Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Book Roundup

In The Nation, two books--The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor by William Easterly (Basic) and Thinking Small: The United States and the Lure of Community Development by Daniel Immerwahr (Harvard University Press)--are reviewed in "Development and Humanitarian Politics."

n+1 has a review by Daniel Immerwahr, "What Did You Do in the War, Doctor?" that examines Michal Shapira's The War Inside: Psychoanalysis, Total War, and the Making of the Democratic Self in Postwar Britain (Cambridge) and Peter Mandler's Return from the Natives: How Margaret Mean Won the Second World War and Lost the Cold War (Yale University Press).

The New Books series has a few interesting interviews this week.

On H-Net there is a review of Contemporary Challenges to the Laws of War: Essays in Honor of Professor Peter Rowe edited by Caroline Harvey, James Summers, and Nigel D. White (Cambridge University Press).
"Contemporary Challenges to the Laws of War addresses the challenges modern warfare poses to the existing laws that govern the actions of nation-states and nonstate actors in armed conflict. This book is a compilation of essays that are united by an inquisitive theme—“whether the existing laws of war are fit for the purpose” (pp. xix-xxx). The introduction of the book discusses the purpose in historical terms relating to Hague Law and Geneva Law. From this perspective, the purpose of the laws of war is to regulate hostilities. Specifically, the law pursues this purpose by providing protections for certain individuals on the battlefield (Geneva Law) and limiting the means and methods of warfare (Hague Law)."
Also up on H-Net is a review of William C. Van Norman's Shade-Grown Slavery: The Lives of Slaves on Coffee Plantations in Cuba (Vanderbilt University Press); a review of William A. Link's Atlanta, Cradle of the New South: Race and Remembering the Civil War's Aftermath (UNC Press); and a review of Alan L. Olmsted and Paul W. Rhodes's Arresting Contagion: Science, Policy, and Conflicts over Animal Disease Control (Harvard University Press).

There is a new extra issue of Common-Place online now, with two reviews of interest to legal historians. The first is a review of Jessica M. Lepler's The Many Panics of 1837: People, Politics, and the Creation of a Transatlantic Financial Crisis (Cambridge University Press). The second is a review of Caleb Smith's The Oracle and the Curse: A Poetics of Justice from the Revolution to the Civil War (Harvard University Press).
"Though situated as an examination of that seemingly most reasonable of realms, "the law's public sphere," this book tells a complex transatlantic story of the monumental difficulty, and perhaps the ultimate undesirability, of putting any particular analytical stock in arriving at a final distinction between reason and rationalization, argument and harangue (40). Viewed most broadly, this is a study of the intersecting stories of the early national and antebellum secularization of the law and the period's complementary desecularization of protest."
There is also a new issue of The Federal Lawyer. The online review examines The Mauthausen Trial: American Military Justice in Germany by Tomaz Jardim (Harvard University Press). Other reviews from the May issue can be found here.

The Guardian reviews Steven Bates's The Poisoner: The Life and Crimes of Victorian England's Most Notorious Doctor (Duckworth).

And, if you're feeling a little tired of being a professor, perhaps you'll be inspired by, "My own personal Fight Club: How an English professor became a cage fighter," an excerpt from Professor Jonathan Gottschall's The Professor in the Cage: Why Men Fight and Why We Love to Watch (Penguin) available on Salon.