Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday Book Roundup

In The New York Review of Books, Jed S. Rakoff reviews Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations by Brandon L. Garrett (Harvard University Press).
"In Too Big to Jail, Brandon Garrett, a highly regarded law professor at the University of Virginia, presents for a lay readership a detailed and comprehensive examination of deferred corporate prosecutions, and corporate criminal prosecutions generally, and concludes that they have been, on the whole, ineffective. According to Garrett, “the big story of the twenty-first century” in corporate prosecutions is that “prosecutors now try to rehabilitate a company by helping it to put systems in place to detect and prevent crime among its employees and, more broadly, to foster a culture of ethics and integrity inside the company.”"
Last week the Book Roundup noted a few reviews of Ghettoside (Random House). Author Jill Leovy was interviewed by The New Republic about her book, and you can find an edited version of that interview here.

From New Books in Law, there is an interview with Susan Byrne about her new book, Law and History in Cervantes' Don Quixote (University of Toronto Press).

Eric Foner's new Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad (Norton) is reviewed this week in the New York Times.

The forthcoming, In the Family Way: Illegitimacy Between the Great War and the Swinging Sixties, a "new history of mid-century illegitimacy" in Britain, by Jane Robinson (Viking) is reviewed in The Guardian.

Samuel Moyn's Human Rights and the Uses of History (Verso) is reviewed on H-Net.
"The present collection of essays, of which all but one were previously published as (mainly review) articles in the Nation between 2007 and 2013, seems to have been motivated by the success of the preceding book. The contributions revisit most of what was already said in The Last Utopia, with disappointingly few responses to the critical appraisals. While this is a compilation of very readable, eloquent texts, which make the engagement an intellectual pleasure, it does not really add substantial value to the previously presented perspectives and at times lack academic rigor. Having said this, the essays remain a refreshing take on a contested notion that all too often is taken for granted as a universal public good to be promoted. Moyn, however, manages to raise awareness and caution that the case is not so simple."
The New Statesman has a review of Jo Guldi and David Armitage's The History Manifesto (Cambridge University Press), "The return of big history: the long past is antidote to short-termism."
"...Guldi and Armitage insist that historical writing can provide the answer to short-termism, if properly conceived and delivered. In the last quarter of the 20th century, they argue, most historians produced scholarly monographs or doctoral dissertations about narrow periods and specific topics, or they indulged in microhistories of “exceptionally normal” episodes from everyday life, such as Robert Darnton’s investigation of a bizarre cat massacre in 18th-century Paris. There seemed little appetite to explore the longue durée, a term popularised in the 1950s by Fernand Braudel and other scholars associated with the French journal Annales."
And, for The Nation, Samuel Moyn reviews three books on the profession: Lynn Hunt's Writing History in the Global Era (Norton), Jo Guildi and David Armitage's The History Manifesto (Cambridge University Press), and Hayden White's The Practical Past (Northwestern University Press).

 The New Statesman reviews two works on the war on drugs: Johann Hari's Chasing the Scream: the First and Last Days of the War on Drugs (Bloomsbury Circus) and Edward Follis and Douglas Century's The Dart Art: My Undercover Life in Global Narco-Terroism (Scribe).