Sunday, January 1, 2012

This Week in the Book Pages

Elisabeth Young-Bruehl (image credit)
A highlight from this week's book pages is the Chronicle of Higher Ed's review of Childism: Confronting Prejudice Against Children, by the late Elisabeth Young-Bruehl. The book will be published posthumously by Yale University Press. Here's a taste, from reviewer Peter Monaghan:
More than a study of child abuse, it excavates the psychological foundations of destructive attitudes toward children. Scholars are praising its erudition, reach, and impassioned but carefully reasoned advocacy for change. 
Young-Bruehl assails the idea "that children are dangerous and burdensome and that childhood is a time when discipline is the paramount adult responsibility." She calls for an end to antichild policies and behaviors, from the monumental to the mundane—child imprisonment, inadequate school financing, tolerance of corporal punishment within families—that assume adults have "absolute" authority over children's physical, emotional, and psychological well-being.
Follow the link for more on the book and the remarkable author.

This week in the New York Times: A review of Haiti: The Aftershocks of History (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Company), by Laurent Dubois. Here's a taste:
For a gripping narrative of [the Haitian Revolution], there are few better places to turn than “Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution,” by Laurent Dubois, a Duke University scholar of the French Caribbean. Now Dubois has brought Haiti’s story up to the present in an equally well-written new book, “Haiti: The Aftershocks of History,” which is enriched by his careful attention to what Haitian intellectuals have had to say about their country over the last two centuries.
The Times also covers, here, the dramatically titled Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty (Viking), by John M. Barry. Historian Joyce E. Chaplin reviews.

Besides offering another take on Roger Williams (here), the Wall Street Journal covers two new biographies: Saladin (Harvard University Press), by Anne-Marie Eddé (a portrait of the famous twelfth century Muslim ruler) (here), and Leon Trotsky: A Revolutionary's Life (Yale University Press), by Joshua Rubenstein (here).

"In the spirit of the holidays," the New Republic: The Book has re-run a selection of reviews from earlier this year, including the amusing "Macho Pointy-Head," a review of Theodore Roosevelt's History of the United States: His Own Words.

Happy New Year!