Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Book Roundup

In the Chronicle of Higher Education there is a review of The Allure of the Archives (Lewis Walpole Series) in which "the historian Arlette Farge conveys how much life can burst from brittle old pages."

H-Net also has several reviews of interest, including a review of Andreas Wimmer's Waves of War: Nationalism, State Formation, and Ethnic Exclusion in the Modern World (Cambridge University Press) as well as a review of Jo Becker's Campaigning for Justice: Human Rights Advocacy in Practice (Stanford University Press). Andrew E. Busch's Truman's Triumphs: The 1948 Election and the Making of Postwar America (University Press of Kansas) has also been reviewed on H-Net.
"Busch’s purpose in Truman’s Triumphs is straightforward. His goal is to analyze the 1948 election, paying heightened attention to the nomination process, the congressional elections, and public opinion. Joining other scholars, Busch argues that the 1948 election was a validation of the domestic policy of the New Deal, of the foreign policy of containment, and of the federal policy advocating civil rights. Busch contributes the unique interpretation that the 1948 election demonstrated both the “resilience” and “vulnerability” of the New Deal coalition (p. 210). He points out that although Truman trailed in the polls and came from behind, he also had significant advantages such as the New Deal coalition. In addition, Busch proves that although the Democrats suffered from obvious schisms, the Republicans were less noticeably but no less critically divided."

Adrian Brettle takes a look at "The Past, Present, and Future of Confederate Nationalism" in a review of two books: Paul Quigley's Shifting Grounds: Nationalism and the American South, 1848-1865 (Oxford University Press), and Coleman Hutchison's Apples and Ashes: Literature, Nationalism, and the Confederate States of America, (University of Georgia Press).
"Although Hutchison and Quigley tackle the larger topic of Southern nationalism from the antebellum era to Reconstruction, they focus on the experience of the Civil War and Confederate nationalism and argue that such nationalism preceded the formation of the Confederacy. Quigley shows the emergence of Southern nationalism “as a variant” and “fringe” of American nationalism. But, by evolving into a mainstream belief, he notes, it was transformed into Confederate nationalism as it struggled to reconcile its two inherent contradictions: first, a slavery based creed needing to appeal to non-slaveholders; and second, a “nationalism that derived its legitimacy from the ostensibly anti-national principle of State rights” (p. 13). Hutchison, by way of using the Confederacy as a case study, seeks to contribute to a wider investigation of the role of various genres of literature in the emerging of political communities. At the same time, Hutchison also wishes to prove his case that literary nationalists helped produce the Confederacy and created a “literary nationalism that was not only internationally minded, but also more durable than its state apparatus” (p. 4)."
And, here's one we missed a few months back, a review of Rick Baldoz's The Third Asiatic Invasion: Empire and Migration in Filipino America, 1898-1946  (New York University Press), "an important work for historians seeking to bridge the fields of immigration and imperial studies."

The LA Review of Books reviews The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America (University of Minnesota) by Thomas King.
"King’s tone is breezy and light, full of funny stories and self-deprecating jokes, but just below that geniality lies a deep reservoir of bitterness over the treatment of Indians in Canada and the United States that continues on to this day. White North Americans, he argues, prefer their Indians noble, primitive, and safely extinct, and actual, live Indians who stubbornly insist on their rights as an independent people they regard as at best a troublesome nuisance.

Salon again this week publishes an excerpt from a law and history related book, Keeping It Civil: The Case of the Pre-nup and the Porsche & Other True Accounts from the Files of a Family Lawyer by Margaret Klaw (Algonquin Books).

There are a few reviews this week of Year Zero: A History of 1945 (Penguin) by Ian Buruma, here in the New York Times and here in the New York Review of Books.

There's also two reviews of The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler (Belknap Press) by Ben Urwand, one in the Washington Post, and a second in the Wall Street Journal.