"Among the many challenges faced by historians of the modern United States is finding a way to decipher and depict the labyrinth of government. The task proves tangled enough when dealing with the federal, state, and local layers, and all their executive, legislative, and judicial divisions. But the complexity grows exponentially when one builds in the myriad boards, commissions, agencies, and districts to which executive and legislative bodies have delegated responsibilities. It is a relief, then, to see a scholar like Gail Radford tackle the public authority, a particularly sizeable but woefully understudied branch of modern governance. The Rise of the Public Authority: Statebuilding and Economic Development in Twentieth-Century America provides a valuable overview of an intricate topic, explaining the growing role these institutions have played in the public provision of goods and services in the United States."In the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Inspection House: An Impertinent Field Guide to Modern Surveillance by Emily Horne and Tim Maly (Coach House Books) is reviewed.
"This terrain is the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon (the prison he designed in the 1870s), as seen from the viewpoint of Michel Foucault. The authors use Foucault’s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison as a gateway to discussion of what they call “our strange present condition,” meaning our “disciplinary” society and its enforcement through the widespread practice of surveillance by governments, corporations, and individuals."Salon has published an excerpt from Jason Sokol's All Eyes Are Upon Us: Race and Politics from Boston to Brooklyn (Basic).You can hear an interview with the author on New Books in American Studies.
The New Books series has also conducted an interview with Jothie Rajah discussing her book, Authoritarian Rule of Law: Legislation, Discourse, and Legitimacy in Singapore (Cambridge University Press).
Additionally, New Books in History has posted a new interview with Daniel O. Prosterman regarding his new book, Defining Democracy: Electoral Reform and the Struggle for Power in New York City (Oxford University Press).