Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The Ragged Road to Abolition: Slavery and Freedom in New Jersey, 1775-1865

Contrary to popular perception, slavery persisted in the North well into the nineteenth century. This was especially the case in New Jersey, the last northern state to pass an abolition statute, in 1804. Because of the nature of the law, which freed children born to enslaved mothers only after they had served their mother's master for more than two decades, slavery continued in New Jersey through the Civil War. Passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865 finally destroyed its last vestiges.

The Ragged Road to Abolition chronicles the experiences of slaves and free blacks, as well as abolitionists and slaveholders, during slavery's slow northern death. Abolition in New Jersey during the American Revolution was a contested battle, in which constant economic devastation and fears of freed blacks overrunning the state government limited their ability to gain freedom. New Jersey's gradual abolition law kept at least a quarter of the state's black population in some degree of bondage until the 1830s. The sustained presence of slavery limited African American community formation and forced Jersey blacks to structure their households around multiple gradations of freedom while allowing New Jersey slaveholders to participate in the interstate slave trade until the 1850s. Slavery's persistence dulled white understanding of the meaning of black freedom and helped whites to associate "black" with "slave," enabling the further marginalization of New Jersey's growing free black population.

By demonstrating how deeply slavery influenced the political, economic, and social life of blacks and whites in New Jersey, this illuminating study shatters the perceived easy dichotomies between North and South or free states and slave states at the onset of the Civil War. [Description provided by the publisher]


The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution

We know it simply as "the pill," yet its genesis was anything but simple. Jonathan Eig's masterful narrative revolves around four principal characters: the fiery feminist Margaret Sanger, who was a champion of birth control in her campaign for the rights of women but neglected her own children in pursuit of free love; the beautiful Katharine McCormick, who owed her fortune to her wealthy husband, the son of the founder of International Harvester and a schizophrenic; the visionary scientist Gregory Pincus, who was dismissed by Harvard in the 1930s as a result of his experimentation with in vitro fertilization but who, after he was approached by Sanger and McCormick, grew obsessed with the idea of inventing a drug that could stop ovulation; and the telegenic John Rock, a Catholic doctor from Boston who battled his own church to become an enormously effective advocate in the effort to win public approval for the drug that would be marketed by Searle as Enovid.

Spanning the years from Sanger’s heady Greenwich Village days in the early twentieth century to trial tests in Puerto Rico in the 1950s to the cusp of the sexual revolution in the 1960s, this is a grand story of radical feminist politics, scientific ingenuity, establishment opposition, and, ultimately, a sea change in social attitudes. Brilliantly researched and briskly written, The Birth of the Pill is gripping social, cultural, and scientific history. [Description provided by the publisher]


The Case Against the Supreme Court

Most Americans share the perception that the Supreme Court is objective, but Erwin Chemerinsky, one of the country’s leading constitutional lawyers, shows that this is nonsense and always has been. The Court is made up of fallible individuals who base decisions on their own biases. Today, the Roberts Court is promoting a conservative agenda under the guise of following a neutral methodology, but notorious decisions, such as Bush vs. Gore and United Citizens, are hardly recent exceptions. This devastating book details, case by case, how the Court has largely failed throughout American history at its most important tasks and at the most important times.

Only someone of Chemerinsky’s stature and breadth of knowledge could take on this controversial topic. Powerfully arguing for term limits for justices and a reassessment of the institution as a whole, The Case Against the Supreme Court is a timely and important book that will be widely read and cited for decades to come. [Description provided by the publisher]


Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor and the Politics of Justice

Biskupic, the author of highly praised judicial biographies of Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, now pulls back the curtain on the Supreme Court nomination process, revealing the networks Sotomayor built and the skills she cultivated to go where no Hispanic has gone before. We see other potential candidates edged out along the way. And we see how, in challenging tradition and expanding our idea of a justice (as well as expanding her public persona), Sotomayor has created tension within and without the court’s marble halls. [Description provided by the publisher]


Malice Toward None: Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

Jack E. Levin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of George Washington: The Crossing, presents a beautifully designed chronicle—complete with maps, portraits, and other Civil War illustrations—detailing President Abraham Lincoln’s historic Second Inaugural Address. [Description provided by the publisher]


Monday, September 29, 2014

Inside Newark: Decline, Rebellion And The Search For Transformation

For decades, leaders in Newark, New Jersey, have claimed their city is about to return to its vibrant past. How accurate is this prediction? Is Newark on the verge of revitalization? Robert Curvin, who was one of New Jersey's outstanding civil rights leaders, examines the city, chronicling its history, politics, and culture. [Description provided by the publisher]


What Stays in Vegas: The World of Personal Data--Lifeblood of Big Business--and the End of Privacy as We Know It

“Data may be to the 21st century economy what oil was to the 20th, a hugely valuable asset essential to economic life and often a source of conflict. This entertaining yet deeply informative book is a great guide to what has, or hasn’t, happened and to what lies ahead.” Lawrence Summers, former Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, & President Emeritus and Charles W. Eliot University Professor of Harvard University


Gendering the Recession: Media and Culture in an Age of Austerity

This timely, necessary collection of essays provides feminist analyses of a recession-era media culture characterized by the reemergence and refashioning of familiar gender tropes, including crisis masculinity, coping women, and postfeminist self-renewal. Interpreting media forms as diverse as reality television, financial journalism, novels, lifestyle blogs, popular cinema, and advertising, the contributors reveal gendered narratives that recur across media forms too often considered in isolation from one another. They also show how, with a few notable exceptions, recession-era popular culture promotes affective normalcy and transformative individual enterprise under duress while avoiding meaningful critique of the privileged white male or the destructive aspects of Western capitalism. By acknowledging the contradictions between political rhetoric and popular culture, and between diverse screen fantasies and lived realities, Gendering the Recession helps to make sense of our postboom cultural moment. [Description provided by the publisher]


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Conceiving Cuba: Reproduction, Women, and the State in the Post-Soviet Era

Conceiving Cuba offers an intimate look at how, with the island’s political and economic future in question, reproduction has become the subject of heated public debates and agonizing private decisions. Drawing from several years of first-hand observations and interviews, anthropologist Elise Andaya takes us inside Cuba’s households and medical systems. Along the way, she introduces us to the women who wrestle with the difficult question of whether they can afford a child, as well as the doctors who, with only meager resources at their disposal, struggle to balance the needs of their patients with the mandates of the state. [provided by the publisher]


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

American Psychosis: How the Federal Government Destroyed the Mental Illness Treatment System

American Psychosis: How the Federal Government Destroyed the Mental Illness Treatment System, E. Fuller Torrey, Oxford University Press. RC443.T66

"Torrey's superb new book is a devastating indictment of America's mental health 'system,' a story of good intentions gone disastrously awry. Torrey combines a deep professional knowledge of severe mental illness with an unparalleled understanding of the politics and policy of mental health. His lively writing weaves together powerful and poignant examples of the problem with hard-headed and yet compassionate solutions to one of America's greatest public policy tragedies." -- Stuart M. Butler, PhD, Distinguished Fellow and Director, Center for Policy Innovation, The Heritage Foundation

Radical Relations: Lesbian Mothers, Gay Fathers, & Their Children in the United States since World War II

Radical Relations: Lesbian Mothers, Gay Fathers, & Their Children in the United States since World War II, Daniel Winunwe Rivers, The University of North Carolina Press, HQ75.28.R58

In Radical Relations, Daniel Winunwe Rivers offers a previously untold story of the American family: the first history of lesbian and gay parents and their children in the United States. [description provided by the publisher]

Double Down: Game Cgange 2012, Mark Halperin and John Heileman

Double Down: Game Cgange 2012, Mark Halperin and John Heileman, E910.H35

In Double Down, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann take the reader into back rooms and closed-door meetings, laying bare the secret history of the 2012 campaign for a panoramic account of an election that was as hard fought as it was lastingly consequential. [description provided by the publisher]

Norman Mailer: A Double Live, J. Michael Lennon

Norman Mailer: A Double Live, J. Michael Lennon, PS3525.A4152.Z7358

Michael Lennon knew Mailer for thirty-five years, and in writing this biography, he has had the cooperation of Mailer’s late widow, Norris Church, his ex-wives, and all of his children, as well as his sister, Barbara. He also had access to Mailer’s vast, unpublished correspondence and papers, and he interviewed dozens of people who knew Mailer. Norman Mailer: A Double Life gives us the man in full, a remarkable and unique figure in the context of his times. [description provided by the publisher]

The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom and Deception in the New World

The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom and Deception in the New World, Greg Grandin, HT1121.G73

From the acclaimed author of Fordlandia, the story of a remarkable slave rebellion that illuminates America’s struggle with slavery and freedom during the Age of Revolution and beyond. [description provided by the publisher]

Ebony & Ivory: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities

Ebony & Ivory: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities, Craig Steven Wilder, Bloomsbury Press. LC212.42.W53

Ebony and Ivy is a powerful and propulsive study and the first of its kind, revealing a history of oppression behind the institutions usually considered the cradle of liberal politics. [Description provided by the publisher]

Monday, February 17, 2014

What’s Wrong with the Poor? Psychiatry, Race, and the War on Poverty

In the 1960s, policymakers and mental health experts joined forces to participate in President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty. In her insightful interdisciplinary history, physician and historian Mical Raz examines the interplay between psychiatric theory and social policy throughout that decade, ending with President Richard Nixon's 1971 veto of a bill that would have provided universal day care. She shows that this cooperation between mental health professionals and policymakers was based on an understanding of what poor men, women, and children lacked. This perception was rooted in psychiatric theories of deprivation focused on two overlapping sections of American society: the poor had less, and African Americans, disproportionately represented among America's poor, were seen as having practically nothing.

Raz analyzes the political and cultural context that led child mental health experts, educators, and policymakers to embrace this deprivation-based theory and its translation into liberal social policy. Deprivation theory, she shows, continues to haunt social policy today, profoundly shaping how both health professionals and educators view children from low-income and culturally and linguistically diverse homes. [Description provided by the publisher]

The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking

The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking,
Olivia Laing, PS129.L25

In The Trip to Echo Spring, Olivia Laing examines the link between creativity and alcohol through the work and lives of six extraordinary men: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever, and Raymond Carver.

All six of these writers were alcoholics, and the subject of drinking surfaces in some of their finest work, from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to A Moveable Feast. Often, they did their drinking together: Hemingway and Fitzgerald ricocheting through the cafés of Paris in the 1920s; Carver and Cheever speeding to the liquor store in Iowa in the icy winter of 1973.

Olivia Laing grew up in an alcoholic family herself. One spring, wanting to make sense of this ferocious, entangling disease, she took a journey across America that plunged her into the heart of these overlapping lives. As she travels from Cheever’s New York to Williams’s New Orleans, and from Hemingway’s Key West to Carver’s Port Angeles, she pieces together a topographical map of alcoholism, from the horrors of addiction to the miraculous possibilities of recovery.

Beautiful, captivating, and original, The Trip to Echo Spring strips away the myth of the alcoholic writer to reveal the terrible price creativity can exert. [Description provided by the publisher]

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hard to Get: 20-something Women and the Paradox of Sexual Freedom

Hard to Get: 20-something Women and the Paradox of Sexual Freedom, Leslie C. Bell, University of California Press. HQ29.B42

Hard to Get is a powerful and intimate examination of the sex and love lives of the most liberated women in history—twenty-something American women who have had more opportunities, more positive role models, and more information than any previous generation. Drawing from her years of experience as a researcher and a psychotherapist, Leslie C. Bell takes us directly into the lives of young women who struggle to negotiate the complexities of sexual desire and pleasure, and to make sense of their historically unique but contradictory constellation of opportunities and challenges. In candid interviews, Bell’s subjects reveal that, despite having more choices than ever, they face great uncertainty about desire, sexuality, and relationships. Ground-breaking and highly readable, Hard to Get offers fascinating insights into the many ways that sex, love, and satisfying relationships prove surprisingly elusive to these young women as they navigate the new emotional landscape of the 21st century. [description provided by the publisher]

Tip and The Gipper: When Politics Worked

Tip and The Gipper: When Politics Worked, Chris Matthews. E877.M368

TIP AND THE GIPPER is a magnificent personal history of a time when two great political opponents served together for the benefit of the country. Chris Matthews was an eyewitness to this story as a top aide to Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, who waged a principled war of political ideals with President Reagan from 1980 to 1986. Together, the two men forged compromises that shaped America’s future and became one of history’s most celebrated political pairings—the epitome of how ideological opposites can get things done. [description provided by the publisher]

Friday, February 07, 2014

The Columbia Guide to Social Work Writing

The Columbia Guide to Social Work Writing, edited by Warren Green and Barbara Levy Simon, Columbia University Press. HV29.7.C65

Social work practitioners write for a variety of publications, and they are expected to show fluency in a number of related fields. Whether the target is a course instructor, scholarly journal, fellowship organization, or general news outlet, social workers must be clear, persuasive, and comprehensive in their writing, especially on provocative subjects. This first-of-its-kind guide features top scholars and educators providing a much-needed introduction to social work writing and scholarship. Foregrounding the process of social work writing, the coeditors particularly emphasize how to think about and approach one's subject in a productive manner.

The guide begins with an overview of social work writing from the 1880s to the present, and then follows with ideal strategies for academic paper writing, social work journal writing, and social work research writing. A section on applied professional writing addresses student composition in field education, writing for and about clinical practice, the effective communication of policy information to diverse audiences, program and proposal development, advocacy, and administrative writing. The concluding section focuses on specific fields of practice, including writing on child and family welfare, contemporary social issues, aging, and intervention in global contexts. Grounding their essays in systematic observations, induction and deduction, and a wealth of real-world examples, the contributors describe the conceptualization, development, and presentation of social work writing in ways that better secure its power and relevance. [Description provided by the publisher]

The City That Became Safe: New York’s Lessons for Urban Crime and Its Control

The City That Became Safe: New York’s Lessons for
Urban Crime and Its Control, Franklin E. Zimring, Oxford University Press. HV7433.N49.Z56

The forty-percent drop in crime that occurred across the U.S. from 1991 to 2000 remains largely an unsolved mystery. Even more puzzling is the eighty-percent drop over nineteen years in New York City. Twice as long and twice as large, it is the largest crime decline on record.

In The City That Became Safe, Franklin E. Zimring seeks out the New York difference through a comprehensive investigation into the city's falling crime rates. The usual understanding is that aggressive police created a zero-tolerance law enforcement regime that drove crime rates down. Is this political sound bite true-are the official statistics generated by the police accurate? Though zero-tolerance policing and quality-of-life were never a consistent part of the NYPD's strategy, Zimring shows the numbers are correct and argues that some combination of more cops, new tactics, and new management can take some credit for the decline. That the police can make a difference at all in preventing crime overturns decades of conventional wisdom from criminologists, but Zimring also points out what most experts have missed: the New York experience challenges the basic assumptions driving American crime- and drug-control policies. [Description provided by the publisher]

Almighty God Created the Races: Christianity, Interracial Marriage & American Law

Almighty God Created the Races: Christianity, Interracial Marriage & American Law, Fay Botham, The University of North Carolina Press. KF517.B68

In this fascinating cultural history of interracial marriage and its legal regulation in the United States, Fay Botham argues that religion--specifically, Protestant and Catholic beliefs about marriage and race--had a significant effect on legal decisions concerning miscegenation and marriage in the century following the Civil War. She contends that the white southern Protestant notion that God "dispersed" the races and the American Catholic emphasis on human unity and common origins point to ways that religion influenced the course of litigation and illuminate the religious bases for Christian racist and antiracist movements. [Description provided by the publisher]

Health Care for Some: Rights and Rationing in the United States since 1930

Health Care for Some: Rights and Rationing in the United States since 1930, Beatrix Hoffman, The University of Chicago Press. RA395.A3.H63

In Health Care for Some, Beatrix Hoffman offers an engaging and in-depth look at America’s long tradition of unequal access to health care. She argues that two main features have characterized the Us health system: a refusal to adopt a right to care and a particularly American approach to the rationing of care. Health Care for Some shows that the haphazard way the Us system allocates medical services—using income, race, region, insurance coverage, and many other factors—is a disorganized, illogical, and powerful form of rationing. And unlike rationing in most countries, which is intended to keep costs down, rationing in the United States has actually led to increased costs, resulting in the most expensive health care system in the world.

While most histories of Us health care emphasize failed policy reforms, Health Care for Some looks at the system from the ground up in order to examine how rationing is experienced by ordinary Americans and how experiences of rationing have led to claims for a right to health care. By taking this approach, Hoffman puts a much-needed human face on a topic that is too often dominated by talking heads. [Description provided by the publisher]

The Health Care Case: The Supreme Court’s Decision and Its Implications

The Health Care Case: The Supreme Court’s Decision and Its Implications, edited by Nathaniel Persily, Gillian E. Metzger, & Trevor W. Morrison, Oxford University Press. KF228.S42.H43

The Supreme Court's decision in the Health Care Case, NFIB v. Sebelius, gripped the nation's attention during the spring of 2012. No one could have predicted the strange coalition of justices and arguments that would eventually lead the Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act's principal provisions. The constitutional case against the ACA was originally written off as frivolous, but after oral argument at the Court, many predicted that the unthinkable had now become likely. When the Supreme Court delivered its complicated and fractured decision, it offered new interpretations to four different clauses in the Constitution.

This volume gathers together reactions to the decision from an ideologically diverse selection of the nation's leading scholars of constitutional, administrative, and health law. They offer novel insights into the meaning of the health care decision for President Obama, the Roberts Court, and the debate over constitutional interpretation. [Description provided by the publisher]

The Daily You: How the New Advertising Industry is Defining Your Identity and Your Worth

The Daily You: How the New Advertising Industry is Defining Your Identity and Your Worth, Joseph Turow, Yale University Press. HF5415.32.T945

“We chose Joe Turow . . . because we consider him a careful yet pioneering researcher whose insights should be carefully considered”—TrustE, on Turow’s 2013 designation as a Privacy Pioneer

The Internet is often hyped as a means to enhanced consumer power: a hypercustomized media world where individuals exercise unprecedented control over what they see and do. That is the scenario media guru Nicholas Negroponte predicted in the 1990s, with his hypothetical online newspaper The Daily Me—and it is one we experience now in daily ways. But, as media expert Joseph Turow shows, the customized media environment we inhabit today reflects diminished consumer power. Not only ads and discounts but even news and entertainment are being customized by newly powerful media agencies on the basis of data we don’t know they are collecting and individualized profiles we don’t know we have. Little is known about this new industry: how is this data being collected and analyzed? And how are our profiles created and used? How do you know if you have been identified as a “target” or “waste” or placed in one of the industry’s finer-grained marketing niches? Are you, for example, a Socially Liberal Organic Eater, a Diabetic Individual in the Household, or Single City Struggler? And, if so, how does that affect what you see and do online?

Drawing on groundbreaking research, including interviews with industry insiders, this important book shows how advertisers have come to wield such power over individuals and media outlets—and what can be done to stop it.

Joseph Turow is Robert Lewis Shayon Professor of Communication, Annenberg School, University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Bala-Cynwyd, PA[Description provided by the publisher]

Studying Human Behavior: How Scientists Investigate Agression & Sexuality

Studying Human Behavior: How Scientists Investigate Agression & Sexuality, Helen E. Longino, The University of Chicago Press. BF199.L58

In Studying Human Behavior, Helen E. Longino enters into the complexities of human behavioral research, a domain still dominated by the age-old debate of “nature versus nurture.” Rather than supporting one side or another or attempting to replace that dichotomy with a different framework for understanding behavior, Longino focuses on how scientists study it, specifically sexual behavior and aggression, and asks what can be known about human behavior through empirical investigation. [Description provided by the publisher]

The Glass Slipper: Women and Love Stories

The Glass Slipper: Women and Love Stories, Susan Ostrov Weisser, Rutgers University Press PN3448.L67.W37

Why is the story of romance in books, magazines, and films still aimed at women rather than at men? Even after decades of feminism, traditional ideas and messages about romantic love still hold sway and, in our “postfeminist” age, are more popular than ever. Increasingly, we have become a culture of romance: stories of all kinds shape the terms of love. Women, in particular, love a love story.

The Glass Slipper is about the persistence of a familiar Anglo-American love story into the digital age. Comparing influential classics to their current counterparts, Susan Ostrov Weisser relates in highly amusing prose how these stories are shaped and defined by and for women, the main consumers of romantic texts. Following a trajectory that begins with Jane Austen and concludes with Internet dating sites, Weisser shows the many ways in which nineteenth-century views of women’s nature and the Victorian idea of romance have survived the feminist critique of the 1970s and continue in new and more ambiguous forms in today’s media, with profound implications for women.

More than a book about romance in fiction and media, The Glass Slipper illustrates how traditional stories about women’s sexuality, femininity, and romantic love have survived as seemingly protective elements in a more modern, feminist, sexually open society, confusing the picture for women themselves. Weisser compares diverse narratives—historical and contemporary from high literature and “low” genres—discussing novels by Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë, Victorian women’s magazines, and D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover; Disney movies; popular Harlequin romance novels; masochistic love in films; pornography and its relationship to romance; and reality TV and Internet ads as romantic stories. [Description provided by the publisher]

Why Internet Porn Matters (Stanford Briefs)

Philosophy HQ471.G735

Now that pornography is on the Internet, its political and social functions have changed. So contends Margret Grebowicz in this imperative philosophical analysis of Internet porn. The production and consumption of Internet porn, in her account, are a symptom of the obsession with self-exposure in today's social networking media, which is, in turn, a symptom of the modern democratic construction of the governable subject as both transparent and communicative. In this first feminist critique to privilege the effects of pornography's Internet distribution rather than what it depicts, Grebowicz examines porn-sharing communities (such as the bestiality niche market) and the politics of putting women's sexual pleasure on display (the "squirting" market) as part of the larger democratic project. Arguing against this project, she shows that sexual pleasure is not a human right. Unlikely convergences between thinkers like Catherine MacKinnon, Jean Baudrillard, Judith Butler, and Jean-François Lyotard allow her to formulate a theory of the relationships between sex, speech, and power that stands as an alternative to such cyber-libertarian mottos as "freedom of speech" and "sexual freedom." [Description provided by the publisher]