Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday Book Roundup

Having taken last weekend off, this week's roundup is especially full. Starting with The New Rambler, Alison Lacroix reviews Our Lives, Our Fortunes and Our Sacred Honor: The Forging of American Independence, 1774-1776 by Richard Beeman (Basic Books).
"Beeman’s book tells the story of the Continental Congress with the Declaration as the endpoint, but his focus is mapping the debates rather than assuming independence as a goal. Indeed, one of the great strengths of the book is its insistence on the uncertainty and instability that surrounded the Continental Congress between 1774 and 1776."
H-Net has added several new reviews. There's a review of Jad Adams's Women and the Vote: A World History (Oxford University Press).

Also on H-Net is a review of Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town (University of North Carolina Press) by Ellen Griffith Spears.
"Thus the Anniston campaigns also revealed important challenges created by racial and class differences: white middle-class and professional people dominated the anti-incinerator fight whereas the African American community spearheaded the PCB initiative, largely as a result of residential geography. When activists in both efforts joined forces, they did so uneasily. For instance, Spears reveals that the Monsanto campaign linked whites whose relatives and friends had been mid-century instigators of racial violence with residents of color who had sometimes been the targets of that violence. Despite these conflicts, legal victory over Monsanto and the emergence of a national campaign that forced the army to both provide residents with protective equipment and operate with greater transparency revealed the the power of grassroots activism."
Unwritten Verities: The Making of England's Vernacular Legal Culture, 1463-1549 by Sebastian Sobecki (University of Notre Dame Press) is reviewed on H-Net, here.
"The book deftly draws together late medieval and early modern legists, philosophers, poets, and theologians to offer a full picture of English humanism, arguing on behalf of its oral traditions and unwritten customs."
Barbara Krauthamer's Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South (UNC Press) is another book reviewed on H-Net.
"Barbara Krauthamer’s study of African Americans in the nineteenth-century Choctaw and Chickasaw nations encourages scholars to rethink the political trajectory, geographical spaces, and lived experience of slavery and emancipation. Throughout Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South, Krauthamer weaves analysis of sectionalism, bondage, resistance, transitions to freedom, and Indian sovereignty into a compelling narrative of race in America."
Melvin Urofsky's Dissent and the Supreme Court: Its Role in the Court's History and the Nation's Constitutional Dialogue (Pantheon) is reviewed by Dahlia Lithwick for The New York Times.

And Emily Bazelon reviews Kerry Eleveld's Don't Tell Me to Wait: How the Fight for Gay Rights Changed America and Transformed Obama's Presidency (Basic), also in the NYT.

We've missed many interviews from New Books, including interviews with