Wednesday, March 31, 2021

"Paper Trails"

New from Oxford University Press: Paper Trails: The US Post and the Making of the American West by Cameron Blevins.

About the book, from the publisher:
A groundbreaking history of how the US Post made the nineteenth-century American West.

There were five times as many post offices in the United States in 1899 than there are McDonald's restaurants today. During an era of supposedly limited federal government, the United States operated the most expansive national postal system in the world.

In this cutting-edge interpretation of the late nineteenth-century United States, Cameron Blevins argues that the US Post wove together two of the era's defining projects: western expansion and the growth of state power. Between the 1860s and the early 1900s, the western United States underwent a truly dramatic reorganization of people, land, capital, and resources. It had taken Anglo-Americans the better part of two hundred years to occupy the eastern half of the continent, yet they occupied the West within a single generation. As millions of settlers moved into the region, they relied on letters and newspapers, magazines and pamphlets, petitions and money orders to stay connected to the wider world.

Paper Trails maps the spread of the US Post using a dataset of more than 100,000 post offices, revealing a new picture of the federal government in the West. The western postal network bore little resemblance to the civil service bureaucracies typically associated with government institutions. Instead, the US Post grafted public mail service onto private businesses, contracting with stagecoach companies to carry the mail and paying local merchants to distribute letters from their stores. These arrangements allowed the US Post to rapidly spin out a vast and ephemeral web of postal infrastructure to thousands of distant places.

The postal network's sprawling geography and localized operations forces a reconsideration of the American state, its history, and the ways in which it exercised power.
Visit Cameron Blevins's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

"All Societies Die"

New from Cornell University Press: All Societies Die: How to Keep Hope Alive by Samuel Cohn.

About the book, from the publisher:
In All Societies Die, Samuel Cohn asks us to prepare for the inevitable. Our society is going to die. What are you going to do about it? But he also wants us to know that there's still reason for hope.

In an immersive and mesmerizing discussion Cohn considers what makes societies (throughout history) collapse. All Societies Die points us to the historical examples of the Byzantine empire, the collapse of Somalia, the rise of Middle Eastern terrorism, the rise of drug cartels in Latin America and the French Revolution to explain how societal decline has common features and themes. Cohn takes us on an easily digestible journey through history. While he unveils the past, his message to us about the present is searing.

Through his assessment of past—and current—societies, Cohn offers us a new way of looking at societal growth and decline. With a broad panorama of bloody stories, unexpected historical riches, crime waves, corruption, and disasters, he shows us that although our society will, inevitably, die at some point, there's still a lot we can do to make it better and live a little longer.

His quirky and inventive approach to an "end-of-the-world" scenario should be a warning. We're not there yet. Cohn concludes with a strategy of preserving and rebuilding so that we don't have to give a eulogy anytime soon.
Visit Samuel Cohn's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 29, 2021

"How Green Became Good"

New from the University of Chicago Press: How Green Became Good: Urbanized Nature and the Making of Cities and Citizens by Hillary Angelo.

About the book, from the publisher:
As projects like Manhattan’s High Line, Chicago’s 606, China’s eco-cities, and Ethiopia’s tree-planting efforts show, cities around the world are devoting serious resources to urban greening. Formerly neglected urban spaces and new high-end developments draw huge crowds thanks to the considerable efforts of city governments. But why are greening projects so widely taken up, and what good do they do? In How Green Became Good, Hillary Angelo uncovers the origins and meanings of the enduring appeal of urban green space, showing that city planners have long thought that creating green spaces would lead to social improvement. Turning to Germany’s Ruhr Valley (a region that, despite its ample open space, was “greened” with the addition of official parks and gardens), Angelo shows that greening is as much a social process as a physical one. She examines three moments in the Ruhr Valley's urban history that inspired the creation of new green spaces: industrialization in the late nineteenth century, postwar democratic ideals of the 1960s, and industrial decline and economic renewal in the early 1990s. Across these distinct historical moments, Angelo shows that the impulse to bring nature into urban life has persistently arisen as a response to a host of social changes, and reveals an enduring conviction that green space will transform us into ideal inhabitants of ideal cities. Ultimately, however, she finds that the creation of urban green space is more about how we imagine social life than about the good it imparts.
Visit Hillary Angelo's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 28, 2021

"The Democratic Sublime"

New from Oxford University Press: The Democratic Sublime: On Aesthetics and Popular Assembly by Jason Frank.

About the book, from the publisher:
The transition from royal to popular sovereignty during the age of democratic revolutions--from 1776 to 1848--entailed not only the reorganization of institutions of governance and norms of political legitimacy, but also a dramatic transformation in the iconography and symbolism of political power. The personal and external rule of the king, whose body was the physical locus of political authority, was replaced with the impersonal and immanent self-rule of the people, whose power could not be incontestably embodied. This posed representational difficulties that went beyond questions of institutionalization and law, extending into the aesthetic realm of visualization, composition, and form. How to make the people's sovereign will tangible to popular judgment was, and is, a crucial problem of democratic political aesthetics.

The Democratic Sublime offers an interdisciplinary exploration of how the revolutionary proliferation of popular assemblies--crowds, demonstrations, gatherings of the "people out of doors"--came to be central to the political aesthetics of democracy during the age of democratic revolutions. Jason Frank argues that popular assemblies allowed the people to manifest as a collective actor capable of enacting dramatic political reforms and change. Moreover, Frank asserts that popular assemblies became privileged sites of democratic representation as they claimed to support the voice of the people while also signaling the material plenitude beyond any single representational claim. Popular assemblies continue to retain this power, in part, because they embody that which escapes representational capture: they disrupt the representational space of appearance and draw their power from the ineffability and resistant materiality of the people's will. Engaging with a wide range of sources, from canonical political theorists (Rousseau, Burke, and Tocqueville) to the novels of Hugo, the visual culture of the barricades, and the memoirs of popular insurgents, The Democratic Sublime demonstrates how making the people's sovereign will tangible to popular judgment became a central dilemma of modern democracy, and how it remains so today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 27, 2021

"No Common Ground"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: No Common Ground: Confederate Monuments and the Ongoing Fight for Racial Justice by Karen L. Cox.

About the book, from the publisher:
When it comes to Confederate monuments, there is no common ground. Polarizing debates over their meaning have intensified into legislative maneuvering to preserve the statues, legal battles to remove them, and rowdy crowds taking matters into their own hands. These conflicts have raged for well over a century--but they've never been as intense as they are today.

In this eye-opening narrative of the efforts to raise, preserve, protest, and remove Confederate monuments, Karen L. Cox depicts what these statues meant to those who erected them and how a movement arose to force a reckoning. She lucidly shows the forces that drove white southerners to construct beacons of white supremacy, as well as the ways that antimonument sentiment, largely stifled during the Jim Crow era, returned with the civil rights movement and gathered momentum in the decades after the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Monument defenders responded with gerrymandering and "heritage" laws intended to block efforts to remove these statues, but hard as they worked to preserve the Lost Cause vision of southern history, civil rights activists, Black elected officials, and movements of ordinary people fought harder to take the story back. Timely, accessible, and essential, No Common Ground is the story of the seemingly invincible stone sentinels that are just beginning to fall from their pedestals.
Visit Karen L. Cox's website.

My Book, The Movie: Goat Castle.

The Page 99 Test: Goat Castle.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 26, 2021

"Race Brokers"

New from Oxford University Press: Race Brokers: Housing Markets and Segregation in 21st Century Urban America by Elizabeth Korver-Glenn.

About the book, from the publisher:
How is it that America's cities remain almost as segregated as they were fifty years ago? In Race Brokers, Elizabeth Korver-Glenn examines how housing market professionals--including housing developers, real estate agents, mortgage lenders, and appraisers--construct contemporary urban housing markets in ways that contribute to neighborhood inequality and racial segregation. Drawing on extensive ethnographic and interview data collected in Houston, Texas, Korver-Glenn shows how these professionals, especially those who are White, use racist tools to build a fundamentally unequal housing market and are even encouraged to apply racist ideas to market activity and interactions. Korver-Glenn further tracks how professionals broker racism across the entirety of the housing exchange process--from the home's construction, to real estate brokerage, mortgage lending, home appraisals, and the home sale closing. Race Brokers highlights the imperative to interrupt the racism that pervades housing market professionals' work, dismantle the racialized routines that underwrite such racism, and cultivate a truly fair housing market.
Visit Elizabeth Korver-Glenn's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 25, 2021

"Dear Palestine: A Social History of the 1948 War"

New from Stanford University Press: Dear Palestine: A Social History of the 1948 War by Shay Hazkani.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 1948, a war broke out that would result in Israeli independence and the erasure of Arab Palestine. Over twenty months, thousands of Jews and Arabs came from all over the world to join those already on the ground to fight in the ranks of the Israel Defense Forces and the Arab Liberation Army. With this book, the young men and women who made up these armies come to life through their letters home, writing about everything from daily life to nationalism, colonialism, race, and the character of their enemies. Shay Hazkani offers a new history of the 1948 War through these letters, focusing on the people caught up in the conflict and its transnational reverberations.

Dear Palestine also examines how the architects of the conflict worked to influence and indoctrinate key ideologies in these ordinary soldiers, by examining battle orders, pamphlets, army magazines, and radio broadcasts. Through two narratives—the official and unofficial, the propaganda and the personal letters—Dear Palestine reveals the fissures between sanctioned nationalism and individual identity. This book reminds us that everyday people's fear, bravery, arrogance, cruelty, lies, and exaggerations are as important in history as the preoccupations of the elites.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

"June Fourth"

New from Cambridge University Press: June Fourth: The Tiananmen Protests and Beijing Massacre of 1989 by Jeremy Brown.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Tiananmen protests and Beijing massacre of 1989 were a major turning point in recent Chinese history. In this new analysis of 1989, Jeremy Brown tells the vivid stories of participants and victims, exploring the nationwide scope of the democracy movement and the brutal crackdown that crushed it. At each critical juncture in the spring of 1989, demonstrators and decision makers agonized over difficult choices and saw how events could have unfolded differently. The alternative paths that participants imagined confirm that bloodshed was neither inevitable nor necessary. Using a wide range of previously untapped sources and examining how ordinary citizens throughout China experienced the crackdown after the massacre, this ambitious social history sheds fresh light on events that continue to reverberate in China to this day.
Visit Jeremy Brown's website.

The Page 99 Test: City Versus Countryside in Mao's China.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

"Innovation in Real Places"

New from Oxford University Press: Innovation in Real Places: Strategies for Prosperity in an Unforgiving World by Dan Breznitz.

About the book, from the publisher:
A challenge to prevailing ideas about innovation and a guide to identifying the best growth strategy for your community.

Across the world, cities and regions have wasted trillions of dollars on blindly copying the Silicon Valley model of growth creation. Since the early years of the information age, we've been told that economic growth derives from harnessing technological innovation. To do this, places must create good education systems, partner with local research universities, and attract innovative hi-tech firms. We have lived with this system for decades, and the result is clear: a small number of regions and cities at the top of the high-tech industry but many more fighting a losing battle to retain economic dynamism.

But are there other models that don't rely on a flourishing high-tech industry? In Innovation in Real Places, Dan Breznitz argues that there are. The purveyors of the dominant ideas on innovation have a feeble understanding of the big picture on global production and innovation. They conflate innovation with invention and suffer from techno-fetishism. In their devotion to start-ups, they refuse to admit that the real obstacle to growth for most cities is the overwhelming power of the real hubs, which siphon up vast amounts of talent and money. Communities waste time, money, and energy pursuing this road to nowhere. Breznitz proposes that communities instead focus on where they fit in the four stages in the global production process. Some are at the highest end, and that is where the Clevelands, Sheffields, and Baltimores are being pushed toward. But that is bad advice. Success lies in understanding the changed structure of the global system of production and then using those insights to enable communities to recognize their own advantages, which in turn allows to them to foster surprising forms of specialized innovation. As he stresses, all localities have certain advantages relative to at least one stage of the global production process, and the trick is in recognizing it. Leaders might think the answer lies in high-tech or high-end manufacturing, but more often than not, they're wrong. Innovation in Real Places is an essential corrective to a mythology of innovation and growth that too many places have bought into in recent years. Best of all, it has the potential to prod local leaders into pursuing realistic and regionally appropriate models for growth and innovation.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 22, 2021

"War's Logic"

New from Cambridge University Press: War's Logic: Strategic Thought and the American Way of War by Antulio J. Echevarria II.

About the book, from the publisher:
Antulio J. Echevarria II reveals how successive generations of American strategic theorists have thought about war. Analyzing the work of Alfred Thayer Mahan, Billy Mitchell, Bernard Brodie, Robert Osgood, Thomas Schelling, Herman Kahn, Henry Eccles, Joseph Wiley, Harry Summers, John Boyd, William Lind, and John Warden, he uncovers the logic that underpinned each theorist's critical concepts, core principles, and basic assumptions about the nature and character of war. In so doing, he identifies four paradigms of war's nature - traditional, modern, political, and materialist - that have shaped American strategic thought. If war's logic is political, as Carl von Clausewitz said, then so too is thinking about war.
Antulio J. Echevarria II is Professor at the US Army War College and former Elihu Root Chair of Military Studies. He is the author of Military Strategy: A Very Short Introduction (2017); Reconsidering the American Way of War (2014); Clausewitz and Contemporary War (2007); Imagining Future War (2007); and After Clausewitz (2001).

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 21, 2021

"The Ubiquitous Presidency"

New from Oxford University Press: The Ubiquitous Presidency: Presidential Communication and Digital Democracy in Tumultuous Times by Joshua M. Scacco and Kevin Coe.

About the book, from the publisher:
American democracy is in a period of striking tumult. The clash of a rapidly changing socio-technological environment and the traditional presidency has led to an upheaval in the scope and standards of executive leadership. Yet research on the presidency, although abundant, has been slow to adjust to changing realities associated with digital technologies, diverse audiences, and new elite practices. Meanwhile, journalists and the public continue to encounter and shape emerging presidential efforts in deeply consequential ways.

Joshua Scacco and Kevin Coe bring needed insight to this complex situation by offering the first comprehensive framework for understanding contemporary presidential communication in relation to the current socio-technological environment. They call this framework the "ubiquitous presidency." Scacco and Coe argue that presidents harness new opportunities in the media environment to create a nearly constant and highly visible presence in political and nonpolitical arenas. They do this by trying to achieve longstanding presidential goals, namely visibility, adaptation, and control. However, in an environment where accessibility, personalization, and pluralism are omnipresent considerations, the strategies presidents use to achieve these goals are very different from what we once knew.

Using this novel framework as a conceptual anchor, The Ubiquitous Presidency undertakes one of the most expansive analyses of presidential communication to date. Scacco and Coe employ a wide variety of approaches--ranging from surveys and survey-experiments, to large-scale automated content and network analyses, to qualitative textual analysis--to uncover new aspects of the intricate relationship between the president, news media, and the public. Focusing on the presidency since Ronald Reagan, and devoting particular attention to the cases of Barack Obama and Donald Trump, the book uncovers remarkable shifts in communication that test the institution of the presidency and, consequently, democratic governance itself.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 20, 2021

"Governing for Revolution"

New from Cambridge University Press: Governing for Revolution: Social Transformation in Civil War by Megan A. Stewart.

About the book, from the publisher:
Prevailing views suggest rebels govern to enhance their organizational capacity, but this book demonstrates that some rebels undertake costly governance projects that can imperil their cadres during war. The origins for this choice began with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the Chinese Civil War. The CCP knowingly introduced challenging governance projects, but nevertheless propagated its strategy globally, creating a behavioural model readily available to later rebels. The likelihood of whether later rebels' will imitate this model is determined by the compatibility between their goals and the CCP's objectives; only rebels that share the CCP's revolutionary goals decide to mimic the CCP's governance fully. Over time, ideational and material pressures further encouraged (and occasionally rewarded) revolutionary rebels' conformity to the CCP's template. Using archival data from six countries, primary rebel sources, fieldwork and quantitative analysis, Governing for Revolution underscores the mimicry of and ultimate convergence in revolutionary rebels' governance, that persists even today, despite vast differences in ideology.
Visit Megan A. Stewart's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 19, 2021

"Margaret Mead"

New from Oxford University Press: Margaret Mead: A Twentieth-Century Faith by Elesha J. Coffman.

About the book, from the publisher:
For 50 years, Margaret Mead told Americans how cultures worked, and Americans listened. While serving as a curator at the American Museum of Natural History and as a professor of anthropology at Columbia University, she published dozens of books and hundreds of articles, scholarly and popular, on topics ranging from adolescence to atomic energy, Polynesian kinship networks to kindergarten, national morale to marijuana. At her death in 1978, she was the most famous anthropologist in the world and one of the best-known women in America. She had amply achieved her goal, as she described it to an interviewer in 1975, "To have lived long enough to be of some use."

As befits her prominence, Mead has had many biographers, but there is a curious hole at the center of these accounts: Mead's faith. Margaret Mead: A Twentieth-Century Faith introduces a side of its subject that few people know. It re-narrates her life and reinterprets her work, highlighting religious concerns. Following Mead's lead, it ranges across areas that are typically kept academically distinct: anthropology, gender studies, intellectual history, church history, and theology. It is a portrait of a mind at work, pursuing a unique vision of the good of the world.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 18, 2021

"Delicious: The Evolution of Flavor and How It Made Us Human"

New from Princeton University Press: Delicious: The Evolution of Flavor and How It Made Us Human by Rob Dunn and Monica Sanchez.

About the book, from the publisher:
Nature, it has been said, invites us to eat by appetite and rewards by flavor. But what exactly are flavors? Why are some so pleasing while others are not? Delicious is a supremely entertaining foray into the heart of such questions.

With generous helpings of warmth and wit, Rob Dunn and Monica Sanchez offer bold new perspectives on why food is enjoyable and how the pursuit of delicious flavors has guided the course of human history. They consider the role that flavor may have played in the invention of the first tools, the extinction of giant mammals, the evolution of the world’s most delicious and fatty fruits, the creation of beer, and our own sociality. Along the way, you will learn about the taste receptors you didn’t even know you had, the best way to ferment a mastodon, the relationship between Paleolithic art and cheese, and much more.

Blending irresistible storytelling with the latest science, Delicious is a deep history of flavor that will transform the way you think about human evolution and the gustatory pleasures of the foods we eat.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

"Conservative Liberalism, Ordo-liberalism, and the State"

New from Oxford University Press: Conservative Liberalism, Ordo-liberalism, and the State: Disciplining Democracy and the Market by Kenneth Dyson.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book uses extensive original archival and elite interview research to examine the attempt to rejuvenate liberalism as a means of disciplining democracy and the market through a new rule-based economic and political order. This rebirth took the form of conservative liberalism and, in its most developed form, Ordo-liberalism. It occurred against the historical background of the great transformational crisis of liberalism in the first part of the twentieth century. Conservative liberalism evolved as a cross-national phenomenon. It included such eminent and cultured liberal economists as James Buchanan, Frank Knight, Henry Simons, Ralph Hawtrey, Jacques Rueff, Luigi Einaudi, Walter Eucken, Friedrich Hayek, Alfred Müller-Armack, Wilhelm Röpke, Alexander Rüstow, and Paul van Zeeland, as well as leading lawyers like Louis Brandeis, Franz Böhm, and Maurice Hauriou. Conservative liberals also played a formative role in establishing new international networks, notably the Mont Pèlerin Society.

The book investigates the rich intellectual inheritance of this variant of new liberalism from aristocratic liberalism, ethical philosophy, and religious thought. It also locates the social basis of conservative liberalism and Ordo-liberalism in the cultivated bourgeois intelligentsia. The book goes on to examine the attempts to embed this new disciplinary form of liberalism in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States, and to consider the determinants of its varying significance across space and over time. It concludes by assessing the historical significance and contemporary relevance of conservative liberalism and Ordo-liberalism as liberalism confronts a new transformational crisis at the beginning of the new millennium. Is their promise of disciplining democracy and the market a hollow one?
The Page 99 Test: States, Debt, and Power.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

"Bird versus Bulldozer"

New from Yale University Press: Bird versus Bulldozer: A Quarter-Century Conservation Battle in a Biodiversity Hotspot by Audrey L. Mayer.

About the book, from the publisher:
An examination of the struggle to conserve biodiversity in urban regions, told through the story of the threatened coastal California gnatcatcher

The story of the rare coastal California gnatcatcher is a parable for understanding the larger ongoing struggle to conserve biodiversity in regions confronted with intensifying urban development. Because this gnatcatcher depends on vanishing coastal sage scrub in Southern California, it has been regarded as a flagship species for biodiversity protection since the early 1990s. But the uncertainty of the gnatcatcher’s taxonomic classification—and whether it can be counted as a “listable unit” under the Endangered Species Act—has provoked contentious debate among activists, scientists, urban developers, and policy makers. Synthesizing insights from ecology, environmental history, public policy analysis, and urban planning as she tracks these debates over the course of the past twenty-five years, Audrey L. Mayer presents an ultimately optimistic take on the importance of much-neglected regional conservation planning strategies to create sustainable urban landscapes that benefit humans and wildlife alike.
Audrey L. Mayer is a professor of ecology and environmental policy in the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 15, 2021

"Spiritual Entrepreneurs"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Spiritual Entrepreneurs: Florida's Faith-Based Prisons and the American Carceral State by Brad Stoddard.

About the book, from the publisher:
The overall rate of incarceration in the United States has been on the rise since 1970s, skyrocketing during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, and recently reaching unprecedented highs. Looking for innovative solutions to the crises produced by gigantic prison populations, Florida's Department of Corrections claims to have found a partial remedy in the form of faith and character-based correctional institutions (FCBIs). While claiming to be open to all religious traditions, FCBIs are almost always run by Protestants situated within the politics of the Christian right. The religious programming is typically run by the incarcerated along with volunteers from outside the prison. Stoddard takes the reader deep inside FCBIs, analyzing the subtle meanings and difficult choices with which the incarcerated, prison administrators, staff, and chaplains grapple every day. Drawing on extensive ethnographic research and historical analysis, Brad Stoddard argues that FCBIs build on and demonstrate the compatibility of conservative Christian politics and neoliberal economics.

Even without authoritative data on whether FCBIs are assisting rehabilitation and reducing recidivism rates, similar programs are appearing across the nation—only Iowa has declared them illegal under non-establishment-of-religion statutes. Exposing the intricate connections among incarceration, neoliberal economics, and religious freedom, Stoddard makes a timely contribution to debates about religion’s role in American society.
Visit Brad Stoddard's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 14, 2021

"Guns, Guerillas, and the Great Leader"

New from Stanford University Press: Guns, Guerillas, and the Great Leader: North Korea and the Third World by Benjamin R. Young.

About the book, from the publisher:
Far from always having been an isolated nation and a pariah state in the international community, North Korea exercised significant influence among Third World nations during the Cold War era. With one foot in the socialist Second World and the other in the anticolonial Third World, North Korea occupied a unique position as both a postcolonial nation and a Soviet client state, and sent advisors to assist African liberation movements, trained anti-imperialist guerilla fighters, and completed building projects in developing countries. State-run media coverage of events in the Third World shaped the worldview of many North Koreans and helped them imagine a unified anti-imperialist front that stretched from the boulevards of Pyongyang to the streets of the Gaza Strip and the beaches of Cuba.

This book tells the story of North Korea's transformation in the Third World from model developmental state to reckless terrorist nation, and how Pyongyang's actions, both in the Third World and on the Korean peninsula, ultimately backfired against the Kim family regime's foreign policy goals. Based on multinational and multi-archival research, this book examines the intersection of North Korea's domestic and foreign policies and the ways in which North Korea's developmental model appealed to the decolonizing world.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 13, 2021

"Drunk on Genocide"

New from Cornell University Press: Drunk on Genocide: Alcohol and Mass Murder in Nazi Germany by Edward B. Westermann.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Drunk on Genocide, Edward B. Westermann reveals how, over the course of the Third Reich, scenes involving alcohol consumption and revelry among the SS and police became a routine part of rituals of humiliation in the camps, ghettos, and killing fields of Eastern Europe.

Westermann draws on a vast range of newly unearthed material to explore how alcohol consumption served as a literal and metaphorical lubricant for mass murder. It facilitated "performative masculinity," expressly linked to physical or sexual violence. Such inebriated exhibitions extended from meetings of top Nazi officials to the rank and file, celebrating at the grave sites of their victims. Westermann argues that, contrary to the common misconception of the SS and police as stone-cold killers, they were, in fact, intoxicated with the act of murder itself.

Drunk on Genocide highlights the intersections of masculinity, drinking ritual, sexual violence, and mass murder to expose the role of alcohol and celebratory ritual in the Nazi genocide of European Jews. Its surprising and disturbing findings offer a new perspective on the mindset, motivation, and mentality of killers as they prepared for, and participated in, mass extermination.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 12, 2021

"The Compleat Victory"

New from Oxford University Press: The Compleat Victory: Saratoga and the American Revolution by Kevin J. Weddle.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the late summer and fall of 1777, after two years of indecisive fighting on both sides, the outcome of the American War of Independence hung in the balance. Having successfully expelled the Americans from Canada in 1776, the British were determined to end the rebellion the following year and devised what they believed a war-winning strategy, sending General John Burgoyne south to rout the Americans and take Albany. When British forces captured Fort Ticonderoga with unexpected ease in July of 1777, it looked as if it was a matter of time before they would break the rebellion in the North. Less than three and a half months later, however, a combination of the Continental Army and Militia forces, commanded by Major General Horatio Gates and inspired by the heroics of Benedict Arnold, forced Burgoyne to surrender his entire army. The American victory stunned the world and changed the course of the war.

Kevin J. Weddle offers the most authoritative history of the Battle of Saratoga to date, explaining with verve and clarity why events unfolded the way they did. In the end, British plans were undone by a combination of distance, geography, logistics, and an underestimation of American leadership and fighting ability. Taking Ticonderoga had misled Burgoyne and his army into thinking victory was assured. Saratoga, which began as a British foraging expedition, turned into a rout. The outcome forced the British to rethink their strategy, inflamed public opinion in England against the war, boosted Patriot morale, and, perhaps most critical of all, led directly to the Franco-American alliance. Weddle unravels the web of contingencies and the play of personalities that ultimately led to what one American general called "the Compleat Victory."
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 11, 2021

"Palestine Is Throwing a Party and the Whole World Is Invited"

New from Duke University Press: Palestine Is Throwing a Party and the Whole World Is Invited: Capital and State Building in the West Bank by Kareem Rabie.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 2008, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad invited international investors to the first-ever Palestine Investment Conference, which was designed to jump-start the process of integrating Palestine into the global economy. As Fayyad described the conference, Palestine is “throwing a party, and the whole world is invited.” In this book Kareem Rabie examines how the conference and Fayyad's rhetoric represented a wider shift in economic and political practice in ways that oriented state-scale Palestinian politics toward neoliberal globalization rather than a diplomatic two-state solution. Rabie demonstrates that private firms, international aid organizations, and the Palestinian government in the West Bank focused on large-scale private housing development in an effort toward state-scale economic stability and market building. This approach reflected the belief that a thriving private economy would lead to a free and functioning Palestinian state. Yet, as Rabie contends, these investment-based policies have maintained the status quo of occupation and Palestine's subordinate and suspended political and economic relationship with Israel.
Visit Kareem Rabie's website.

--Marhsal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 10, 2021


New from Yale University Press: Stronger: Adapting America’s China Strategy in an Age of Competitive Interdependence by Ryan Hass.

About the book, from the publisher:
An examination of the U.S.–China relationship that charts a new path for America focusing on its existing advantages

Ryan Hass charts a path forward in America’s relationship and rivalry with China rooted in the relative advantages America already possesses. Hass argues that while competition will remain the defining trait of the relationship, both countries will continue to be impacted—for good or ill—by their capacity to coordinate on common challenges that neither can solve on its own, such as pandemic disease, global economic recession, climate change, and nuclear nonproliferation.

Hass makes the case that the United States will have greater success in outpacing China economically and outshining it in questions of governance if it focuses more on improving its own condition at home than on trying to impede Chinese initiatives. He argues that the task at hand is not to stand in China’s way and turn a rising power into an enemy in the process but to renew America’s advantages in its competition with China.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

"The Cancer Problem"

New from Oxford University Press: The Cancer Problem: Malignancy in Nineteenth-Century Britain by Agnes Arnold-Forster.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Cancer Problem offers the first medical, cultural, and social history of cancer in nineteenth-century Britain. It begins by looking at a community of doctors and patients who lived and worked in the streets surrounding the Middlesex Hospital in London. It follows in their footsteps as they walked the labyrinthine lanes and passages that branched off Tottenham Court Road; then, through seven chapters, its focus expands to successively include the rivers, lakes, and forests of England, the mountains, poverty, and hunger of the four nations of the British Isles, the reluctant and resistant inhabitants of the British Empire, and the networks of scientists and doctors spread across Europe and North America.

The Cancer Problem: Malignancy in Nineteenth-Century Britain argues that it was in the nineteenth century that cancer acquired the unique emotional, symbolic, and politicized status it maintains today. Through an interrogation of the construction, deployment, and emotional consequences of the disease's incurability, this book reframes our conceptualization of the relationship between medicine and modern life and reshapes our understanding of chronic and incurable maladies, both past and present.
Visit Agnes Arnold-Forster's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 8, 2021

"A Detroit Story"

New from the University of California Press: A Detroit Story: Urban Decline and the Rise of Property Informality by Claire W. Herbert.

About the book, from the publisher:
Bringing to the fore a wealth of original research, A Detroit Story examines how the informal reclamation of abandoned property has been shaping Detroit for decades. Claire Herbert lived in the city for almost five years to get a ground-view sense of how this process molds urban areas. She participated in community meetings and tax foreclosure protests, interviewed various groups, followed scrappers through abandoned buildings, and visited squatted houses and gardens. Herbert found that new residents with more privilege often have their back-to-the-earth practices formalized by local policies, whereas longtime, more disempowered residents, usually representing communities of color, have their practices labeled as illegal and illegitimate. She teases out how these divergent treatments reproduce long-standing inequalities in race, class, and property ownership.
Claire Herbert is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Oregon.

Visit Claire W. Herbert's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 7, 2021

"Resisting Independence"

New from Cornell University Press: Resisting Independence: Popular Loyalism in the Revolutionary British Atlantic by Brad A. Jones.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Resisting Independence, Brad A. Jones maps the loyal British Atlantic's reaction to the American Revolution. Through close study of four important British Atlantic port cities—New York City; Kingston, Jamaica; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Glasgow, Scotland—Jones argues that the revolution helped trigger a new understanding of loyalty to the Crown and empire. This compelling account reimagines Loyalism as a shared transatlantic ideology, no less committed to ideas of liberty and freedom than the American cause and not limited to the inhabitants of the thirteen American colonies.

Jones reminds readers that the American Revolution was as much a story of loyalty as it was of rebellion. Loyal Britons faced a daunting task—to refute an American Patriot cause that sought to dismantle their nation's claim to a free and prosperous Protestant empire. For the inhabitants of these four cities, rejecting American independence thus required a rethinking of the beliefs and ideals that framed their loyalty to the Crown and previously drew together Britain's vast Atlantic empire.

Resisting Independence describes the formation and spread of this new transatlantic ideology of Loyalism. Loyal subjects in North America and across the Atlantic viewed the American Revolution as a dangerous and violent social rebellion and emerged from twenty years of conflict more devoted to a balanced, representative British monarchy and, crucially, more determined to defend their rights as British subjects. In the closing years of the eighteenth century, as their former countrymen struggled to build a new nation, these loyal Britons remained convinced of the strength and resilience of their nation and empire and their place within it.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 6, 2021

"Policing Iraq"

New from the University of California Press: Policing Iraq: Legitimacy, Democracy, and Empire in a Developing State by Jesse Wozniak.

About the book, from the publisher:
Policing Iraq chronicles the efforts of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq to rebuild their police force and criminal justice system in the wake of the US invasion. Jesse S. G. Wozniak conducted ethnographic research during multiple stays in Iraqi Kurdistan, observing such signpost moments as the Arab Spring, the official withdrawal of coalition forces, the rise of the Islamic State, and the return of US forces. By investigating the day-to-day reality of reconstructing a police force during active hostilities, Wozniak demonstrates how police are integral to the modern state’s ability to effectively rule and how the failure to recognize this directly contributed to the destabilization of Iraq and the rise of the Islamic State. The reconstruction process ignored established practices and scientific knowledge, instead opting to create a facade of legitimacy masking a police force characterized by low pay, poor recruits, and a training regimen wholly unsuited to a constitutional democracy. Ultimately, Wozniak argues, the United States never intended to build a democratic state but rather to develop a dependent client to serve its neoimperial interests.
Visit Jesse Wozniak's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 5, 2021

"The Walls Within"

New from Princeton University Press: The Walls Within: The Politics of Immigration in Modern America by Sarah Coleman.

About the book, from the publisher:
The 1965 Hart-Celler Act transformed the American immigration system by abolishing national quotas in favor of a seemingly egalitarian approach. But subsequent demographic shifts resulted in a backlash over the social contract and the rights of citizens versus noncitizens. In The Walls Within, Sarah Coleman explores those political clashes, focusing not on attempts to stop immigration at the border, but on efforts to limit immigrants’ rights within the United States through domestic policy. Drawing on new materials from the Carter, Reagan, and Clinton administrations, and immigration and civil rights organizations, Coleman exposes how the politics of immigration control has undermined the idea of citizenship for all.

Coleman shows that immigration politics was not just about building or tearing down walls, but about employer sanctions, access to schools, welfare, and the role of local authorities in implementing policies. In the years after 1965, a rising restrictionist movement sought to marginalize immigrants in realms like public education and the labor market. Yet throughout the 1970s and 1980s, restrictionists faced countervailing forces committed to an expansive notion of immigrants’ rights. In the 1990s, with national politics gridlocked, anti-immigrant groups turned to statehouses to enact their agenda. Achieving strength at the local level, conservatives supporting immigration restriction actually acquired more influence under the Clinton presidency than even during the so-called Reagan revolution, resulting in dire consequences for millions of immigrants.

Revealing the roots behind much of today’s nativist sentiment, The Walls Within examines debates about who is entitled to the American dream, and how such dreams can be subverted for those already calling the country home.
Visit Sarah Coleman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 4, 2021

"Learning to Love"

New from Rutgers University Press: Learning to Love: Arranged Marriages and the British Indian Diaspora by Raksha Pande.

About the book, from the publisher:
Learning to Love moves beyond the media and policy stereotypes that conflate arranged marriages with forced marriages. Using in-depth interviews and participant observations, this book assembles a rich and diverse array of everyday marriage narratives and trajectories and highlights how considerations of romantic love are woven into traditional arranged marriage practices. It shows that far from being a homogeneous tradition, arranged marriages involve a variety of different matchmaking practices where each family tailors its own cut-and-paste version of British-Indian arranged marriages to suit modern identities and ambitions. Pande argues that instead of being wedded to traditions, people in the British-Indian diaspora have skillfully adapted and negotiated arranged marriage cultural norms to carve out an identity narrative that portrays them as "modern and progressive migrants"–ones who are changing with the times and cultivating transnational forms of belonging.
Raksha Pande is a lecturer in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology at Newcastle University in the UK.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

"A Story of Us"

New from Oxford University Press: A Story of Us: A New Look at Human Evolution by Lesley Newson and Peter Richerson.

About the book, from the publisher:
It's time for a story of human evolution that goes beyond describing "ape-men" and talks about what women and children were doing.

In a few decades, a torrent of new evidence and ideas about human evolution has allowed scientists to piece together a more detailed understanding of what went on thousands and even millions of years ago. We now know much more about the problems our ancestors faced, the solutions they found, and the trade-offs they made. The drama of their experiences led to the humans we are today: an animal that relies on a complex culture. We are a species that can — and does — rapidly evolve cultural solutions as we face new problems, but the intricacies of our cultures mean that this often creates new challenges.

Our species' unique capacity for culture began to evolve millions of years ago, but it only really took off in the last few hundred thousand years. This capacity allowed our ancestors to survive and raise their difficult children during times of extreme climate chaos. Understanding how this has evolved can help us understand the cultural change and diversity that we experience today.

Lesley Newson and Peter Richerson, a husband-and-wife team based at the University of California, Davis, began their careers with training in biology. The two have spent years — together and individually — researching and collaborating with scholars from a wide range of disciplines to produce a deep history of humankind. In A Story of Us, they present this rich narrative and explain how the evolution of our genes relates to the evolution of our cultures. Newson and Richerson take readers through seven stages of human evolution, beginning seven million years ago with the apes that were the ancestors of humans and today's chimps and bonobos. The story ends in the present day and offers a glimpse into the future.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

"The Spirit of French Capitalism"

New from Stanford University Press: The Spirit of French Capitalism: Economic Theology in the Age of Enlightenment by Charly Coleman.

About the book, from the publisher:
How did the economy become bound up with faith in infinite wealth creation and obsessive consumption? Drawing on the economic writings of eighteenth-century French theologians, historian Charly Coleman uncovers the surprising influence of the Catholic Church on the development of capitalism. Even during the Enlightenment, a sense of the miraculous did not wither under the cold light of calculation. Scarcity, long regarded as the inescapable fate of a fallen world, gradually gave way to a new belief in heavenly as well as worldly affluence.

Animating this spiritual imperative of the French economy was a distinctly Catholic ethic that—in contrast to Weber's famous "Protestant ethic"—privileged the marvelous over the mundane, consumption over production, and the pleasures of enjoyment over the rigors of delayed gratification. By viewing money, luxury, and debt through the lens of sacramental theory, Coleman demonstrates that the modern economy casts far beyond rational action and disenchanted designs, and in ways that we have yet to apprehend fully.
Charly Coleman is Associate Professor of History at Columbia University. He is the author of The Virtues of Abandon: An Anti-Individualist History of the French Enlightenment (2014), which was awarded the 2016 Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 1, 2021

"The Divine Institution"

New from Rutgers University Press: The Divine Institution: White Evangelicalism's Politics of the Family by Sophie Bjork-James.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Divine Institution provides an account of how a theology of the family came to dominate a white evangelical tradition in the post-civil rights movement United States, providing a theological corollary to Religious Right politics. This tradition inherently enforces racial inequality in that it draws moral, religious, and political attention away from problems of racial and economic structural oppression, explaining all social problems as a failure of the individual to achieve the strong gender and sexual identities that ground the nuclear family. The consequences of this theology are both personal suffering for individuals who cannot measure up to prescribed gender and sexual roles, and political support for conservative government policies. Exposure to experiences that undermine the idea that an emphasis on the family is the solution to all social problems is causing a younger generation of white evangelicals to shift away from this narrow theological emphasis and toward a more social justice-oriented theology. The material and political effects of this shift remain to be seen.
Sophie Bjork-James is an assistant professor in the anthropology department at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She is the coeditor of Beyond Populism: Angry Politics and the Twilight of Neoliberalism.

--Marshal Zeringue