Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday Book Roundup

Here's a collection of book reviews for this weekend:

Tm Weiner's book, One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon (Holt) is adapted for essay form in The Nation, and is reviewed by the History News Network here.

Christopher Dickey's Our Man in Charleston: Britain's Secret Agent in the Civil War South (Crown) is reviewed in The New York Times here and in excerpt form in The Daily Beast here. Here's an excerpt of the excerpt:
"Under federal law the African slave trade was deemed piracy, and the penalty was death. Yet when the Echo and other African slave-trade cases came before the federal courts in the South, the local grand juries refused to indict. Some businessmen figured they had a green light to start importing Africans. The Wanderer and the Clotilda were the last known slave ships to land their cargos in the U.S., in 1858 and 1860, respectively. Southerners were growing ever more confident about their ability to defy the federal government and destroy national institutions that did not bend to their will, including the Democratic Party, which they had long dominated."
Diplomatic Games: Sport, Statecraft, and International Relations since 1945 edited by Heather L. Dichter and Andrew L. Johns (University Press of Kentucky) is reviewed on H-Net.

Alex Lichtenstein reviews James Neff's Vendetta: Bobby Kennedy Versus Jimmy Hoffa (Little Brown) for The Washington Post.
"Neff’s saga ends with a whimper rather than a bang, as Kennedy’s Justice Department finally convicts Hoffa for jury tampering and the skimming of union pension funds in 1964. Peopled by larger-than life, clever lawyers, sleazy investigators, obese hoodlums and shadowy turncoats, “Vendetta” will grab readers’ attention. But it offers precious few insights into the larger fate of the union movement or one of its most powerful and tragic figures."
New Books in History interviews Carlos K. Blanton about his new biography, George I. Sanchez: The Long Fight for Mexican American Integration (Yale University Press).

Pubic Books has a multi-book review by Rinku Sen, "The End of Feminism? Far From It," examining Katha Pollitt's Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights (Picador), Feminism Unfinished: A Short Surprising History of the American Women's Movement by Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, and Astrid Henry (Liveright), and Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist (Harper Perennial). Of Feminism Unfinished, the review reads:
"Henry also covers Anita Hill’s revelations of sexual harassment during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. The hearing itself served as a symbol of how far women had come—here was an African American woman lawyer—and how that progress was complicated by the continued discrimination they faced in the workplace. Hill, and supporting feminist organizations, had a long climb—too long, it turned out—in convincing an overwhelmingly male Congress that a history of sexual harassment ought to keep someone off the Supreme Court. Hill was unsuccessful politically in that moment, yet her story had a lasting progressive effect not only on workplace law, but also on workplace culture."