Monday, February 28, 2022

"A Blue New Deal"

New from Yale University Press: A Blue New Deal: Why We Need a New Politics for the Ocean by Chris Armstrong.

About the book, from the publisher:
An urgent account of the state of our oceans today—and what we must do to protect them

The ocean sustains life on our planet, from absorbing carbon to regulating temperatures, and, as we exhaust the resources to be found on land, it is becoming central to the global market. But today we are facing two urgent challenges at sea: massive environmental destruction, and spiraling inequality in the ocean economy.

Chris Armstrong reveals how existing governing institutions are failing to respond to the most pressing problems of our time, arguing that we must do better. Armstrong examines these crises—from the fate of people whose lands will be submerged by sea level rise, to the exploitation of people working in fishing, to the rights of marine animals—and makes the case for a powerful World Ocean Authority capable of tackling them. A Blue New Deal presents a radical manifesto for putting equality, democracy, and sustainability at the heart of ocean politics.
Visit Chris Armstrong's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 27, 2022


New from Vanderbilt University Press: Unmasked: COVID, Community, and the Case of Okoboji by Emily Mendenhall.

About the book, from the publisher:
Unmasked is the story of what happened in Okoboji, a small Iowan tourist town, when a collective turn from the coronavirus to the economy occurred in the COVID summer of 2020. State political failures, local negotiations among political and public health leaders, and community (dis)belief about the virus resulted in Okoboji being declared a hotspot just before the Independence Day weekend, when an influx of half a million people visit the town.

The story is both personal and political. Author Emily Mendenhall, an anthropologist at Georgetown University, grew up in Okoboji, and her family still lives there. As the events unfolded, Mendenhall was in Okoboji, where she spoke formally with over 100 people and observed a community that rejected public health guidance, revealing deep-seated mistrust in outsiders and strong commitments to local thinking. Unmasked is a fascinating and heartbreaking account of where people put their trust, and how isolationist popular beliefs can be in America's small communities.
Visit Emily Mendenhall's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 26, 2022

"Ginseng Diggers"

New from the University Press of Kentucky: Ginseng Diggers: A History of Root and Herb Gathering in Appalachia by Luke Manget.

About the book, from the publisher:
The harvesting of wild American ginseng (panax quinquefolium), the gnarled, aromatic herb known for its therapeutic and healing properties, is deeply established in North America and has played an especially vital role in the southern and central Appalachian Mountains. Traded through a trans-Pacific network that connected the region to East Asian markets, ginseng was but one of several medicinal Appalachian plants that entered international webs of exchange. As the production of patent medicines and botanical pharmaceutical products escalated in the mid- to late-nineteenth century, southern Appalachia emerged as the United States' most prolific supplier of many species of medicinal plants. The region achieved this distinction because of its biodiversity and the persistence of certain common rights that guaranteed widespread access to the forested mountainsides, regardless of who owned the land.

Following the Civil War, root digging and herb gathering became one of the most important ways landless families and small farmers earned income from the forest commons. This boom influenced class relations, gender roles, forest use, and outside perceptions of Appalachia, and began a widespread renegotiation of common rights that eventually curtailed access to ginseng and other plants.

Based on extensive research into the business records of mountain entrepreneurs, country stores, and pharmaceutical companies, Ginseng Diggers: A History of Root and Herb Gathering in Appalachia is the first book to unearth the unique relationship between the Appalachian region and the global trade in medicinal plants. Historian Luke Manget expands our understanding of the gathering commons by exploring how and why Appalachia became the nation's premier purveyor of botanical drugs in the late-nineteenth century and how the trade influenced the way residents of the region interacted with each other and the forests around them.
Visit Luke Manget's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 25, 2022

"Tyranny from Plato to Trump"

Coming soon from Rowman & Littlefield: Tyranny from Plato to Trump: Fools, Sycophants, and Citizens by Andrew Fiala.

About the book, from the publisher:
Power grabs, partisan stand-offs, propaganda, and riots make for tantalizing fiction, but what do we do when that drama becomes a reality all around us? For a country founded as an escape from British tyranny, the United States seems to have devolved into a land where tyrants rise to power, sycophants blindly follow, and the entire nation suffers.

As ancient Greek philosophers warned us, chaotic tragedy unfolds in the absence of reason, and the only cure is a return to wisdom and virtue. America’s founding fathers knew this lesson all too well and dreamed of an enlightened citizenry guided by better-than-ideological dictators.

Using contemporary events to illuminate universal human weaknesses, Andrew Fiala charts the perennial history of tyrannical takeovers and the masses who support them and ultimately suffer under their rule. Ultimately, Fiala also points to a solution. Knowing the cyclical nature of tyranny, we can build safeguards against our worst inclinations and keep alive the freedoms our founding fathers envisioned for this nation.
Visit Andrew Fiala's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 24, 2022

"Saving Animals, Saving Ourselves"

New from Oxford University Press: Saving Animals, Saving Ourselves: Why Animals Matter for Pandemics, Climate Change, and other Catastrophes by Jeff Sebo.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 2020, COVID-19, the Australia bushfires, and other global threats served as vivid reminders that human and nonhuman fates are increasingly linked. Human use of nonhuman animals contributes to pandemics, climate change, and other global threats which, in turn, contribute to biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and nonhuman suffering.

Jeff Sebo argues that humans have a moral responsibility to include animals in global health and environmental policy. In particular, we should reduce our use of animals as part of our pandemic and climate change mitigation efforts and increase our support for animals as part of our adaptation efforts. Applying and extending frameworks such as One Health and the Green New Deal, Sebo calls for reducing support for factory farming, deforestation, and the wildlife trade; increasing support for humane, healthful, and sustainable alternatives; and considering human and nonhuman needs holistically. Sebo also considers connections with practical issues such as education, employment, social services, and infrastructure, as well as with theoretical issues such as well-being, moral status, political status, and population ethics. In all cases, he shows that these issues are both important and complex, and that we should neither underestimate our responsibilities because of our limitations, nor underestimate our limitations because of our responsibilities.

Both an urgent call to action and a survey of what ethical and effective action requires, Saving Animals, Saving Ourselves is an invaluable resource for scholars, advocates, policy-makers, and anyone interested in what kind of world we should attempt to build and how.
Visit Jeff Sebo's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

"Cheap Speech"

New from Yale University Press: Cheap Speech: How Disinformation Poisons Our Politics-and How to Cure It by Richard L. Hasen.

About the book, from the publisher:
What can be done consistent with the First Amendment to ensure that American voters can make informed election decisions and hold free elections amid a flood of virally spread disinformation and the collapse of local news reporting? How should American society counter the actions of people like former President Donald J. Trump, who used social media to convince millions of his followers to doubt the integrity of U.S. elections and helped foment a violent insurrection? What can we do to minimize disinformation campaigns aimed at suppressing voter turnout?

With piercing insight into the current debates over free speech, censorship, and Big Tech’s responsibilities, Richard L. Hasen proposes legal and social measures to restore Americans’ access to reliable information on which democracy depends. In an era when quack COVID treatments and bizarre QAnon theories have entered mainstream, this book explains how to assure both freedom of ideas and a commitment to truth.
The Page 99 Test: Plutocrats United: Campaign Money, the Supreme Court, and the Distortion of American Elections by Richard L. Hasen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

"American Exceptionalism"

New from the University of Chicago Press: American Exceptionalism: A New History of an Old Idea by Ian Tyrrell.

About the book, from the publisher:
A powerful dissection of a core American myth.

The idea that the United States is unlike every other country in world history is a surprisingly resilient one. Throughout his distinguished career, Ian Tyrrell has been one of the most influential historians of the idea of American exceptionalism, but he has never written a book focused solely on it until now. The notion that American identity might be exceptional emerged, Tyrrell shows, from the belief that the nascent early republic was not simply a postcolonial state but a genuinely new experiment in an imperialist world dominated by Britain. Prior to the Civil War, American exceptionalism fostered declarations of cultural, economic, and spatial independence. As the country grew in population and size, becoming a major player in the global order, its exceptionalist beliefs came more and more into focus—and into question. Over time, a political divide emerged: those who believed that America’s exceptionalism was the basis of its virtue and those who saw America as either a long way from perfect or actually fully unexceptional, and thus subject to universal demands for justice. Tyrrell masterfully articulates the many forces that made American exceptionalism such a divisive and definitional concept. Today, he notes, the demands that people acknowledge America’s exceptionalism have grown ever more strident, even as the material and moral evidence for that exceptionalism—to the extent that there ever was any—has withered away.
Visit Ian Tyrrell's website.

The Page 99 Test: Reforming the World: The Creation of America's Moral Empire by Ian Tyrrell.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 21, 2022

"The Anarchist Inquisition"

Coming soon from Cornell University Press: The Anarchist Inquisition: Assassins, Activists, and Martyrs in Spain and France by Mark Bray.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Anarchist Inquisition explores the groundbreaking transnational human rights campaigns that emerged in response to a brutal wave of repression unleashed by the Spanish state to quash anarchist activities at the turn of the twentieth century. Mark Bray guides readers through this tumultuous era—from backroom meetings in Paris and torture chambers in Barcelona, to international antiterrorist conferences in Rome and human rights demonstrations in Buenos Aires.

Anarchist bombings in theaters and cafes in the 1890s provoked mass arrests, the passage of harsh anti-anarchist laws, and executions in France and Spain. Yet, far from a marginal phenomenon, this first international terrorist threat had profound ramifications for the broader development of human rights, as well as modern global policing, and international legislation on extradition and migration. A transnational network of journalists, lawyers, union activists, anarchists, and other dissidents related peninsular torture to Spain's brutal suppression of colonial revolts in Cuba and the Philippines to craft a nascent human rights movement against the "revival of the Inquisition." Ultimately their efforts compelled the monarchy to accede in the face of unprecedented global criticism.

Bray draws a vivid picture of the assassins, activists, torturers, and martyrs whose struggles set the stage for a previously unexamined era of human rights mobilization. Rather than assuming that human rights struggles and "terrorism" are inherently contradictory forces, The Anarchist Inquisition analyzes how these two modern political phenomena worked in tandem to constitute dynamic campaigns against Spanish atrocities.
Visit Mark Bray's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 20, 2022

"Lovers in Essence"

New from Oxford University Press: Lovers in Essence: A Kierkegaardian Defense of Romantic Love by Sharon Krishek.

About the book, from the publisher:
Romantic love is a defining phenomenon in human existence, and an object of heightened interest for literature, art, popular culture, and psychology. But what is romantic love and why is it typically experienced as so central?

Sharon Krishek's primary aim in this work is to explore the nature of romantic love through the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard, and in doing so, to defend it as a moral phenomenon. She does so by developing a connection between love and selfhood, here explained in terms of one's distinct individuality. To be a self, she claims, is to possess a "name," that is, an individual essence. It is when we love that we regard people by their names; we respond to who they truly are. Therefore, love is a correspondence between essences: if Jane Eyre loves Edward Rochester, she responds to him being "who he is," by virtue of her being "who she is." The conception of being thus correspondent has important implications as to the moral and spiritual value of romantic love.

Relying on Kierkegaard's analysis of the self, of faith, and of love--even if sometimes in a way that departs from Kierkegaard's explicit position--Krishek explores these implications, construing romantic love as a desirable phenomenon, emotionally, morally, and spiritually.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 19, 2022

"That Tyrant, Persuasion"

New from Princeton University Press: That Tyrant, Persuasion: How Rhetoric Shaped the Roman World by J. E. Lendon.

About the book, from the publisher:
The assassins of Julius Caesar cried out that they had killed a tyrant, and days later their colleagues in the Senate proposed rewards for this act of tyrannicide. The killers and their supporters spoke as if they were following a well-known script. They were. Their education was chiefly in rhetoric and as boys they would all have heard and given speeches on a ubiquitous set of themes—including one asserting that “he who kills a tyrant shall receive a reward from the city.” In That Tyrant, Persuasion, J. E. Lendon explores how rhetorical education in the Roman world influenced not only the words of literature but also momentous deeds: the killing of Julius Caesar, what civic buildings and monuments were built, what laws were made, and, ultimately, how the empire itself should be run.

Presenting a new account of Roman rhetorical education and its surprising practical consequences, That Tyrant, Persuasion shows how rhetoric created a grandiose imaginary world for the Roman ruling elite—and how they struggled to force the real world to conform to it. Without rhetorical education, the Roman world would have been unimaginably different.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 18, 2022

"What It Took to Win"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: What It Took to Win: A History of the Democratic Party by Michael Kazin.

About the book, from the publisher:
A leading historian tells the story of the United States’ most enduring political party and its long, imperfect and newly invigorated quest for “moral capitalism,” from Andrew Jackson to Joseph Biden.

The Democratic Party is the world’s oldest mass political organization. Since its inception in the early nineteenth century, it has played a central role in defining American society, whether it was exercising power or contesting it. But what has the party stood for through the centuries, and how has it managed to succeed in elections and govern?

In What It Took to Win, the eminent historian Michael Kazin identifies and assesses the party’s long-running commitment to creating “moral capitalism”—a system that mixed entrepreneurial freedom with the welfare of workers and consumers. And yet the same party that championed the rights of the white working man also vigorously protected or advanced the causes of slavery, segregation, and Indian removal. As the party evolved towards a more inclusive egalitarian vision, it won durable victories for Americans of all backgrounds. But it also struggled to hold together a majority coalition and advance a persuasive agenda for the use of government.

Kazin traces the party’s fortunes through vivid character sketches of its key thinkers and doers, from Martin Van Buren and William Jennings Bryan to the financier August Belmont and reformers such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Sidney Hillman, and Jesse Jackson. He also explores the records of presidents from Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Throughout, Kazin reveals the rich interplay of personality, belief, strategy, and policy that define the life of the party—and outlines the core components of a political endeavor that may allow President Biden and his co-partisans to renew the American experiment.
The Page 69 Test: A Godly Hero.

The Page 99 Test: American Dreamers.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 17, 2022

"Nothing: A Philosophical History"

New from Oxford University Press: Nothing: A Philosophical History by Roy Sorensen.

About the book, from the publisher:
An entertaining history of the idea of nothing - including absences, omissions, and shadows - from the Ancient Greeks through the 20th century

How can nothing cause something? The absence of something might seem to indicate a null or a void, an emptiness as ineffectual as a shadow. In fact, 'nothing' is one of the most powerful ideas the human mind has ever conceived. This short and entertaining book by Roy Sorensen is a lively tour of the history and philosophy of nothing, explaining how various thinkers throughout history have conceived and grappled with the mysterious power of absence -- and how these ideas about shadows, gaps, and holes have in turned played a very positive role in the development of some of humankind's most important ideas. Filled with Sorensen's characteristically entertaining mix of anecdotes, puzzles, curiosities, and philosophical speculation, the book is ordered chronologically, starting with the Taoists, the Buddhists, and the ancient Greeks, moving forward to the middle ages and the early modern period, then up to the existentialists and present day philosophy. The result is a diverting tour through the history of human thought as seen from a novel and unusual perspective.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

"Admiral Hyman Rickover: Engineer of Power"

New from Yale University Press: Admiral Hyman Rickover: Engineer of Power by Marc Wortman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Known as the “Father of the Nuclear Navy,” Admiral Hyman George Rickover (1899–1986) remains an almost mythical figure in the United States Navy. A brilliant engineer with a ferocious will and combative personality, he oversaw the invention of the world’s first practical nuclear power reactor. As important as the transition from sail to steam, his development of nuclear-propelled submarines and ships transformed naval power and Cold War strategy. They still influence world affairs today.

His disdain for naval regulations, indifference to the chain of command, and harsh, insulting language earned him enemies in the navy, but his achievements won him powerful friends in Congress and the White House. A Jew born in a Polish shtetl, Rickover ultimately became the longest-serving U.S. military officer in history.

In this exciting new biography, historian Marc Wortman explores the constant conflict Rickover faced and provoked, tracing how he revolutionized the navy and Cold War strategy.
Visit Marc Wortman's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta by Marc Wortman.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

"Fear of the Family"

New from Oxford University Press: Fear of the Family: Guest Workers and Family Migration in the Federal Republic of Germany by Lauren Stokes.

About the book, from the publisher:
Beginning in 1955, West Germany recruited millions of people as guest workers from Yugoslavia, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and especially Turkey. This labor force was essential to creating the postwar German economic miracle. Employers fantasized that foreign "guest workers" would provide labor power in their prime productive years without having to pay for their education, pensions, or medical care. They especially hoped that the workers would leave behind their spouses and children and not encumber the German state or society with the cost of caring for them.

As Lauren Stokes argues, the Federal Republic of Germany turned fear of this foreign family into the basis of policymaking, while at the same time implementing policies that inflicted fear in foreign families. Workers did not always prove willing to live their work lives in the FRG and their family lives elsewhere. They consistently challenged the state's assumption that "family" and "labor" could be cleanly divided, defied restrictive and discriminatory policies, staged political protests, and took their deportation orders to court. In 1973, the federal court legally recognized the constitutional right to family reunification, but almost immediately after the decision, the migration bureaucracy sought to limit that right in practice. Officials derided family migrants as a group of burdensome dependents seeking to defraud the welfare state and demonized them as a dangerous source of foreign values on German soil.

In this sweeping look at what being defined as "family migrants" has meant for millions at the immigration office, in the courtroom, in the workplace, and in the family itself, Fear of the Family illuminates how racial, ethnic, and gender difference have been inscribed in the neoliberal West German welfare state.
Visit Lauren Stokes's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 14, 2022

"A Cultural Arsenal for Democracy"

New from the University of Massachusetts Press: A Cultural Arsenal for Democracy: The World War II Work of US Museums by Clarissa J. Ceglio.

About the book, from the publisher:
"Does it seem strange to think of a museum as a weapon in national defense?" asked John Hay Whitney, president of the Museum of Modern Art, in June 1941. As the United States entered the Second World War in the months to follow, this idea seemed far from strange to museums. Working to strike the right balance between education and patriotism, and hoping to attain greater relevance, many American museums saw engagement with wartime concerns as consistent with their vision of the museum as a social instrument.

Unsurprisingly, exhibitions served as the primary vehicle through which museums, large and small, engaged their publics with wartime topics with fare ranging from displays on the cultures of Allied nations to "living maps" that charted troop movements and exhibits on war preparedness. Clarissa J. Ceglio chronicles debates, experiments, and collaborations from the 1930s to the immediate postwar years, investigating how museums re-envisioned the exhibition as a narrative medium and attempted to reconcile their mission with new modes of storytelling.
Follow Clarissa Ceglio on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 13, 2022

"Pasifika Black"

Coming April 26 from NYU Press: Pasifika Black: Oceania, Anti-colonialism, and the African World by Quito Swan.

About the book, from the publisher:
A lively living history of anti-colonialist movements across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans

Oceania is a vast sea of islands, large scale political struggles and immensely significant historical phenomena. Pasifika Black is a compelling history of understudied anti-colonial movements in this region, exploring how indigenous Oceanic activists intentionally forged international connections with the African world in their fights for liberation.

Drawing from research conducted across Fiji, Australia, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Britain, and the United States, Quito Swan shows how liberation struggles in Oceania actively engaged Black internationalism in their diverse battles against colonial rule. Pasifika Black features as its protagonists Oceania's many playwrights, organizers, religious leaders, scholars, Black Power advocates, musicians, environmental justice activists, feminists, and revolutionaries who carried the banners of Black liberation across the globe. It puts artists like Aboriginal poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal and her 1976 call for a Black Pacific into an extended conversation with Nigeria’s Wole Soyinka, the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific’s Amelia Rokotuivuna, Samoa’s Albert Wendt, African American anthropologist Angela Gilliam, the NAACP’s Roy Wilkins, West Papua’s Ben Tanggahma, New Caledonia’s Déwé Gorodey, and Polynesian Panther Will ‘Ilolahia. In so doing, Swan displays the links Oceanic activists consciously and painstakingly formed in order to connect Black metropoles across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

In a world grappling with the global significance of Black Lives Matter and state-sanctioned violence against Black and Brown bodies, Pasifika Black is a both triumphant history and tragic reminder of the ongoing quests for decolonization in Oceania, the African world, and the Global South.
Follow Quito Swan on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 12, 2022

"Risky Cities"

Coming soon from Rutgers University Press: Risky Cities: The Physical and Fiscal Nature of Disaster Capitalism by Albert S. Fu.

About the book, from the publisher:
Over half the world’s population lives in urban regions, and increasingly disasters are of great concern to city dwellers, policymakers, and builders. However, disaster risk is also of great interest to corporations, financiers, and investors. Risky Cities is a critical examination of global urban development, capitalism, and its relationship with environmental hazards. It is about how cities live and profit from the threat of sinkholes, garbage, and fire. Risky Cities is not simply about post-catastrophe profiteering. This book focuses on the way in which disaster capitalism has figured out ways to commodify environmental bads and manage risks. Notably, capitalist city-building results in the physical transformation of nature. This necessitates risk management strategies –such as insurance, environmental assessments, and technocratic mitigation plans. As such capitalists redistribute risk relying on short-term fixes to disaster risk rather than address long-term vulnerabilities.
Visit Albert S. Fu's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 11, 2022

"Spying Through a Glass Darkly"

New from Oxford University Press: Spying Through a Glass Darkly: The Ethics of Espionage and Counter-Intelligence by Cécile Fabre.

About the book, from the publisher:
Cécile Fabre draws back the curtain on the ethics of espionage and counterintelligence.

Espionage and counter-intelligence activities, both real and imagined, weave a complex and alluring story. Yet there is hardly any serious philosophical work on the subject. Cécile Fabre presents a systematic account of the ethics of espionage and counterintelligence. She argues that such operations, in the context of war and foreign policy, are morally justified as a means, but only as a means, to protect oneself and third parties from ongoing violations of fundamental rights. In doing so, she addresses a range of ethical questions: are intelligence officers morally permitted to bribe, deceive, blackmail, and manipulate as a way to uncover state secrets? Is cyberespionage morally permissible? Are governments morally permitted to resort to the mass surveillance of their and foreign populations as a means to unearth possible threats against national security? Can treason ever be morally permissible? Can it ever be legitimate to resort to economic espionage in the name of national security? The book offers answers to those questions through a blend of philosophical arguments and historical examples.
Visit Cécile Fabre's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 10, 2022

"The Georgians"

New from Yale University Press: The Georgians: The Deeds and Misdeeds of 18th-Century Britain by Penelope J. Corfield.

About the book, from the publisher:
A comprehensive history of the Georgians, comparing past views of these exciting, turbulent, and controversial times with our attitudes today.

The Georgian era is often seen as a time of innovations. It saw the end of monarchical absolutism, global exploration and settlements overseas, the world’s first industrial revolution, deep transformations in religious and cultural life, and Britain’s role in the international trade in enslaved Africans. But how were these changes perceived by people at the time? And how do their viewpoints compare with attitudes today?

In this wide-ranging history, Penelope J. Corfield explores every aspect of Georgian life—politics and empire, culture and society, love and violence, religion and science, industry and towns. People’s responses at the time were often divided. Pessimists saw loss and decline, while optimists saw improvements and light. Out of such tensions came the Georgian culture of both experiment and resistance. Corfield emphasizes those elements of deep continuity that persisted even within major changes, and shows how new developments were challenged if their human consequences proved dire.
Visit Penelope J. Corfield's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

"Can We Unlearn Racism?"

Coming soon from Stanford University Press: Can We Unlearn Racism?: What South Africa Teaches Us About Whiteness by Jacob R. Boersema.

About the book, from the publisher:
In contemporary South Africa, power no longer maps neatly onto race. While white South Africans continue to enjoy considerable power at the top levels of industry, they have become a demographic minority, politically subordinate to the black South African population. To be white today means having to adjust to a new racial paradigm. In this book, Jacob Boersema argues that this adaptation requires nothing less than unlearning racism: confronting the shame of a racist past, acknowledging privilege, and, to varying degrees, rethinking notions of nationalism. Drawing on more than 150 interviews with a cross-section of white South Africans—representationally diverse in age, class, and gender—Boersema details how they understand their whiteness and depicts the limits and possibilities of individual, and collective, transformation. He reveals that the process of unlearning racism entails dismantling psychological and institutional structures alike, all of which are inflected by emotion and shaped by ideas of culture and power. Can We Unlearn Racism? pursues a question that should be at the forefront of every society's collective consciousness. Theoretically rich and ethnographically empathetic, this book offers valuable insights into the broader sociological process of unlearning, relevant today to communities all around the world.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

"Absence and Nothing"

New from Oxford University Press: Absence and Nothing: The Philosophy of What There is Not by Stephen Mumford.

About the book, from the publisher:
Nothing is not. Yet it seems that we invoke absences and nothings often in our philosophical explanations. Negative metaphysics is on the rise. It has been claimed that absences can be causes, there are negative properties, absences can be perceived, there are negative facts, and that we can refer to and speak about nothing. Parmenides long ago ruled against such things. Here we consider how much of Parmenides' view can survive. A soft Parmenidean methodology is adopted in which we aim to reject all supposed negative entities but are prepared to accept them, reluctantly, if they are indispensable and irreducible in our best theories. We then see whether there are any negative entities this survive this test. Some can be dismissed on metaphysical grounds but other problems are explained only once we reject another strand in Parmenides and show how we can think and talk about nothing. Accounts of perception of absence, empty reference, and denial are gathered. With these, we can show how no truthmakers are required for negative truths since we can have negative beliefs, concerning what-is-not, without what-is-not being part of what is. This supports a soft ontological Parmenideanism, which accepts much though not all of Parmenides' original position.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 7, 2022

"Oceans of Grain"

New from Basic Books: Oceans of Grain: How American Wheat Remade the World by Scott Reynolds Nelson.

About the book, from the publisher:
A revelatory global history shows how cheap American grain toppled the world’s largest empires

To understand the rise and fall of empires, we must follow the paths traveled by grain—along rivers, between ports, and across seas. In Oceans of Grain, historian Scott Reynolds Nelson reveals how the struggle to dominate these routes transformed the balance of world power.

Early in the nineteenth century, imperial Russia fed much of Europe through the booming port of Odessa. But following the US Civil War, tons of American wheat began to flood across the Atlantic, and food prices plummeted. This cheap foreign grain spurred the rise of Germany and Italy, the decline of the Habsburgs and the Ottomans, and the European scramble for empire. It was a crucial factor in the outbreak of the First World War and the Russian Revolution.

A powerful new interpretation, Oceans of Grain shows that amid the great powers’ rivalries, there was no greater power than control of grain.
The Page 69 Test: Steel Drivin' Man.

My Book, The Movie: Steel Drivin' Man.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 6, 2022


New from Stanford University Press: Salinas: A History of Race and Resilience in an Agricultural City by Carol Lynn McKibben.

About the book, from the publisher:
An ambitious history of a California city that epitomizes the history of race relations in modern America.

Although much has been written about the urban–rural divide in America, the city of Salinas, California, like so many other places in the state and nation whose economies are based on agriculture, is at once rural and urban. For generations, Salinas has been associated with migrant farmworkers from different racial and ethnic groups. This broad-ranging history of "the Salad Bowl of the World" tells a complex story of community-building in a multiracial, multiethnic city where diversity has been both a cornerstone of civic identity and, from the perspective of primarily white landowners and pragmatic agricultural industrialists, essential for maintaining the local workforce.

Carol Lynn McKibben draws on extensive original research, including oral histories and never-before-seen archives of local business groups, tracing Salinas's ever-changing demographics and the challenges and triumphs of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and Mexican immigrants, as well as Depression-era Dust Bowl migrants and white ethnic Europeans. McKibben takes us from Salinas's nineteenth-century beginnings as the economic engine of California's Central Coast up through the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on communities of color today, especially farmworkers who already live on the margins.

Throughout the century-plus of Salinas history that McKibben explores, she shows how the political and economic stability of Salinas rested on the ability of nonwhite minorities to achieve a measure of middle-class success and inclusion in the cultural life of the city, without overturning a system based in white supremacy. This timely book deepens our understanding of race relations, economic development, and the impact of changing demographics on regional politics in urban California and in the United States as a whole.
Visit Carol Lynn McKibben's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 5, 2022

"The Third Reich's Elite Schools"

New from Oxford University Press: The Third Reich's Elite Schools: A History of the Napolas by Helen Roche.

About the book, from the publisher:
Drawing on material from eighty archives in six different countries worldwide, as well as eyewitness testimonies from over 100 former pupils, Helen Roche presents the first comprehensive history of the Third Reich's most prominent elite schools, the National Political Education Institutes (Napolas / NPEA). The Napolas provided an all-encompassing National Socialist 'total education', featuring ideological indoctrination, premilitary training, and a packed programme of extracurricular activities, including school trips and exchanges throughout Europe and beyond.

Combining all the most seductive elements of reform-pedagogy, youth-movement traditions, and the militaristic ethos of the Prussian cadet schools, the schools took pupils from the age of ten, aiming to train them for leadership roles in all walks of life. Those who successfully passed the gruelling entrance examination, which tested applicants' physical prowess, courage, and alleged 'racial purity' along with their academic abilities, had to learn to live in a highly militarized and enclosed boarding-school community.

Through an in-depth depiction of everyday life at the Napolas, as well as systematic analysis of the ways in which different schools within the NPEA system were shaped by their previous traditions, this study sheds light on the qualities which the Nazi regime desired to instil in its future citizens, whilst also contributing to key debates on the political, social, and cultural history of the Third Reich, demonstrating that the history of education and youth can illuminate the broader history of this era in novel ways. Ultimately, the NPEA can be seen as the Nazi dictatorship's most effective educational experiment.
Visit Helen Roche's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 4, 2022

"Taking Down Backpage"

New from NYU Press: Taking Down Backpage: Fighting the World’s Largest Sex Trafficker by Maggy Krell.

About the book, from the publisher:
Insider details from the takedown of Backpage, the world’s largest sex trafficker, by the prosecutor who led the charge

For almost a decade, was the world’s largest sex trafficking operation. Seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, in 800 cities throughout the world, Backpage ran thousands of listings advertising the sale of vulnerable young people for sex. Reaping a cut off every transaction, the owners of the website raked in millions of dollars. But many of the people in the advertisements were children, as young as 12, and forced into the commercial sex trade through fear, violence and coercion.

In Taking Down Backpage, veteran California prosecutor Maggy Krell tells the story of how she and her team battled against this sex trafficking monolith. Beginning with her early career as a young DA, she shares the evolution of the anti-human trafficking movement. Through a fascinating combination of memoir and legal insight, Krell reveals how she and her team started with the prosecution of street pimps and ultimately ended with the takedown of the largest purveyor of human trafficking in the world. She shares powerful stories of interviews with survivors, sting operations, court cases, and the personal struggles that were necessary to bring Backpage executives to justice. Finally, Krell examines the state of sex trafficking after Backpage and the crucial work that still remains.

Taking Down Backpage is a gripping story of tragedy, overcoming adversity, and the pursuit of justice that gives insight into the fight against sex trafficking in the digital age.
Visit Maggy Krell's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 3, 2022

"Libya and the Global Enduring Disorder"

New from Oxford University Press: Libya and the Global Enduring Disorder by Jason Pack.

About the book, from the publisher:
We no longer inhabit a world governed by international coordination, a unified NATO bloc, or an American hegemon. Traditionally, the decline of one empire leads to a restoration in the balance of power, via a struggle among rival systems of order. Yet this dynamic is surprisingly absent today; instead, the superpowers have all, at times, sought to promote what Jason Pack terms the 'Enduring Disorder'.

He contends that Libya's ongoing conflict-more so than the civil wars in Yemen, Syria, Venezuela or Ukraine-constitutes the ideal microcosm in which to identify the salient features of this new era of geopolitics. The country's post-Qadhafi trajectory has been molded by the stark absence of coherent international diplomacy; while Libya's incremental implosion has precipitated cross-border contagion, further corroding global institutions and international partnership.

Pack draws on over two decades of research in and on Libya and Syria to highlight the Kafkaesque aspects of today's global affairs. He shows how even the threats posed by the Arab Spring, and the Benghazi assassination of US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, couldn't occasion a unified Western response. Rather, they have further undercut global collaboration, demonstrating the self-reinforcing nature of the progressively collapsing world order.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

"Citizenship in Hard Times"

New from Cambridge University Press: Citizenship in Hard Times: How Ordinary People Respond to Democratic Threat by Sara Wallace Goodman.

About the book, from the publisher:
What do citizens do in response to threats to democracy? This book examines the mass politics of civic obligation in the US, UK, and Germany. Exploring threats like foreign interference in elections and polarization, Sara Wallace Goodman shows that citizens respond to threats to democracy as partisans, interpreting civic obligation through a partisan lens that is shaped by their country's political institutions. This divided, partisan citizenship makes democratic problems worse by eroding the national unity required for democratic stability. Employing novel survey experiments in a cross-national research design, Citizenship in Hard Times presents the first comprehensive and comparative analysis of citizenship norms in the face of democratic threat. In showing partisan citizens are not a reliable bulwark against democratic backsliding, Goodman identifies a key vulnerability in the mass politics of democratic order. In times of democratic crisis, defenders of democracy must work to fortify the shared foundations of democratic citizenship.
Follow Sara Wallace Goodman on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 1, 2022


New from Cornell University Press: Freeze!: The Grassroots Movement to Halt the Arms Race and End the Cold War by Henry Richard Maar III.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Freeze!, Henry Richard Maar III chronicles the rise of the transformative and transnational Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign. Amid an escalating Cold War that pitted the nuclear arsenal of the United States against that of the Soviet Union, the grassroots peace movement emerged sweeping the nation and uniting people around the world.

The solution for the arms race that the Campaign proposed: a bilateral freeze on the building, testing, and deployment of nuclear weapons on the part of two superpowers of the US and the USSR. That simple but powerful proposition stirred popular sentiment and provoked protest in the streets and on screen from New York City to London to Berlin. Movie stars and scholars, bishops and reverends, governors and congress members, and, ultimately, US President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev took a stand for or against the Freeze proposal.

With the Reagan administration so openly discussing the prospect of winnable and survivable nuclear warfare like never before, the Freeze movement forcefully translated decades of private fears into public action. Drawing upon extensive archival research in recently declassified materials, Maar illuminates how the Freeze campaign demonstrated the power and importance of grassroots peace activism in all levels of society. The Freeze movement played an instrumental role in shaping public opinion and American politics, helping establish the conditions that would bring the Cold War to an end.
Visit Henry Richard Maar III's website.

--Marshal Zeringue