Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Book Roundup

Just as everyone's schedules are getting busier, we have a particularly extensive roundup this week. Such is life in an ironic age, this blogger supposes.  Without further ado:

There are a couple of reviews of interest in the new issue of The Federal Lawyer.  Wendie Ellen Schneider's Engines of Truth: Producing Veracity in the Victorian Courtroom is reviewed.  Also reviewed is Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck by Adam Cohen.

In the New York Times is a review of Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson.  Thompson's timely work is described as a "superb work of history [with a] methodical mastery of interviews, transcripts, police reports and other documents."

In The Nation, Richard White reviews  An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe by Benjamin Madley.  Madley's work, and its naming of Indian policy in California from 1846 to 1873 as genocidal, is described by White "as a commanding one."  Based on White's review, it's evident that the history described in Madley's work is both utterly tragic and tremendously important.

At NPR is an interview with Jane Ziegelman and Andy Coe, authors of A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression.  (Scholars of welfare will be chagrined but not surprised to hear that relief officials refused to provide welfare recipients with mustard or relish "because they didn't want people to become too happy with receiving food relief.")

In The Guardian is a review of Gareth Stedman Jones' "exhaustive and staggeringly well-researched intellectual biography of Karl Marx," Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion. The large takeaway from this particular review is that Marx's own ideology was borne of a particular pre-1848 socio-intellectual milieu that made it rather distinctive from the derivative Marxist ideology that would emerge later in the century (i.e, context is important!).

In the Economist is a review of Daniel Beer's The House of the Dead: Siberian Exile Under the Tsars.  Also in The Economist is a review of Building the Skyline: The Birth and Growth of Manhattan’s Skyscrapers, Jason Barr's economic history of the construction of Manhattan's skyline.

There are a number of reviews of interest on H-Net this week.  There is a review of Karin Lorene Zipf's Bad Girls at Samarcand: Sexuality and Sterilization in a Southern Juvenile Reformatory.  Robert Vitalis' White World Order, Black Power Politics: The Birth of American International Relations is also reviewed. Additionally, there is a review of the edited volume Why You Can't Teach United States History without American Indians.  Also reviewed is Kate Baldwin's The Racial Imaginary of the Cold War Kitchen: From Sokol'niki Park to Chicago's South Side.

Finally, Jennifer Mittelstadt's The Rise of the Military Welfare State is also reviewed on H-Net. Mittelstadt's history of the social welfare functions served and met by the U.S. army is described as, ultimately, "a frank discussion over the growing division of the sword and shield of the republic from a portion of the nation’s citizenry that also receives social welfare benefits."

A couple of interviews stood out over at the New Books Network.  Paula Fass was interviewed about her The End of American Childhood: A History of Parenting from Life on the Frontier to the Managed Child.  Jason Stahl was interviewed about his (punnily named) Right Moves: The Conservative Think Tank in American Political Culture since 1945.

Finally, Yanni Kotsonis was interviewed by the New Books Network about his States of Obligation: Taxes and Citizenship in the Russian Empire and Early Soviet Republic.  Historians of the state (in the US and elsewhere) may be interested in Kotsonis' research on the ways in which "fiscal reformers in imperial Russia used tax policies and their implementation to redefine the relationship between state and population, to develop concepts of national economies and private sectors, and to build an industry of information gathering crucial to a modern fiscal system."

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