Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Book Roundup

Greetings from The Terrace at the University of Wisconsin, Madison--quite possibly the happiest place to finish up a Sunday Book Roundup after a week in the archives!

Up on H-Net is a review of Revolutions: A Very Short Introduction by Jack A. Goldstone (Oxford University Press).

Another review from H-Net is of Black Woman Reformer: Ida B. Wells, Lynching, and Transatlantic Activism by Sarah L. Silkey (University of Georgia Press).

Common-Place has a new special July issue out with four (!) reviews. The first is a review of Thomas P. Slaughter's Independence: The Tangled Roots of the American Revolution (Hill & Wang).
"Rather than writing an extended brief for Slaughter's contentions, Independence provides a broad and yet selective sweep of the history of the thirteen colonies that became the original United States. The challenge for any author is that there is no best way to cover that much time and space in a straightforward story. Slaughter decides on a more episodic approach, nonetheless managing to weave in a great many incidents and issues that serve as pieces to the puzzle."
Also in the new July issue is a review of Corinne T. Field's The Struggle for Equal Adulthood: Gender, Race, Age, and the Fight for Citizenship in Antebellum America (UNC Press).
"If you are not currently convinced that age should be a historical category of analysis alongside gender, race, class, and disability, Corinne Field's new book should go a long way toward persuading you. The Struggle for Equal Adulthood: Gender, Race, Age, and the Fight for Citizenship in Antebellum America advances the study of citizenship in the nineteenth-century United States by showing how the political significance of maturity and adulthood were at the center of women's and African Americans' efforts to expand democracy to its full meaning and potential."
The third review from Common-Place is a review of Matthew Garrett's Episodic Poetics: Politics and Literary Form After the Constitution (Oxford University Press), which
"explores the complex textures that resulted when the post-constitutional moment's consolidating energies found verbal expression in the fragmentary form of the period's literary production. The book is a "microstructural or subgeneric literary history" (88). It follows the episode—an "integral, but also extractable unit of any narrative" across a range of genres: political essay, memoir, novel, and miscellany (3). As Garrett argues in his lucid introduction, the episode is a dialectical form, "a part that exists as such only in relation to a real or implied whole" (4). This mediating between the one and the many makes the episode an especially rich site for analyzing the politics of form in the early nation."
Lastly, Jenna M. Gibbs's Performing the Temple of Liberty: Slavery, Theater, and Popular Culture in London and Philadelphia, 1760-1850 (Johns Hopkins University Press) is reviewed in Common-Place as well.
"Jenna Gibbs's Performing the Temple of Liberty begins with a fanciful invitation to the reader to accompany her on a "stroll along the Thames River," past the scene of slaves being led to ships that will transport them for sale overseas, towards taverns and coffeehouses where Londoners might have been discussing the Haymarket Theatre's current production of Colman's Inkle and Yarico. She juxtaposes these two images—shackled black bodies en route to the Americas with a play featuring white bodies in blackface debating the moral evils of slavery—to offer a point of entry into her larger subject: a comparative study of performance culture and abolitionism in London and Philadelphia during the latter part of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century."
As usual, the New Books series has posted several interesting interviews this week, including an interview with Megan Threlkeld about her book, Pan-American Women: U.S. Internationalists and Revolutionary Mexico (University of Pennsylvania Press).

Also interviewed is William Elliot III and Melinda Lewis, who discuss their book, The Real College Debt Crisis: How Student Borrowing Threatens Financial Well-Being and Erodes the American Dream (Praeger).

Kyle Volk, author of Moral Minorities and the Making of American Democracy (Oxford University Press) is interviewed, too.
"His book ... provides a compelling narrative of how nineteenth-century Americans negotiated the tension between majority rule and minority rights and between representative democracy and popular democracy. He focuses on debates in the antebellum northern states where moral reform efforts of Sabbatarians, temperance activist, and racial segregationists circumvented representative government to assert their social vision through direct majority rule."
HNN has posted a review of David Sehat's The Jefferson Rule: How the Founding Fathers Became Infallible and Our Politics Inflexible (Simon & Schuster).

And finally, in a piece titled, "How NASA advanced the cause of African Americans during the Civil Rights movement," Richard Paul and Steven Moss's We Could Not Fail: The First African Americans in the Space Program (University of Texas Press) is reviewed in The Washington Post.