charlemagne Péralte is the first US scholarly examination of the politician and caco leader (guerrilla fighter) who fought against the US military occupation of Haiti. The occupation lasted close to two decades, from 1915-1934. Alexis argues for the importance of documenting resistance while exploring the occupation’s mechanics and its imperialism. She takes us to Haiti, exploring the sites of what she labels as resistance zones, including Péralte’s hometown of Hinche and the nation’s large port areas--Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien. Alexis offers a new reading of U.S. military archival sources that record Haitian protests as banditry. Haiti Fights Back illuminates how Péralte launched a political movement, and meticulously captures how Haitian women and men resisted occupation through silence, military battles, and writings. She locates and assembles rare, multilingual primary sources from traditional repositories, living archives (oral stories), and artistic representations in Haiti and the United States. The interdisciplinary work draws on legislation, cacos’ letters, newspapers, and murals, offering a unique examination of Péralte’s life (1885-1919) and the significance of his legacy through the twenty-first century. Haiti Fights Back offers a new approach to the study of the U.S. invasion of the Americas by chronicling how Caribbean people fought back.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 22, 2021

"The Popes against the Protestants"

New from Yale University Press: The Popes against the Protestants: The Vatican and Evangelical Christianity in Fascist Italy by Kevin Madigan.

About the book, from the publisher:
An account of the alliance between the Catholic Church and the Italian Fascist regime in their campaign against Protestants

Based on previously undisclosed archival materials, this book tells the fascinating, untold, and troubling story of an anti-Protestant campaign in Italy that lasted longer, consumed more clerical energy and cultural space, and generated far more literature than the war against Italy’s Jewish population.

Because clerical leaders in Rome were seeking to build a new Catholic world in the aftermath of the Great War, Protestants embodied a special menace, and were seen as carriers of dangers like heresy, secularism, modernity, and Americanism—as potent threats to the Catholic precepts that were the true foundations of Italian civilization, values, and culture. The pope and cardinals framed the threat of evangelical Christianity as a peril not only to the Catholic Church but to the fascist government as well, recruiting some very powerful fascist officials to their cause.

This important book is the first full account of this dangerous alliance.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 21, 2021

"Wales, the Welsh and the Making of America"

New from the University of Wales Press: Wales, the Welsh and the Making of America by Vivienne Sanders.

About the book, from the publisher:
A systematic account of the contributions of Welsh immigrants to the United States.

This book is the first systematic attempt to both recount and evaluate the considerable, though undervalued, contributions of Welsh immigrants to the development of the United States. Vivienne Sanders recounts the lives and achievements of Welsh immigrants and their descendants within a narrative outline of American history that emphasizes the Welsh influence upon the colonists’ rejection of British rule, as well as upon the establishment, expansion, and industrialization of the new American nation.
Follow Vivienne Sanders on Twitter.

Born in Cardiff, Wales, Sanders writes on American history and is living in Porthcawl, in South Wales.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 20, 2021

"Pornography: The Politics of Legal Challenges"

New from Oxford University Press: Pornography: The Politics of Legal Challenges by Max Waltman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Pornography has long proven a polarizing and vexing subject in legal and feminist debates. Women's social movements have fought ferociously against pornography since the 1970s, emphasizing its contribution to violence against women. At least two to four of ten young men consume it three times or more per week. The pornography industry exploits poor populations, who are multiply and intersectionally disadvantaged based on gender, race, or other vulnerabilities. A thorough analytical review of empirical studies using complementing methods demonstrates that using pornography substantially contributes to consumers becoming more sexually aggressive, on average desensitizing them and contributing to a demand for more subordinating, aggressive, and degrading materials. Consumers are also often found wishing to imitate pornography with unwilling partners; many demand sex from prostituted people, who have few or no alternatives. While the supporting scientific evidence of harm is growing exponentially, the politics of legal challenges to pornography still constitutes an amalgam of some of the most intractable, thorny, and adversarial obstacles to change.

This book assesses American, Canadian, and Swedish legal challenges to the explosive spread of pornography within their significantly different democratic systems, and constructs a political and legal theory for effectively challenging the sex industry under law. The obstacles to this challenge are exposed as more ideological and political than strictly legal, although they often play out in the legal arena. Legal challenges to the harms are shown to be more effective under legal systems that promote equality and when the laws empower those most harmed, in contrast to state-enforced regulations (e.g., criminal obscenity laws). Drawing on feminist and intersectional theory, among others, this book argues that pornography is among the linchpins of sex inequality, contending that civil rights legislation and a civil society forum can empower those harmed with representatives who have more substantial incentives to address them.

This book explains why democracies fail to address the harms of pornography, and offers a political and legal theory for changing the status quo. These insights can be applied to other intractable problems associated with hierarchies, and will appeal profoundly to political theorists and those invested in civil and human rights.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 19, 2021

"Becoming Gods: Medical Training in Mexican Hospitals"

New from Rutgers University Press: Becoming Gods: Medical Training in Mexican Hospitals by Vania Smith-Oka.

About the book, from the publisher:
Through rich ethnographic narrative, Becoming Gods examines how a cohort of doctors-in-training in the Mexican city of Puebla learn to become doctors. Smith-Oka draws from compelling fieldwork, ethnography, and interviews with interns, residents, and doctors that tell the story of how medical trainees learn to wield new tools, language, and technology and how their white coat, stethoscope, and newfound technical, linguistic, and sensory skills lend them an authority that they cultivate with each practice, transforming their sense of self. Becoming Gods illustrates the messy, complex, and nuanced nature of medical training, where trainees not only have to acquire a monumental number of skills but do so against a backdrop of strict hospital hierarchy and a crumbling national medical system that deeply shape who they are.
Vania Smith-Oka is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. She is a cultural and medical anthropologist who specializes in the effect of institutions on the behavior and choices of marginalized populations, especially women.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

"Peculiar Places"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Peculiar Places: A Queer Crip History of White Rural Nonconformity by Ryan Lee Cartwright.

About the book, from the publisher:
The queer recluse, the shambling farmer, the clannish hill folk—white rural populations have long disturbed the American imagination, alternately revered as moral, healthy, and hardworking, and feared as antisocial or socially uncouth. In Peculiar Places, Ryan Lee Cartwright examines the deep archive of these contrary formations, mapping racialized queer and disability histories of white social nonconformity across the rural twentieth-century United States.

Sensationalized accounts of white rural communities’ aberrant sexualities, racial intermingling, gender transgressions, and anomalous bodies and minds, which proliferated from the turn of the century, created a national view of the perversity of white rural poverty for the American public. Cartwright contends that these accounts, extracted and estranged from their own ambivalent forum of community gossip, must be read in kind: through a racialized, materialist queercrip optic of the deeply familiar and mundane. Taking in popular science, documentary photography, news media, documentaries, and horror films, Peculiar Places orients itself at the intersections of disability studies, queer studies, and gender studies to illuminate a racialized landscape both profoundly ordinary and familiar.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

"Of Fear and Strangers"

New from Yale University Press: Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia by George Makari.

About the book, from the publisher:
Over the last few years, it has been impossible to ignore the steady resurgence of xenophobia. The European migrant crisis and immigration from Central America to the United States have placed Western advocates of globalization on the defensive, and a ‘New Xenophobia’ seems to have emerged out of nowhere.

In this fascinating study, George Makari traces the history of xenophobia from its origins to the present day. Often perceived as an ancient word for a timeless problem, ‘xenophobia’ was in fact only coined a century ago, tied to heated and formative Western debates over nationalism, globalization, race and immigration. From Richard Wright to Sigmund Freud, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, writers and thinkers have long grappled with this most dangerous of phobias. Drawing on their work, Makari demonstrates how we can better understand the problem that is so crucial to our troubled times.
Visit George Makari's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 15, 2021

"An Inky Business"

New from Reaktion Books: An Inky Business: A History of Newspapers from the English Civil Wars to the American Civil War by Matthew J. Shaw.

About the book, from the publisher:
An Inky Business is a book about the making and printing of news. It is a history of ink, paper, printing press, and type, and of those who made and read newspapers in Britain, continental Europe, and America from the British Civil Wars to the Battle of Gettysburg nearly two hundred years later. But it is also an account of what news was and how the idea of news became central to public life. Newspapers ranged from purveyors of high seriousness to carriers of scurrilous gossip. Indeed, our current obsession with “fake news” and the worrying revelations or hints about how money, power, and technology shapes and controls the press and the flows of what is believed to be genuine information have dark early-modern echoes.
Follow Matt Shaw on Twitter.

Matthew J. Shaw is the librarian of the Queen's College, University of Oxford, and formerly the lead curator of the Americas Collections at the British Library. He is the author of Time and the French Revolution: The Republican Calendar, 1789–Year XIV.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 14, 2021

"Just Get on the Pill"

New from the University of California Press: Just Get on the Pill: The Uneven Burden of Reproductive Politics by Krystale E. Littlejohn.

About the book, from the publisher:
Understanding the social history and urgent social implications of gendered compulsory birth control, an unbalanced and unjust approach to pregnancy prevention.

The average person concerned about becoming pregnant spends approximately thirty years trying to prevent conception. People largely do so alone using prescription birth control, a situation often taken for granted in the United States as natural and beneficial. In Just Get On the Pill, a keenly researched and incisive examination, Krystale Littlejohn investigates how birth control becomes a fundamentally unbalanced and gendered responsibility. She uncovers how parents, peers, partners, and providers draw on narratives of male and female birth control methods to socialize cisgender women into sex and ultimately into shouldering the burden for preventing pregnancy.

Littlejohn draws on extensive interviews to document this gendered compulsory birth control—a phenomenon in which people who give birth are held accountable for preventing and resolving pregnancies in gender-constrained ways. She shows how this gendered approach encroaches on reproductive autonomy and poses obstacles for preventing disease. While diverse cisgender women are the focus, Littlejohn shows that they are not the only ones harmed by this dynamic. Indeed, gendered approaches to birth control also negatively impact trans, intersex, and gender nonconforming people in overlooked ways. In tracing the divisive politics of pregnancy prevention, Littlejohn demonstrates that the gendered division of labor in birth control is not natural. It is unjust.
Visit Krystale E. Littlejohn's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 13, 2021

"The Italian Empire and the Great War"

New from Oxford University Press: The Italian Empire and the Great War by Vanda Wilcox.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Italian Empire and the Great War brings an imperial and colonial perspective to the Italian experience of the First World War. Italy's decision for war in 1915 built directly on Italian imperial ambitions from the late nineteenth century onwards, and its conquest of Libya in 1911–12. The Italian empire was conceived both as a system of overseas colonies under Italian sovereignty, and as an informal global empire of emigrants; both were mobilized to support the war in 1915–18. The war was designed to bring about 'a greater Italy' both literally and metaphorically.

In pursuit of global status, Italy fought a global war, sending troops to the Balkans, Russia, and the Middle East, though with limited results. Italy's newest colony, Libya, was also a theatre of the war effort, as the anti-colonial resistance there linked up with the Ottoman Empire, Germany, and Austria to undermine Italian rule. Italian race theories underpinned this expansionism: the book examines how Italian constructions of whiteness and racial superiority informed a colonial approach to military occupation in Europe as well as the conduct of its campaigns in Africa. After the war, Italy's failures at the Peace Conference meant that the 'mutilated victory' was an imperial as well as a national sentiment. Events in Paris are analysed alongside the military occupations in the Balkans and Asia Minor as well as efforts to resolve the conflicts in Libya, to assess the rhetoric and reality of Italian imperialism.
Visit Vanda Wilcox's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 12, 2021

"Governing the Dead"

New from Cornell University Press: Governing the Dead: Martyrs, Memorials, and Necrocitizenship in Modern China by Linh D. Vu.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Governing the Dead, Linh D. Vu explains how the Chinese Nationalist regime consolidated control by honoring its millions of war dead, allowing China to emerge rapidly from the wreckage of the first half of the twentieth century to become a powerful state, supported by strong nationalistic sentiment and institutional infrastructure.

The fall of the empire, internecine conflicts, foreign invasion, and war-related disasters claimed twenty to thirty million Chinese lives. Vu draws on government records, newspapers, and petition letters from mourning families to analyze how the Nationalist regime's commemoration of the dead and compensation of the bereaved actually fortified its central authority. By enshrining the victims of violence as national ancestors, the Republic of China connected citizenship to the idea of the nation, promoting loyalty to the "imagined community." The regime constructed China's first public military cemetery and hundreds of martyrs' shrines, collectively mourned millions of fallen soldiers and civilians, and disbursed millions of yuan to tens of thousands of widows and orphans. The regime thus exerted control over the living by creating the state apparatus necessary to manage the dead.

Although the Communist forces prevailed in 1949, the Nationalists had already laid the foundation for the modern nation-state through their governance of dead citizens. The Nationalist policies of glorifying and compensating the loyal dead in an age of catastrophic destruction left an important legacy: violence came to be celebrated rather than lamented.
--Marshal Zeringue