Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday Book Roundup

This week The New York Times adds several reviews that might be of interest to readers, including a review of Matt Bai's All The Truth is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid (Knopf). For more politics and press, the NY Times also has a review of Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion (Simon & Schuster) by Harold Holzer. And, if presidential history is your thing, then read this review of Edward J. Larson's The Return of George Washington: 1783-1789 (HarperCollins), also in the NY Times.

H-Net has added new reviews as well. There is a review of The Independence of India and Pakistan: New Approaches and Reflections (Oxford University Press), a volume edited by Ian Talbot.  Also on H-Net is a review of Hilary J. Moss's Schooling Citizens: The Struggle for African American Education in Antebellum America (University of Chicago Press).

The Frontier Crimes Regulation: A History in Documents by Robert Nichols (Oxford University Press) is reviewed on H-Net, too.
"By 1886, where Robert Nichols begins this book, a clear consensus had emerged within the colonial administration in Peshawar about the need to create a separate administration and set of laws to deal with what they called frontier crimes. These included retaliatory murders that were a product of the blood feuds endemic to the region, violence stemming from perceived slights on a group's honor (mostly focusing on issues relating to women's behavior), and looting raids made against villages in British administered territory by tribes beyond their direct control. What made frontier crimes different from ordinary crimes was that the perpetrators were acting in accord with their own cultural values and that their actions had the tacit acceptance of the local population—sometimes even its overt approval."
The New Books series has a couple of interesting interviews this week as well. Terry Golway talks about his book, Machine Made: Tammany Hall and the Creation of Modern American Politics (Liveright), with New Books in History. Kirk Randazzo talks with New Books in Law about his co-written book (with Richard Waterman) Checking the Courts: Law, Ideology, and Contingent Discretion (SUNY Press).

The latest issue of the Law and Politics Books Review is out with a review of Making the Modern American Fiscal State: Law, Politics, and the Rise of Progressive Taxation, 1877-1929 (Cambridge University Press) by Ajay K. Mehrotra, as well as a double book review of both Bottlenecks: A New Theory of Equal Opportunity by Joseph Fishkin (Oxford University Press) and Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State by Megan Ming Francis (Cambridge University Press).
"Both Megan Ming Francis’ CIVIL RIGHTS AND THE MAKING OF THE MODERN AMERICAN STATE and Joseph R. Fishkin’s BOTTLENECKS: A NEW THEORY OF EQUAL OPPORTUNITY take up the question of social equality in novel and important ways. Francis’ historically-based investigation of the early role that the National Organization for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) played in developing twentieth century civil rights litigation tactics invites us to reconsider the framework scholars use to think about the civil rights movement. In a different mode of questioning, Fishkin’s analysis of some extant theories of equal opportunity leads him to develop his own theory with an eye to its legal and policy implications. While these books are very different from one another, each one of them presents a persuasive contribution to the literatures in which they are engaged. "

HNN reviews Mark M. Smith's The Smell of Battle, The Taste of Siege: A Sensory History of the Civil War (Oxford University Press). There's also a review of Stanley Aronowitz's The Death and Life of American Labor: Toward a New Workers' Movement (Verso)

Malcolm Gaskill's Between Two Worlds: How the English Became Americans (Basic) is reviewed in the Washington Independent Review of Books. There's also a review of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery & the Making of American Capitalism (Basic).

In The Oxonian Review, Jo Guldi and David Armitage's The History Manifesto (Cambridge University Press) is reviewed.
"History, according to Jo Guldi and David Armitage, needs a confidence boost. It needs to be bolder, more assured, more engaged—and most of all, it needs to be bigger.
If history today is in trouble, they argue, the roots of the problem lie in the 1970s, when historians began to focus their attention more closely than ever before on the obscure stories of the ordinary, the marginalised, and the oppressed. This kind of history, what the authors call the Short Past, “reflected a call of conscience, a determination to make the institutions of history align with a more critical politics.” But that sense of purpose has gone astray. Its call has been drowned out by the demands of the historical career itself, by a cacophony of articles and monographs speaking to smaller and smaller audiences of anxious, precarious professionals. The History Manifesto is an intervention not just in the scholarly sense—it’s also the kind you organise for an addict."
Katha Pollitt discusses her new book, Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights (Picador), at Politics & Prose via Slate.