Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sunday Book Review Roundup

Good morning--err, afternoon--legal historians. I hope you enjoy these legal history book reviews.

In the NYRB, Gordon Wood reviews two books on two different members of the Adams Family (Cousin It’s story remains untold, the two books are: James Traub’s John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit and Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams, Louisa Thomas’s take on John Quincy ADams’ wife, who “went further than Abigail had in seeking to have some part in her husband’s public life” ). Susan Dunn reviews two books about a more famous first lady--Blanche Wiesen Cook’s Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol. 3: The War Years and After, 1939–1962, and Susan Quinn’s Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady). In the same publication, Diane Ravitch’s assessment of two books about school choice covers the recent history of the movement for choice and voucher programs.

The Guardian features a list of “notable history books of 2016,” which includes Jon Wilson’s India Conquered: Britain’s Raj and the Chaos of Empire and Philippe Sands’ East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity .

In the Wall St. Journal, D.G. Hart reviews “The Tragedy of U.S. Foreign Policy” by Walter A. McDougall, which suggests that America’s civil religion—the belief in our nation’s special purpose and blessing from God—has led to folly abroad. In The World War That Never Ended, Brendan Simms reviews “The Vanquished: Why the First World War Failed to End” by Robert Gerwarth. 

Stephen A. Schuker reviewsThe Pursuit of Power,” Richard J. Evans’s “ambitious synthesis” of Europe in “the long 19th century” (or the period from the fall of Napoleon to the outbreak of World War I.). And finally, WSJ’s Felipe Fernández-Armesto reviews Philippe Girard’s new biography of Toussaint Louverture, which is also assessed in the New Republic.
The Chicago Tribune takes on David Oshinksy’s “deeply engrossing” history of Bellvue. The New Yorker “briefly notesDouglas R. Egerton’s Thunder at the Gates, a history of three black regiments in the Civil War. The London Review of Books covers The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine by Ben Ehrenreich. Booked, a monthly series of Q&As with Dissent contributing editor Timothy Shenk features a conversation with K. Sabeel Rahman about his new book, Democracy against Domination.

In the new books network, you can hear Lena Salaymeh discuss her Beginnings of Islamic Law: Late Antique Islamicate Legal Traditions; William H. Shaw on Utilitarianism and the Ethics of War and Karen Tani discuss her first book, States of Dependency: Welfare, Rights and American Governance, 1935-1972.