Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Book Roundup

Dissent has a review by Samuel Moyn titled, "Fantasies of Federalism," which reviews both Frederick Cooper's Citizenship between Empire and Nations: Remaking France and French Africa, 1945-1960 (Princeton University Press) and Gary Wilder's Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World (Duke University Press).

On Books & Ideas, Olivier Burtin reviews Let Us Fight as Free Men: Black Soldiers and Civil Rights by Christine Knauer (University of Pennsylvania Press).
"The greatest scholarly contribution of Let Us Fight as Free Men, its emphasis on discourse and textual analysis, is also the source of its greatest limitation. By focusing so much on what her actors said, Knauer often either forgets to provide the necessary contextual information—for instance when she mentions the first victory in Korea by an all-black unit in July 1950 (p. 175) without telling us exactly how this victory came about—or, inversely, dwells on topics that seem only loosely connected with the main theme of her story—as is the case with her lengthy discussion of how the black press fell victim to Orientalist clichés in its coverage of South Korean soldiers and women (pp. 153-159). The result is a book whose narrative thread may be difficult to follow for readers not already familiar with the details of this time period."
The Federal Lawyer has new reviews this week, including one of a volume edited by John Oberdiek, Philosophical Foundations of the Law of Torts (Oxford University Press) and another review of Sotirios Barber's The Fallacies of States' Rights (Harvard University Press). Both reviews are available here.

The Los Angeles Review of Books has a review of Robert P. Burns's Kafka's Law: The Trial and American Criminal Justice (University of Chicago Press).
"JUSTICE ANTHONY KENNEDY once famously suggested that the procedural nightmare depicted in Franz Kafka’s The Trial “is actually closer to reality than fantasy as far as the client’s perception” of our criminal justice system. In his short but dense work, Kafka’s Law: The Trial and American Criminal Justice, Robert P. Burns takes the comparison further, beyond the client’s perception to the realities of our system itself. This is a deeply pessimistic study about the way justice is meted out in this country. "
The New Books series has an interview with Keith Wailoo about his new book, Pain: A Political History (Johns Hopkins University Press) and another interview with Jan Lemnitzer about his book, Power, Law and the End of Privateering (Palgrave).

There are two reviews of Jill Leovy's Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America (Random House), one in the Los Angeles Times and a second in The New York Times. The former says of the book,
""Ghettoside" is her penetrating look at the Los Angeles Police Department — the title is taken from the nickname a Watts gang member gave to his neighborhood. A staff writer at the L.A. Times and the creator of a popular blog, Homicide Report, Leovy is not a newcomer to crime reporting. In "Ghettoside," she adopts an anthropologist's gaze to unravel the workings of this tribe. She tracks the daily movements of homicide detectives working cases that rarely attract the media spotlight. Think "Boyz N the Hood," not "Chinatown" and "L.A. Confidential." This is gritty reporting that matches the police work behind it."

On H-Net, Karen J. Alter's The New Terrain of International Law: Courts, Politics, Rights (Princeton University Press) is reviewed.

"Karen J. Alter’s The New Terrain of International Law explores the immense contribution that international courts and tribunals provide in the development and strengthening of international law and international politics. In doing so, Alter, a professor of political science and law at Northwestern University, builds from an impressive amount of historical, political, and legal data. Alter starts from the observation that the proliferation of international courts and tribunals is a real paradigm changer for international law, and, importantly, she seeks to conceptualize how these new-style international courts affect domestic and international politics across different states, courts, cases, and issues."