Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunday Book Review Roundup

This week Johnathan Yardley reviews JFK’s Last Hundred Days: The Transformation of a Man and the Emergence of a Great President (Penguin) by Thurston Clarke in the Washington Post.

Cass Sunstein has a review of Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton's Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending (Simon & Schuster) in the New Republic. He writes:
"Dunn and Norton offer five general principles. Of these, the preference for experiences over commodities may be the most important. Strikingly, people who move to new homes do not show even small increases in overall happiness. Harvard students care a lot about getting into the most beautiful and well-located of Harvard’s houses, but the evidence suggests that the students’ happiness is utterly unaffected by where they end up. By contrast, trips, movies, and sporting events can have a real impact on people’s subjective experience."
In the New York Times, Balance (Simon & Schuster) by Glenn Hubbard and Tim Kane, is reviewed. Here's an excerpt from the piece:
"Of all the proponents of human agency against the constraints of geography, culture and historical experience, economists are the most incisive. They obey scientific rigor rather than mere civilizational tendencies. And while the laws of economics yield a determinism all their own, adherence to such laws and the limits they impose, Glenn Hubbard and Tim Kane suggest, will allow any state or people to avoid tragic outcomes, regardless of geographical or other limitations."
H-Net has posted two reviews of books about WWII: P. M. H. Bell's Twelve Turning Points of the Second World War (Yale University Press) here, and Norman Stone's World War Two: A Short History  (Basic) here.

Lastly, readers might want to take a look at a review of a volume edited by Paul L. Tractenberg, Courting Justice: 10 New Jersey Cases That Shook the Nation (Rutgers University Press).