Sunday, January 30, 2011

Obama's Wars, Supreme Court History, and more in the book reviews

THE VIOLENCE OF PEACE:  America’s Wars in the Age of Obama by Stephen L. Carter is reviewed today in the New York Times.  James Traub writes that it is
a book about "just war" theory in which he concludes that Barack Obama, a president he clearly admires, has prosecuted the war on terror with no more regard for the theory’s ancient principles than George W. Bush (whom many of Carter’s readers no doubt consider a war criminal). The really discomfiting part is that Carter doesn’t advance this claim as a criticism, but rather as an acknowledgment of the way America’s leaders fight wars, and are quite likely to continue fighting this one.
The rest is here.

Inherently Unequal: The Betrayal of Equal Rights by the Supreme Court, 1865-1903 by  Lawrence Goldstone is taken up this week in the Los Angeles Times.  Steve Oney writes:
In the years immediately following the Civil War, America appeared to possess the will and the means to end racial segregation and give the same rights enjoyed by whites to its 4 million recently freed black slaves. These noble goals, of course, were not achieved for another century. During the intervening decades, the South saw the rise of Jim Crow and Judge Lynch. In "Inherently Unequal,"...Lawrence Goldstone convincingly lays the blame for this tragedy at the door of the institution that could have made the difference but did not: the United States Supreme Court.
Continue reading here.

THE NEOCONSERVATIVE PERSUASION: Selected Essays, 1942-2009, by Irving Kristol, Edited by Gertrude Himmelfarb, is reviewed in the New York Times; Theodore Roosevelt’s History of the United States: His Own Words, Selected and Arranged by Daniel Ruddy, is taken up in The New Republic's The Book; and INVENTING GEORGE WASHINGTON: America’s Founder, in Myth & Memory by Edward G. Lengel is reveiwed in the Boston Globe.