Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday Book Roundup


Patrick Weil's The Sovereign Citizen: Denaturalization and the Origins of the American Republic (University of Pennsylvania Press) is reviewed in Law and Politics Book Review.
"French social scientist Patrick Weil has written a book that focuses on a seemingly minor aspect of U.S. immigration law: denaturalization policy, or the process by which one loses one’s American citizenship. Weil uses denaturalization policy as a vehicle to comment on other aspects of the American politics, most immediately the arbitrariness and politically contingent nature of one’s United States citizenship status, not just of immigrants, but also of native-born citizens. Weil notes that “Present–day Americans feel secure in their citizenship” (p.1). One comes away from the book having new appreciation for the precariousness of one’s U.S. citizenship and the ease at points in U.S. history when the government can arbitrarily revoke one’s citizenship, thereby possibly rendering even a native-born citizen effectively stateless."


This week H-Net has added several new reviews, including a review of Michael David Cohen's Reconstructing the Campus: Higher Education and the American Civil War (University of Virginia Press), a review of David Chalmers's And the Crooked Places Made Straight: The Struggle for Social Change in the 1960s (Second Edition, Johns Hopkins University Press), a review of Christopher Heath Wellman and Phillip Cole's Debating the Ethics of Immigration: Is There a Right to Exclude? (Oxford University Press), and a review of Nick Vaughan-Williams's Border Politics: The Limits of Sovereign Power (Edinburgh University Press).


Brian Z. Tamanaha's Failing Law Schools (University of Chicago Press), has also been reviewed. Reviewer Steve Sheppard writes,
"U.S. law schools are under pressure. A drumbeat of criticism against the national enterprise of legal education labels it a “scam”; a confidence game; and, for a few schools, actionable fraud.[1] That criticism may have struck a chord among potential students: as of 2013, applications to law schools in the United States had fallen by 32 percent from 2010, leading some critics to rejoice.[2] Failing Law Schools is a centerpiece of this movement, hailed for its “disturbing, scandalous truth” about legal education (back cover).[3] In it, Brian Z. Tamanaha, a law professor at Washington University at St. Louis, offers criticism and calls for change, based on observations intermixed with claims from economics and the history of legal education."
Yet another H-Net review is that of Nancy Beck Young's Why We Fight: Congress and the Politics of World War II (University Press of Kansas). The book "closely examines the key legislative issues of the mid-twentieth century, and the means by which a very different congressional structure succeeded and failed in attempts to address them." And, it "is thoroughly researched and well footnoted. It is not an especially easy read, as it assumes a fair knowledge of the personalities and issues that it addresses. In that regard, however, it is entirely appropriate for a graduate reading course in political science, and is highly recommended for anyone with a special interest in the subject."

Often in the Book Roundup we post interviews from NewBooksinHistory.com. Don't miss this week's interview with our guestblogger, Susan Carle, about her new book Defining the Struggle: National Organizing for Racial Justice, 1880-1915 (Oxford). And, don't forget that they're looking for a new interviewer for New Books in Law.

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