Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Book Roundup

Check out these reviews and author interviews this weekend:

The Los Angeles Review of Books has a review of Mitchel P. Roth's An Eye for an Eye: A Global History of Crime and Punishment (Reaktion Books).
"ON MY FIRST READING of An Eye for an Eye, Mitchel P. Roth’s new book, I recall closing it and asking myself a series of questions: “What have I learned?,” “How do I feel about what I had read?,” “Was it worth my time and effort?” This book is not a quick read, not a book where you can quickly turn to the next page. Often you have to, and want to, ponder what you’ve just read. But if you are interested in the subject matter, or if you are a judge, lawyer, elected official, or a “student” of jurisprudence, reading this book will be worth your time and effort."
The March issue of The Federal Lawyer has a review of Lackland H. Bloom, Jr.'s Do Great Cases Make Bad Law? (Oxford University Press) and a review of Guenter B. Risse's Plague, Fear, and Politics in San Francisco's Chinatown (Johns Hopkins University Press).

From the New Books series, there is an interview with Gavin Wright about his book, Sharing the Prize: The Economics of the Civil Rights Revolution in the American South (Harvard University Press).

There's also an interview with David Krugler about his recently published book, 1919, The Year of Racial Violence: How African Americans Fought Back (Cambridge University Press).

And lastly, there is an interview with Lisa Tetrault in which she discusses The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women's Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898 (University of North Carolina Press).
"Typically, the beginning of the women’s rights movement in the United States is dated to 1848, at the meeting in Seneca Falls, NY. This origins story, however, did not become commonplace until much later, a story not told during the antebellum period, but a story created in response to Reconstruction-era politics with broad-reaching implications for the direction of the movement. The myth also was effective for women’s rights leaders to deal with division within the movement and an attempt to unify a very diverse understanding of women’s rights. The Myth of Seneca Falls, poses a corrective to the narrative of Seneca Falls as the origin of women’s rights. Tetrault’s work brings attention to conflicts in a narrative that often jumps from 1848 to the final triumph—a woman’s right to vote—in 1920. Our author examines the creation of the myth, the lessons it provided, and the ways in which it transformed the women’s movement. Myths, she argues, are not false; rather they serve as shorthand for larger stories. They also neatly obscure conflict and contingency. While scholars have written alternative histories, Tetrault sees Seneca Falls as having undue influence and seeks to decenter the narrative by illuminating its contested nature."