Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Book Roundup

Lincoln Caplan reviews Reason and Imagination: The Selected Correspondence of Learned Hand: 1897–1961 (Oxford) edited by Constance Jordan, with a preface by Ronald Dworkin, in the New York Review of Books.
"Constance Jordan, a professor of English and Comparative Literature Emerita at Claremont Graduate University in California, explains in a well-informed introduction to Reason and Imagination: The Selected Correspondence of Learned Hand—she is Hand’s granddaughter and edited this sympathetic, dense, and finely annotated array of letters by and to him—Judge Hand’s self-doubt matched his philosophical skepticism. He rejected the idea that life is governed by some absolute truth, favoring what he called the “craftsman spirit.”"
Other reviews this week include the Washington Post's review of Churchill's Bomb: How the United States Overtook Britain in the First Nuclear Arms Race (Basic) by Graham Farmelo, and a review of David Graeber's Debt: The First 5000 Years (Melville House) on Books and Ideas.

Now available to non-subscribers, there is a review of Eric Hobsbawm's last book Fractured Times: Culture and Society in the Twentieth Century (New Press) in The Nation.
"Hobsbawm’s best-known books focused on the material side of human life, or on what Marxists term “the forces and relations of production”—namely, technological trends, wealth creation, class formation and class struggle. But on the evidence of Fractured Times, inside this materialist there was an aesthete waiting to come out. The collection is a fascinating and intensely observed history of the cultural twentieth century, and a worthy complement to Hobsbawm’s economic, political and social histories."
Lastly, H-Net adds a review of Klaus Bachmann, Peter Lambertz, and Thomas Sparrow-Botero's When Justice Meets Politics: Independence and Autonomy of Ad Hoc International Criminal Tribunals (Peter Lang International Academic Publishers).
"This book offers a valuable reading and an important empirical test of optimistic expectations of Tribunals’ independence and contribution in transitional justice. It reveals a novel insight into the several aspects of contested relation of justice vs. politics in global arena and sets new approaches in dealing with the subject."