Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Book Roundup

This weekend there are two reviews of Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary by Anita Anand (Bloomsbury)--one in The Guardian, here, and a second in the New Statesman, here.
"She was one of the early tax resisters, refusing to pay for licences for her dogs and carriage. She ignored all letters demanding payment until she was issued with a fine. Instead, she equipped her lawyer with a disquisition on female suffrage and the injustice of taxation without representation and sent him to court to read it to the judge. Eventually bailiffs turned up at her house and seized a seven-stone diamond ring, worth far more than she owed. But the suffragettes won the war: when the ring came up at auction, they flooded the auction house and refused to bid for it until the auctioneer was forced to lower the starting bid to £10 – at which price it was bought by a suffragette and returned to Sophia, amid rapturous applause."
Eric Foner has a new book out next week, Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad (Norton), and it is discussed in the NYT, here.

Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security by Sarah Chayes (Norton) is reviewed in The Washington Post.

Then there's Reclaiming American Virtue: The Human Rights Revolution of the 1970s by Barbara Keys (Harvard University Press), reviewed on H-Net.

Rick Perstein's The Invisible Bridge (Simon & Scuster) is reviewed on HNN.

Julian Zelizer's book, The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society (Penguin), is also popular among reviewers. The Washington Post reviews it here, Politics & Prose discusses the book with Zelizer here, and The New Yorker covers it here:
"The information comes at us steadily—there are useful facts on almost every page—but the narrative is spartanly furnished. There’s little portraiture, not much drama, and only enough mood-setting context to let us know what America was up to while L.B.J. and Congress were contriving new ways to strengthen the social safety net and exhaust the national treasury. The emphasis falls instead on the high, and sometimes low, workings of legislative government, as bills inched through committees and subcommittees, nicked and scarred in “mark-up” sessions; the feint-and-parry of parliamentary maneuver; and, above all, the votes. / This patient no-frills approach offers illuminations that a more cinematic treatment might not. "
And, All Eyes Are Upon Us: Race and Politics from Boston to Brooklyn by Jason Sokol (Basic) is also reviewed on HNN.