Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Book Roundup

A new issue of the Federal Lawyer is out with several new reviews, including reviews of Stephen Harper's The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis (Basic Books), Stuart Banner's American
Property: A History of How, Why, and What We Own (Harvard), and William Cooper's We Have the War Upon Us: The Onset of the Civil War, November 1960-April 1961 (Knopf). (All reviews can be found here.) Also in this issue, Henry Cohen reviews Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States 1861-1865 (Norton) by James Oakes. Cohen writes,
"Freedom National is distinctive not only for its thesis that restoration of the union and the abolition of slavery were inseparable from the start, but for Oakes’ descriptions of how, as a practical matter, slavery collapsed. He examines, for instance, the upheavals in the four border states, where slaves fled to Union lines in large numbers and were not returned to their owners, despite the fact that these states were not subject to the Confiscation Acts or the Emancipation Proclamation. He discusses the “self-emancipation” of slaves who stayed behind when their owners fled their plantations upon the arrival of Union troops. He reports how, in 1862, “[a]fter decades of reluctance the Americans finally signed a slave-trade treaty that would allow the British to search American ships suspected of engaging in the illegal transatlantic slave trade.” He discusses how, after Congress abolished slavery in the District of Columbia in 1862, thousands of Maryland slaves fled to the District. He discusses how slaveholders moved their slaves to plantations farther inland in order to distance them from Union lines to which they could flee, and how the Union established “contraband camps” to accommodate the large number of slaves who did flee. He discusses how Union officers dealt with slave mothers who fled to Union lines with their children but could not be put to work as the men were." 
H-Net adds a review of Lisa G. Materson's For the Freedom of Her Race: Black Women and Electoral Politics in Illinois, 1877-1932 (University of North Carolina Press).

Susan David DeMaine has posted on SSRN her recent review of Prigg v. Pennsylvania: Slavery, the Supreme Court, and the Ambivalent Constitution (University Press of Kansas) by Robert Baker. Here's the abstract:
"In 1842, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Prigg v. Pennsylvania, resolving a dispute about fugitive slave rendition that had raged between the states for decades. H. Robert Baker’s analysis of the decision and the events that led up to it is the first book-length work to investigate Prigg and its place in American history. Baker traces the development of fugitive slave laws and recounts the heart-wrenching story that lies behind Prigg to shed light on the Supreme Court’s decision and the gradual clarification of American federalism. This review explores Baker's coverage of the human and legal stories at stake in the Prigg decision."
HNN adds a review of Front Porch Politics: The Forgotten Heyday of American Activism in the 1970s and 1980s (Hill and Wang) by Michael Stewart Foley.
"As Foley chalks up the sheer number of local and regional movements, it becomes hard not to agree with him: neighborhoods mobilized against toxic waste dumps, young women established battered women’s shelters, poor and working families squatted in abandoned housing in declining cities, rust-belt industrial workers took over factories discarded by multi-national corporations. Something more than civic disengagement and conservative rule clearly was going on in the wake of the 1960s."
Other reviews this week include a review of A Wild Justice : The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America (Norton) by Evan J. Mandery in the LA Review of Books.

Also, the Washington Post reviews Stephen Kinzer's The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War (Times Books).

Cass Sunstein reviews The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble Over Earth’s Future (Yale University Press) by Paul Sabin in the New York Review of Books.

In the New Republic Sunil Khilnani reviews The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide (Knopf) by Gary J. Bass.

Readers might also be interested in Jackson Lears's multi-book review titled "Get Happy!!" in the Nation.