Social Sciences Reviews | December 15, 2005

By LJ Staff

Anthropology & Customs

OrangeReviewStar Social Sciences Reviews | December 15, 2005 Town & Country Modern Manners: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Social Graces. Hearst: Sterling. 2005. 256p. ed. by Thomas P. Farley. ISBN 1-58816-454-3. $17.95. ETIQUETTE

Does the world need yet another book on contemporary etiquette? If it’s this classy volume of engaging essays edited by Farley, Town & Country senior editor and overseer of the magazine’s "Social Graces" column, the answer is a resounding Yes! Not your standard etiquette manual, this anthology collects thoughtful, charming, and witty views penned by keen social observers like Miss Manners, television host Hugh Downs, memoirist Frank McCourt, and columnist and television commentator Peggy Noonan. In addition to addressing de rigueur issues such as cell phone usage and wedding etiquette, the book encompasses rarely addressed issues, e.g., dealing with social insincerity, coping with pregnant "Momzillas," preparing a eulogy, negotiating turf with a child’s nanny, and respecting one’s spouse. Contributor Martha Woodham (The Bride Did What?!: Etiquette for the Wedding Impaired) sums it up succinctly: "Perhaps the best commandment is the simplest: life’s short; play sweet." Highly recommended for all collections.Deborah Ebster, Univ. of Central Florida Libs., Orlando

Biography

Cantor, Norman F. with Dee Ranieri. Alexander the Great: Journey to the End of the Earth. HarperCollins. Dec. 2005. c.192p. ISBN 0-06-057012-1. $21.95. BIOG

One hesitates to question the decision to publish this biography owing to its author’s credentials – Cantor was professor emeritus of history, sociology, and comparative literature at NYU before dying in 2004. Here, he wishes to consider four preeminent recent historians of Alexander: A.B. Bosworth, Robin Lane Fox, N.G.L. Hammond, and Peter Green, but early on he drifts into the treacherous topic of Alexander’s personality. Readers are offered a Freudian rationalization of Alexander’s relationship with his mother and father that claims Alexander was the "classic paradigm of an Oedipus complex." Furthermore, Cantor notes that "Alexander’s sex life and sexual proclivities have always been the subject of much conjecture" and proceeds to add his own, while admitting that Alexander was not atypical of his age and environment. Ultimately, the question is this: does scholarship need a chapter titled "How ‘Great’ Was Alexander?", which is too brief an effort to consider the modern scholarship stated in the beginning as the main focus of the work. That discussion might have been more effective at the onset so that readers could understand better the difficulties facing historians of that pivotal period. An optional purchase.Clay Williams, Hunter Coll., New York

Cody, Diablo. Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper. Gotham: Penguin Group (USA). Jan. 2006. c.240p. ISBN 1-592-40182-1. $24. AUTOBIOG

As a college graduate from a stable family, with a boring job at a Minneapolis advertising agency and a supportive boyfriend (now husband), Cody decided to become a stripper. She jumped in on an amateur night at a local bar and then pursued her interest at several different venues, from so-called gentlemen’s clubs to peep shows. Cody, now an arts editor with Minneapolis’s alternative weekly, City Pages, describes in explicit detail her experiences stripping, lap dancing, and masturbating for clients. She has a fondness for the other strippers, who range from teenagers to thirtysomething mothers, but Cody has only disdain for the clubs, which generally treated the women badly and demanded a large portion of their pay. Cody tries to explain her attraction to stripping, but her descriptions of her encounters and the physical toll the work took on her body leave readers wondering why she kept going back – despite the fact that she earned enough to buy a house. Still, a very readable account of life in the sex trade. Recommended for public libraries.Debra Moore, Cerritos Coll., Norwalk, CA

D’Antonio, Michael. Hershey: Milton S. Hershey’s Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams. S. & S. Jan. 2006. c.320p. photogs. index. ISBN 0-7432-6409-6. $25. BIOG

The Hershey chocolate bar is a ubiquitous symbol of America. Pulitzer Prize – winning journalist D’Antonio (The State Boys Rebellion) here offers the first full-length study of its creator, Milton Hershey, taking a balanced look at the man, his struggles, his credos, and his legend. His record as a businessman was poor at first, but then a British importer placed a huge order with his Lancaster Caramel Company in Pennsylvania. He thought next that mass producing affordable milk chocolate would be a huge success and experimented for years until he got the process just right. The rest, as they say, is history. Although driven by philanthropic ideals, Hershey was not beyond corporate espionage, union breaking, and having employees work long hours under dangerous conditions for low wages. As D’Antonio reveals, he did not like his power or ideas challenged. Yet his story is one of great achievement. Relying heavily on the Hershey Community Archives, D’Antonio does a good job of placing his subject’s life within the context of the Gilded Age and its social movements. Charles Castner’s One of a Kind: Milton Snavely Hershey, 1857 – 1945 is more of a celebration of the man, with lots of pictures and a large format. Recommended for all libraries.Robert Flatley, Kutztown Univ., PA

Oeur, U Sam with Ken McCullough. Crossing Three Wildernesses: A Memoir. Coffee House, dist. by Consortium. 2005. c.320p. photogs. ISBN 1-56689-167-1 [ISBN 978-156689-167-7]. pap. $16. autobiog

This remarkable story of survival features Oeur (Sacred Vows), an American-educated Cambodian poet who survived the Khmer Rouge era by changing his name, feigning illiteracy, and depending on his peasant skills. Oeur tells of how he grew up on a Cambodian farm watching over the family water buffalo, pursued his studies in the United States, and acquired a position as a UN delegate. But his story turns dark as he relays how in 1975, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge took over and forced Oeur, his son, wife, and mother-in-law into a series of labor camps, where they faced the three wildernesses – death by execution, death by disease, and death by starvation. Fortunately, they survived, but Oeur’s twin newborn daughters did not. Oeur describes the improved conditions when the Vietnamese took over in 1979, though as a writer he was always under suspicion. Eventually, in 1991, his friends were able to bring him to America. Published on the 30th anniversary of Pol Pot’s takeover, this memoir serves as a testament to Oeur’s courage and inspiration and brings a compelling, first-person perspective to the hellish years of the Cambodian genocide that left 1.5 million dead. Recommended for all libraries.Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo

Reeves, Richard. President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination. S. & S. Jan. 2006. c.544p. photogs. index. ISBN 0-7432-3022-1 [ISBN 978-0-7432-3022-3]. $28. BIOG

Reeves, the author of books on Presidents Kennedy, Nixon, and Ford, presents a readable and thorough account of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. As it does not document Reagan’s life before his time at the White House, Triumph is a complement to, rather than a replacement of, Lou Cannon’s standard President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime. Combining interviews, archival research, and a hearty dose of the press accounts of the day, Reeves’s narrative is especially good at covering the assassination attempt and the Reykjavik summit with Soviet leader Gorbachev. Readers get a sense of being there, reacting with contemporary columnists and congressmen to the administration’s actions. There are no great revelations here – not surprising since a research note observes that in 15 years the obstructionist National Archives has opened only ten percent of the Reagan files. Nonetheless, as Reeves remarks, his is the latest of more than 900 books on Reagan; he offers a valuable bibliographic essay on what he considers the most important volumes. This excellent work on a controversial figure now undergoing a major reassessment is recommended for all libraries.Michael O. Eshleman, Kings Mills, OH

Wilentz, Sean. Andrew Jackson. Times Bks. (American Presidents). Jan. 2006. c.195p. bibliog. index. ISBN 0-8050-6925-9. $20. BIOG

In this concise and very readable history of Andrew Jackson’s controversial presidency, Wilentz (history, Princeton Univ.; The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln) offers a balanced viewpoint. During his time in office (1829 – 37), Jackson took a stand on several contentious issues, among them the treatment of native Americans (he supported states’ rights in relocating them to the west) and the Bank of the United States (hevetoed its charter). To the author, Jackson’s decisions stemmed from his belief in the democratic principle of majority will and in fighting for the lower classes against the privileged. Yes, Jackson was prone to making mistakes owing to honor and pride, but Wilentz believes that he remained true to his ideals. Because of the book’s brevity and focus, we miss out on Jackson’s charisma (he was the most popular man of his time) and era. For those elements, readers will have to turn to H.W. Brands’s Andrew Jackson: His Life & Times or Robert Remini’s The Life of Andrew Jackson. Donald B. Cole’s The Presidency of Andrew Jackson, provides scholars with more details, but Cole’s message does not focus so much on Jackson’s own drive for democracy. Wilentz’s book is a great first read for students and general readers because ofits affordability, new assessments, and writing style. Recommended for public and academic libraries.Bryan Craig, Ursuline Coll., Pepper Pike, OH

Communications

Eckstut, Arielle & David Henry Sterry. Putting Your Passion into Print. Workman. 2005. c.440p. ISBN 0-7611-317-X. $23.95; pap. ISBN 0-7611-3122-1. $14.95. COMM

Eckstut (Levine Greenberg Literary Agency) and Sterry (Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent) have produced a hefty guide for naïve writers seeking guidance on selling their work. It begins with the usual anecdotes found – early rejection letters for eventual best sellers – and all but promises that if you write a publishable book, it will get published. They suggest getting an objective review of one’s work, paying someone if necessary. Like The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published, they offer detailed guidance on writing and sending proposals (crank out X proposals a week). In lighthearted prose, they also cover how to pick an agent, a publisher, and a good publicity photo and how to work with an editor. The odds for getting published – whatever the authors may say – suggest that most readers won’t get to that point in the process. While their advice is reasonably accurate and occasionally very good, web-literate users can find a fair amount of this information online for free. Aspiring writers, too, may be better off with more genre-specific information. There are titles today specifically on publishing romance, Western, and diet books, for example. This title is suggested for broader collections needing to stay current.Robert Moore, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Medical Imaging, Waltham, MA

Journalistas: 100 Years of the Best Writing and Reporting by Women Journalists. Carroll & Graf. Jan. 2006. c.384p. ed. by Eleanor Mills with Kira Cochrane. ISBN 0-7867-1667-3. pap. $14.95. COMM

Mills and Cochrane, an editor and a former researcher at the Sunday Times (UK), respectively, have collected approximately 70 examples of what they consider the best writing and reporting by American and English women of the past 100-plus years. There are selections (some abridged) by the "very greats" (many of whom – e.g., Sylvia Pankhurst, Eleanor Roosevelt, Anne Tyler – were/are not professional journalists) as well as by the more obscure, all selected because they "illustrate aspects of female experience which still resonate today." The writings, each prefaced by a brief biographical note, are organized chronologically within categories like "War," "Home and Family," and "Emancipation and Having It All." Although entries are introduced with a short biographical note, they are not (and would have benefited from being) placed within the context of the history of American women in journalism – for that, see Maurine Beasley and Sheila Gibbons’s Taking Their Place: A Documentary History of Women in Journalism. Instead, Journalistas is for those who enjoy dipping into history at random to find an article from the 1930s on the challenge of being a new mother at 40. Recommended for libraries where journalism and women’s anthologies are popular.Judy Solberg, Seattle Univ. Lib.

OrangeReviewStar Social Sciences Reviews | December 15, 2005 Shepherd, Margaret. The Art of Civilized Conversation: A Guide to Expressing Yourself with Style and Grace. Broadway. Dec. 2005. c.240p. bibliog. ISBN 0-7679-2169-0. $16. COMM

Shepherd (The Art of the Handwritten Note) now revives the all-but-forgotten art of interpersonal communication. Sure, we might joke about charm and finishing schools, but if you have ever lost control of a business meeting, stood alone in a room full of people, or simply been at a loss for words, this book is for you. There are tips on remembering names, telling jokes, and turning off a "talker," as well as guidance on the proper way to apologize, introduce people, or recover from a blunder. Shepherd’s approach to teaching social skills starts and ends with a respectful interest in other people. Rules of engagement are clearly outlined, as are tips on how to keep the conversation rolling along. Not shallow or pretentious, this book, which would also make a great gift, would be an excellent addition to reference collections. Highly recommended.Ann Schade, Madison, WI

Economics

Fenn, Donna. Alpha Dogs: How Your Small Busines Can Become a Leader of the Pack. Collins: HarperCollins. Dec. 2005. c.240p. bibliog. index. ISBN 0-06-075867-8. $24.95. BUS

Fenn (Inc. magazine) relates eight small-business success stories in a casual, conversational style. Beginning each chapter with the company name, business type, location, revenues, number of employees, founder, year founded, and URL, Fenn goes on to explain precisely how each became a "leader of the pack," including a list of proven, practical tips from the business owner and other people. Readers will learn how Amy Simmons started with one successful ice cream shop and expanded it to 12 stores in Austin, TX, while competing with giants like Ben & Jerry’s and Cold Stone Creamery. Then there’s Chris Zane, who took an ordinary, independent bicycle shop in Connecticut to new heights by perfecting the art of customer service. These case studies make up a useful, entertaining guide to how small businesses can achieve unusual growth and strong market positions through the hard work, vision, and outstanding management skills of a leader. Good for any business collection.Susan C. Awe, Univ. of New Mexico Lib., Albuquerque

Langemeier, Loral. The Millionaire Maker: How the Wealthy Got Here and How You Can Too. McGraw-Hill. Jan. 2006. c.240p. illus. index. ISBN 0-07-146615-0. $24.95. BUS

This book is not for the financially faint of heart. The intended audience of potential speculators must be willing to leverage 401Ks and home equity to engage in direct investment opportunities such as small business ventures. Langemeier, a financial coach and strategist, not to mention a multimillionaire, outlines her trademarked step-by-step "Wealth Cycle" process for generating and sustaining wealth in a clear and easy-to-follow format. Income and lazy assets can be turned into assets that produce passive income and sustainable wealth via rental properties, for example; adequate use of graphs and charts explain the theoretical framework behind the author’s approach as well as her "Gap Analysis" model that helps investors chart their own program. A nice cross section of case studies is used to explore a variety of implementations. Readers will grasp basic principles of such matters as entity structuring, depreciation, and direct investing, but the information is very much at the cursory level, with little discussion devoted to risk. Still, this title does provide an alternative view to David Bach’s enormously popular The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan To Live and Finish Rich. Recommended for medium to large public libraries.Tracy Mohaidheen, Baldwin P.L., Birmingham, MI

Phillips, Tim. Knockoff: The Deadly Trade in Counterfeiting. Kogan Page. Dec. 2005. c.222p. index. ISBN 0-7494-4379-0. $29.95. ECON

With the eyes and ears of the seasoned business journalist that he is, Phillips takes readers on a global tour of the pervasive and murky economy of counterfeit goods. He journeys into the hearts and minds of all of the players, from poor workers in developing countries to wealthy businessmen employing lawyers to defend intellectual property rights. His exposé is replete with statistics that quantify the enormous reach of counterfeiting activities as well as cases detailing counterfeiters’ use of clever subterfuges on the way to global markets. But whose war is this to fight? Local politicians do not see any gain, especially in developing countries where a knockoff factory is viewed as a source of needed jobs, and the police are focused on crimes with more obvious victims. Phillips sees the burden of knockoff detection falling upon customs officers, who are unprepared for the task. He exhorts bargain-hunting consumers to educate themselves on the corrosive effects that knockoffs have on struggling companies and of the danger of buying drugs and liquor with questionable, even deadly, ingredients. Suitable for all public libraries and libraries supporting business and criminology programs.Peter R. Latusek, Stanford Graduate Sch. of Business Lib., CA

Wal-Mart: The Face of Twenty-First Century Capitalism. New Pr., dist. by Norton. Jan. 2006. c.368p. ed. by Nelson Lichtenstein. illus. ISBN 1-59558-035-2. $60; pap. ISBN 1-59558-021-2. $19.95. BUS

Typically, books about Wal-Mart either blindly praise the budget behemoth or else denounce it for its race-to-the-bottom labor practices, among other things. This book does neither. Rather, editor Lichtenstein (history, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara) has collected papers from a conference of the same name that was held at the Center for Work, Labor and Democracy at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2004. The book’s 12 selections are divided into three categories: "History, Culture, Capitalism," "A Global Corporation," and "Working at Wal-Mart." Authors include social and labor historians, economists, anthropologists, union leaders, and management specialists. Overall, the papers are scholarly in nature and include charts, graphs, tables, and footnotes. Yet they are also accessible and interesting and provide insight into what is now the world’s largest company. While not a book for leisure readers looking to learn new management secrets, it provides views of the many sectors that Wal-Mart now occupies in our lives and our (increasingly global) economy. Highly recommended for academic libraries.Susan Hurst, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH

Webb, Barb with Maureen Heck. The Mom’s Guide to Earning and Saving Thousands on the Internet. McGraw-Hill. Feb. 2006. c.197p. ISBN 0-07-145776-3. pap. $14.95. econ

Internet-proficient mothers Webb (founder, Mom(dot)Com™) and Heck, an expert online auctioneer, here show other mothers how to save money using the web. Theirs is not a guide to setting up a business on the Internet but rather a clearly written and formatted book of basics to help those with little Internet experience make the most of their home computers. The authors cover the how-tos of making money through surveys and reader panels, getting free samples, saving money by couponing and trading goods and services, and selling unwanted items on auction for cash. They cite examples, share web addresses, and caution readers about possible scams. For those with a little extra time and an interest in becoming more Internet proficient, this is a helpful first step. Recommended for public libraries.Kay Brodie, Chesapeake Coll., Wye Mills, MD

Education

OrangeReviewStar Social Sciences Reviews | December 15, 2005 McCutcheon, Randall & Tommie Lindsey. It Doesn’t Take a Genius: Five Truths To Inspire Success in Every Student. McGraw-Hill. Jan. 2006. c.288p. illus. ISBN 0-07-146084-5. $18.95. ED

Teacher, coach, and author McCutcheon and Lindsey, who works in the California public school system, share their award-winning strategies for teaching and transforming at-risk students into academic and social success stories. Their approach is organized around what they believe to be five "truths" that, if properly applied, will assist all students in turning possibilities into realities; these truths, in turn, are presented in brief, easy-to-read and -follow steps that are complemented by testimonials from the authors’ students, all inner-city children from at-risk backgrounds who went on to defy the odds and become successful adults. The practical, insightful, and realistic strategies are designed to assist students in becoming not only smarter but also more confident, curious, and motivated. This unique book demonstrates the impact that highly qualified teachers can have on a student’s success. Highly recommended for all libraries and for all readers interested in learning effective teaching techniques.Walter J. Cegelka, St. ThomasUniv., Miami

History

OrangeReviewStar Social Sciences Reviews | December 15, 2005 Andress, David. The Terror: The Merciless War for Freedom in Revolutionary France. Farrar. Jan. 2006. c.448p. illus. maps. index. ISBN 0-374-27341-3 [ISBN 978-0-374-27341-5]. $26. HIST

According to Andress (history, Univ. of Portsmouth, UK; The French Revolution and the People), the French Revolution ushered in an era that has had an essentially positive impact – a view that few recent historians have shared. Simon Schama in Citizens and François Furet in Interpreting the French Revolution see the revolution as an aberration and point to the bloody excesses of the Reign of Terror (1793 – 94) as the inevitable culmination of a misguided attempt to change French society. For his part, Andress skillfully evokes the context that led to state-sponsored terror, and although he condemns the brutality of such intransigent revolutionaries as Danton, Saint-Just, Robespierre, and their fanatical minions, he asserts that it was the iron will of these zealots that sustained the ideals of a new epoch, where the rights of humankind took center stage. Andress may draw fire for comparing the ideological intolerance of the Committee of Public Safety with measures adopted by the post-9/11 American government, but even his most vehement critics will have to agree that his thesis is thoroughly grounded in all the pertinent primary and secondary sources on the era and readably presented. This is the best book on the French Revolution to be published in years and is recommended for academic and public libraries.Jim Doyle, Sara Hightower Regional Lib., Rome, GA

Desjardin, Thomas. Through a Howling Wilderness. St. Martin’s. Jan. 2006. c.256p. bibliog. index. ISBN 0-312-33904-6. $24.95. HIST

In 1775, Benedict Arnold led a small American army through the wilderness of a sparsely settled region in what is now Maine as part of a planned assault and capture of Canada’s Quebec City, a British possession since 1759. The expedition took more than twice as long as expected, and Arnold’s men suffered every kind of hardship. Based on primary sources, this account by Desjardin, a historic site specialist for the state of Maine, paints a picture of gallantry and perseverance in the face of great misery. Even after reaching Quebec and finding gentle treatment at the hands of the French Canadians, Arnold’s men still had to assault the city – an event that proved unsuccessful and resulted in the capture and imprisonment of many Colonial soldiers and subsequently more suffering in British prisons. Though the meat of the book is in narrative and not analysis, Desjardin provides a good summary of the campaign’s impact on the American Revolution in general. Very few sources cover the assault on Quebec in detail, and many years have passed since any text has examined this event so thoroughly. As a result, Desjardin’s work should find a home in public and large academic libraries.Matthew J. Wayman, Pennsylvania State Univ., Abington Coll. Lib.

Freeman, Philip. The Philosopher and the Druids: A Journey Among the Ancient Celts. S. & S. Jan. 2006. c.240p. photogs. maps. index. ISBN 0-7432-6280-8 [ISBN 978-0-7432-6280-4]. $25. HIST

Freeman (classics, Luther Coll.; St. Patrick of Ireland) aims to piece together the lost account of the first-century B.C.E. journey of the Stoic philosopher Posidonius from Rhodes into the wild Celtic northlands in Gaul (now parts of Spain and France). Along the way, Freeman describes Posidonius’s education and training as well as the range of knowledge available to him about the Celts, skillfully quoting from many different ancient narratives with his own translations. Although the supposition in Rhodes had been that the Celts were a race of savages, Posidonius discovered that they were a complex and articulate society – albeit one that practiced a ritual involving human sacrifice. The philosopher’s account proved to be a valuable study of a people soon to be conquered by Julius Caesar. In examining ancient Celtic history and culture in tandem with Greek and Roman attitudes, Freeman has turned out an engrossing study that both students and lay readers will enjoy. Highly recommended for public and undergraduate collections.Robert Harbison, Western Kentucky Univ. Lib., Bowling Green

Green, Rod. Building the Titanic: An Epic Tale of the Creation of History’s Most Famous Ocean Liner. Reader’s Digest, dist. by Penguin Putnam. 2005. 160p. illus. index. ISBN 0-7621-0689-1. $27.95. HIST

At first glance, this book might seem like an effort to capitalize on fairly shallow sensationalism, i.e., the tragic sinking of the Titanic, the "largest moving man-made object the world had ever seen." However, the 100-plus fascinating images and the narrative’s careful focus soon dispel that fear. Green (Bang!: The Ultimate Book of Explosions, Big and Small) presents the intricate details of the design and construction of the ship – from hull dimensions to Grand Staircase – with four double-page diagrams of decks and boiler room plans. He also devotes attention to the administrative and financial forces behind the ship’s construction, as well as to its Belfast shipyard workforce. Especially worthwhile is the knowledgeable discussion of the contemporary social and political milieu that seemed to seize upon the concept of the Titanic as a "sorely needed…symbol of hope." The only flaw is the lack of a bibliography, which limits the usefulness of this otherwise excellent contribution to the subject and the period. Recommended for all libraries, especially those with an interest in maritime history.Robert C. Jones, formerly with Central Missouri State Univ., Warrensburg

Hastings, Max. Warriors: Portraits from the Battlefield. Knopf. Jan. 2006. c.400p. photogs. maps. index. ISBN 1-4000-4441-3. $27.50. HIST

Hastings’s last book, Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944 – 1945, was well received by critics and the public alike. If his latest work seems to lack the academic weight of his previous venture, at least the two share a common theme – the courage of soldiers facing the carnage of war. Moving chronologically through battles of the 19th and 20th centuries, Hastings here dedicates a chapter each to an individual who demonstrated extraordinary heroism. The book is strongest when spotlighting an individual who has faded somewhat into the historical background, e.g., British Gen. Harry Smith or Israeli Lt. Col. Avigdor Kahalani. Conversely, chapters devoted to more famous "warriors" who have been the focus of other works seem oddly brief and sketchy, e.g., the coverage of Gen. James Gavin. Because it is purposefully lighter than Armageddon and based almost entirely on published sources, this book does not offer serious military historians much new information. Undoubtedly, though, many aspiring armchair generals will find this work inspiration for more in-depth study. Recommended for public libraries with active military history collections.Brian K. DeLuca, Dover P.L., DE

Kedward, Rod. France and the French: La Vie en Bleu Since 1900. Overlook, dist. by Penguin Group (USA). Jan. 2006. c.736p. photogs. maps. index. ISBN 1-58567-733-7. $35. HIST

Academics will welcome this sweeping, highly readable, and complex narrative of 20th-century French history and culture. Kedward (emeritus, Univ. of Sussex, UK; Resistance in Vichy France) attempts to give coherence to the conflicts and debates of the period by highlighting the continuing tensions and polarities that have engaged France and the French during three periods: 1900 – 31, 1931 – 68, and 1968 – present. Skillfully interwoven within his primarily political and chronological focus is a discussion of social and cultural life: the role, place, and perception of workers, peasants, intellectuals, women, and immigrants. Nor does he ignore the "larger France" – the debate over colonial developments and decolonization – as a factor in shaping debates over French national identity. Kedward sees the events of 1968 as especially pivotal in ending older ideological debates and introducing new social movements centering on women, youth, education, culture, and diversity. He presents these new issues in the context of the struggle of the people to be heard and included – an especially timely discussion given the recent riots in and around Paris. Recommended for academic libraries.Marie Marmo Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., N.J.

McMurtry, Larry. Oh What a Slaughter: Massacres in the American West, 1846 – 1890. S. & S. Dec. 2005. c.192p. illus. index. ISBN 0-7432-5077-X [ISBN 978-0-7432-5077-1]. $25. HIST

Noted novelist McMurtry makes another nonfiction foray, this time studying several of the 19th-century massacres that occurred between native tribes of the American West and the white settlers who were moving there. He focuses on six massacres in particular: those that took place at Sacramento River (1846), Mountain Meadows (1857), Sand Creek (1864), Marias River (1870), Camp Grant (1871), and Wounded Knee (1890). He selected these as "the famous massacres," each resulting in more than 100 dead, a toll of violence notable in its day. His goal here is not to lay blame or dispute the facts and conclusions he relates from other writers – almost the only universally agreed element of each massacre is the date on which it happened – but to capture the essence of the event and offer a few comments and conjectures. This he does in a very relaxed style that makes readers feel that they are having a conversation with the author. While academic libraries are likely to have the previous studies used and cited by McMurtry, his book is a good introduction for lay readers and high school students. Recommended for public libraries.Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette

Marable, Manning. Living Black History: How Re-Imagining the African-American Past Can Remake America’s Racial Future. Basic Civitas: Perseus. Jan. 2006. c.288p. index. ISBN 0-465-04389-5. $26. HIST

Adding two essays to the three he delivered at the 2004 W.E.B. Du Bois Lectures at Harvard University, the prolific Marable (African American studies, Columbia Univ.; The Great Wells of Democracy: The Meaning of Race in American Life) seeks a civic conversation to expose the destructive process of racialization in historical context. Focusing on the life work of activist scholar W.E.B. Du Bois (1868 – 1963), black Muslim spokesman Malcolm X (1925 – 65), and NAACP desegregation strategist and federal judge Robert L. Carter (b. 1917), he reviews differing approaches to overthrowing Jim Crow’s physical and psychological oppression. The spirit and strategies of such earlier struggles, he suggests, offer guidance for African Americans and all other Americans in today’s and tomorrow’s pressing battles against racism of every stripe and global apartheid. True history points, he insists, to the continuing quest for racial justice and genuine democracy. Ever provocative, Marable has again offered a moving vision of America’s past, present, and future. For collections on U.S. and black history, society, and politics.Thomas J. Davis, Arizona State Univ., Tempe

Meijer, Fik. The Gladiators: History’s Most Deadly Sport. Thomas Dunne Bks: St. Martin’s. Dec. 2005. c.288p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 0-312-34874-6. $24.95. HIST

It is refreshing to read a work on such a significant Roman institution that does not cater completely to Hollywood. In fact, prior to addressing film’s representations in his last chapter, Meijer (ancient history, Univ. of Amsterdam; Emperors Don’t Die in Bed) demonstrates his comprehension of the scholarship surrounding leisure and violence in ancient Rome. He explores the roots of the gladiatorial games, surmising that the origins of Roman combat were in Campania rather than Etruria. However, he does admit the sport may have Greek roots, owing to the nature of funeral games described by Homer. Meijer’s familiarity with ancient warfare shows when he describes the various weapons used by gladiators (glossary included) and how the training schools were administered. One might wish he had used his considerable skills in historiography to speculate more fully on how the games fitted into the Roman psyche and how Rome’samusements culturally evolved over the centuries. Indeed, Meijer’s introduction implies that such an investigation was one of his motives for writing the book. Regardless, his topic does allow the reader to comprehend the incredible barbarity of the emperors. Recommended for all libraries.Clay Williams, Hunter Coll., New York

OrangeReviewStar Social Sciences Reviews | December 15, 2005 Orfalea, Gregory. The Arab Americans. Olive Branch: Interlink. Jan. 2006. c.457p. index. ISBN 1-56656-644-4. $45; pap. ISBN 1-56656-597-9. $20. HIST

Arab Americans have long been an integral part of America’s ethnic mosaic. Christopher Columbus’s primary translator, a Spanish Arab from Granada (which was under
Islamo-Arab control for 600 years until 1492), was probably the first person of Islamic faith to come to America. However, Arabs as an immigrant group didn’t begin to arrive to the New World until the mid-19th century, so the last two centuries are naturally the focus of this book. Orfalea (director, writing ctr., Pitzer Coll., CA), himself an Arab American, gives a detailed and highly readable account of the three major waves of Arab immigration to America, from 1878 to 1924, 1947 to 1966, and 1967 to the present, providing an intimate description of today’s Arab Americans and their historical experiences. He also discusses the country’s principal Arab American organizations and examines the impact of post-9/11 developments on the Arab American community. This eminently clear and well-written book is essential for anyone interested in going beyond the media stereotypes of Arab Americans. Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries.Nader Entessar, Spring Hill Coll., Mobile, AL

Schecter, Barnet. The Devil’s Own Work: The Civil War Draft Riots and the Fight to Reconstruct America. Walker. Jan. 2006. c.322p. photogs. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 0-8027-1439-0. $27. HIST

For several days in mid-July 1863 New York City, white working-class, mainly Irish Catholic mobs rebelled against the government’s first military draft, which allowed those capable of paying the $300 exemption to avoid conscription. Before being brutally suppressed, rioters caused great destruction in the city, battling police and soldiers, torching rich Republican Protestants’ homes, and seeking ethnic cleansing of the city’s African Americans. Like historian Iver Bernstein’s The New York City Draft Riots, independent scholar Schecter’s (The Battle for New York) book explores immediate antebellum and postbellum economic and social relationships that buttressed antidraft riots in New York and other cities. But building upon more recent scholarship and his own archival research, Schecter presents a gripping story, clearly and accurately centering the riots in the context of political power relationships: New York City Democratic Party leaders, with pro-Confederate sympathies, played upon class, ethnic, and religious animosities and antiblack racism to mobilize white working people in support of their party’s objectives in reshaping the national agenda, first for the Civil War and later for Reconstruction. An appendix offers a walking tour of Civil War New York, for which additional details are provided via the book’s eponymous web site. Highly recommended for public and undergraduate libraries.Charles L. Lumpkins, Pennsylvania State Univ., State College

Steinhorn, Leonard. The Greater Generation. Thomas Dunne Bks: St. Martin’s. Jan. 2006. c.336p. index. ISBN 0-312-32640-8. $24.95. HIST

Although the "Greatest Generation" fought and won World War II, it also created a postwar society that discriminated against minorities and women and shunned those who challenged the stifling conformity it imposed, claims Steinhorn (communication, American Univ.; By the Color of Our Skin: The Illusion of Integration and the Reality of Race). This collection of essays concludes that the baby boom generation applied tolerance, questioned authority, and weighed the lessons learned from the Vietnam/Watergate era to improve the social order constructed by their parents. Steinhorn demonstrates how boomers infused diversity and racial and gender equality into universities, the workplace, and government. However, he injects his commentaries with a repetitive and, at times, a grating obsequious tone. For instance, he praises boomers for marching for civil rights but does not acknowledge that Congress, comprised almost totally of "Greatest Generation" men, legislated the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965) that ended legal segregation. This anecdotal narrative is suitable for public libraries, but it is not a historical investigation like Landon Jones’s Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation. A much-needed updated analysis of the boomers’ impact remains to be written.Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA

Tayman, John. The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of Molokai. Scribner. Jan. 2006. c.432p. photogs. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 0-7432-3300-X. $27.50. HIST

In 1865, Hawaii criminalized the disease of leprosy and began the longest and harshest episode of medical segregation in American history. The Colony is the tragic tale of the thousands of men, women, and children determined (sometimes erroneously) to have leprosy and who were sent into forced exile on Hawaii’s remote Molokai peninsula owing to a radical miscomprehension about the disease. Journalist and first-time author Tayman re-creates this poignant history, telling a tragic and heart-stopping tale filled with vivid descriptions of important policymakers, governmental officials, and writers such as Jack London who oversaw or visited the banished people. Tayman exposes the medical ignorance of the period and the desperate measures a frightened Hawaiian society employed to combat what was perceived as an epidemic of a highly contagious illness. In fact, leprosy, now referred to as Hansen’s disease, is not easily spread. Since Hawaii’s law was not appealed until 1969, Tayman was able to interview the colony’s last living residents. His book would be enriched by highlighting native Hawaiian cultural perspectives such as Kokua (helping those who are suffering), as many native Hawaiians were the Kokua or helpers who accompanied their banished loved ones to be able to care for them. Informative for public library patrons; recommended.Jane Levy, Marin Community Fdn., Novato, CA

Trask, Kerry A. Black Hawk: The Battle for the Heart of America. Macrae Bks: Holt. Jan. 2006. c.384p. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 0-8050-7758-8. $27.50. HIST

The Black Hawk War of 1832 was a three-month conflict that marked the only major effort within Illinois by a native group to resist expulsion from their tribal homelands. Drawing on diaries and oral histories, as well as secondary sources, Trask (history, Univ. of Wisconsin, Manitowoc; Fire Within: A Civil War Narrative from Wisconsin) examines this sordid episode in U.S. history, using a conventional historical model that divides the Sauks into two camps. Tradition is embodied in the leader Black Hawk, while Keokuk represents the accommodationist faction of the tribe. Their intertribal rivalry determined how the Sauk factions responded to the threat of white encroachment on tribal territory. This tradition-vs.-accommodation model, however, was already admirably applied to the conflict in Roger L. Nichols’s Black Hawk and the Warrior’s Path. Still, Trask’s narrative is fast-paced and makes for a fine read. Recommended for public and academic libraries that do not already own Nichols’s monograph.John Burch, Campbellsville Univ. Lib., KY

Traxel, David. Crusader Nation: The United States in Peace and the Great War, 1898 – 1920. Knopf. Jan. 2006. c.432p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 0-375-41078-3. $27.50. HIST

Traxel (history, Univ. of the Sciences, Philadelphia; 1898: The Birth of the American Century) weaves many of the social, political, cultural, and industrial events that marked the Progressive Era into an engrossing narration that synthesizes previous scholarship about the period. He makes excellent use of anecdotes from published primary and secondary sources to recount the history of the "crusades" championed by the United States at the time. However, Traxel’s account is not complete. Ida B. Wells and her antilynching campaign are not included, women’s suffrage is only briefly mentioned, and the vital role of African Americans is hardly touched on. All deserved a prominent place in the book. Broader histories, such as Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States: 1492 – Present, do a better job of covering these essential aspects of the era. Nonetheless, Traxel’s readable book would make a nice addition to academic and large public libraries.Diane Fulkerson, Univ. of West Georgia Lib., Carrollton

Law & Crime

Kaiser III, Martin L. & Robert Stokes. Odyssey of an Eavesdropper: My Life in Electronic Countermeasures and My Battle Against the FBI. Carroll & Graf. Jan. 2006. c.352p. photogs. index. ISBN 0-7867-1546-4. $26. CRIME

Unlike Patrick Radden Keefe’s recent Chatter: Dispatches from the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping, this book is by a true insider. Kaiser was involved with the FBI at the height of illegal federal surveillance in the 1960s and 1970s. He details his beginnings as an RCA technician and his stints building eavesdropping devices under contract to the FBI, CIA, DEA, and a host of other domestic and foreign security agencies. The results are truly fascinating, with lurid details about spying by the Soviets, the FBI, and rogue ex-agents. The crux of the book is Kaiser’s 1975 exposé, in testimony to the National Wiretap Commission, of FBI misdeeds, which he says triggered years of retribution by the agency and its proxies. After a nervous breakdown and the near failure of his business, the author turned to presiding over a company that makes eavesdropping devices and bomb detection equipment. His cautionary tale includes detailed advice on the use of bugging equipment and how to detect and avoid surveillance. He was also a consultant to films such as The Conversation, The Matrix, and Enemy of the State and describes how his expertise helped make the movies more realistic. Highly recommended.Harry Charles, Attorney at Law, St. Louis

Parapsychology

Magnus, John. Astral Projection and the Nature of Reality: Exploring the Out-of-Body State. Hampton Roads. Jan. 2006. c.320p. ISBN 1-57174-447-9. pap. $15.95. PARAPSYCH

This book provides information for those interested in out-of-body experiences, from preparation to execution to exploration. Software engineer and self-proclaimed interdimensional traveler Magnus goes further than other authors in this area, explaining more about the nonphysical dimensions through which the astral adventurer can enter and travel. He gives a brief history of astral projection, describes how we subconsciously create astral worlds in our minds, offers techniques and exercises to tame fears and addictions, and explains how our actions in other dimensions affect our physical lives in this one. Various ways to prepare for astral projection are discussed, such as visualization, sleep states, affirmations, and attitude. This book is an excellent and practical breakdown of current knowledge in the area of astral projection, and the exercises, along with the author’s accounts of his out-of-body experiences, make his account extremely readable and enjoyable. Suitable for all public libraries and for specialized collections dealing with New Age and perhaps even psychology materials.Brad Eden, Univ. of Nevada Libs., Las Vegas

Political Science

Global Values 101: A Short Course. Beacon. Feb. 2006. c.256p. ed. by Brian Palmer & others. bibliog. index. ISBN 0-8070-0305-0. pap. $14. POL SCI

For Personal Choice and Global Transformation, the exceedingly popular and controversial Harvard undergraduate religion course that spawned this book, lecturer Palmer and graduate student Kate Holbrook invited about a dozen people – "from janitors to billionaires, from professors to corporate CEOs to nuns" – to their class each semester to answer tough, well-informed questions posed by their students. Transcripts of 16 of those conversations comprise this timely, thought-provoking volume that opens with historian Howard Zinn and closes with independent journalist Amy Goodman. (No janitor makes the cut.) Divided into six sections – "History and Investigations"; "Labor and Economy"; "Diversity and Equality"; "Brutality, Bloodshed, and Resolution"; "Religion and Ethics"; and "Distance and Proximity" – these interviews touch on such subjects as gender, race, inequality and affluence, courage, free speech, and social responsibility. The interviews with Lani Guinier, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Katha Pollitt, Robert Reich, and others elicit articulate and earnest responses about living "deliberately" in the world and seeking to make a difference. The results make this book well worth reading. Criticized for his unapologetically liberal views and outspokenness against Harvard’s labor practices, Palmer became a favorite with the hundreds of students he taught each semester during his three years at the university. Recommended for all public and academic libraries.Donna L. Davey, Tamiment Lib., NYU

Psychology

Ackerman, Larry. The Identity Code: The 8 Essential Questions for Finding Your Purpose and Place in the World. Random. Dec. 2005. c.208p. ISBN 1-4000-6417-1. $21.95. PSYCH

Socrates entreated his followers to "Know thyself," but for many people in today’s fast-paced society, that inner self is virtually a stranger. We have become so focused on the day-to-day details of life in the 21st century that we fail to consider whether our goals are actually compatible with our true identity. "Your identity is your gift to the world": this is the message of identity expert Ackerman (Identity Is Destiny) in his latest guide to transforming our lives by looking within. Billed as the "secular answer to A Purpose-Driven Life," this extremely readable book presents eight questions and related exercises to help guide readers through the "Identity Mapping" process, which will help readers discover who they are truly meant to be and their life purpose. Readers will get as much out of this book as they are willing to put into it. Recommended for most public libraries.Wendy Wendt, Marshall-Lyon Cty. Lib., MN

Barash, Susan Shapiro. Tripping the Prom Queen: The Truth About Women and Rivalry. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2006. c.288p. index. ISBN 0-312-34231-4. $22.95. PSYCH

Barash (critical thinking & gender studies, Marymount Manhattan Coll.; Sisters: Devoted or Divided) bases her book on conversations with 500 women who responded to her request for stories of envy, jealousy, and friendship. She seems insufficiently aware, however, of the possibility that such a self-selected sample may not fairly represent all women. The pettiness and cruelty of many respondents make for unpleasant reading, scarcely mitigated by the author’s assertion that societal sexism is a driving force behind the nastiness. While the world no doubt contains women who deliberately set out to seduce their best friends’ husbands, stab hard-working coworkers in the back, and commit other such acts of interpersonal evil, the book becomes frustrating for readers who are concerned with rivalry among women but are not themselves prone to lashing out so destructively. Nonetheless, there are a few voices to which the rest of us can relate, and later chapters feature some useful ideas for managing rivalrous feelings. Recommended for large public libraries or as demand warrants.Susan Pease, Univ. of Massachusetts Lib., Amherst

Chethik, Neil. VoiceMale. S. & S. Jan. 2006. c.256p. ISBN 0-7432-5872-X [ISBN 978-0-7432-5872-2]. $23. PSYCH

Traditionally, analyzing marriage and relationships has been the domain of women, but in this enlightening volume, Chethik (FatherLoss: How Sons of All Ages Come To Terms with the Deaths of Their Dads) offers readers a discussion of husbands’ thoughts. The statistics and anecdotes that he presents are the result of extensive research – a telephone survey of 288 husbands, in-depth interviews with 70 husbands, and reviews of related studies. Yet the book is not academic; Chethik does a wonderful job of making the material accessible to general readers. Individual sections deal with the motivations behind marriage, the four phases of marriage, specific topics and situations, and the differences between male and female demonstrations of love. Dozens of examples, stories, and quotes make for an engaging and intimate text. To boot, the exclusively male point of view is refreshing and will be eyeopening for male and female readers alike. Recommended for large public libraries and some undergraduate institutions.Erica L. Foley, Flint P.L., MI

OrangeReviewStar Social Sciences Reviews | December 15, 2005 Joiner, Thomas. Why People Die By Suicide. HarvardUniv. Jan. 2006. c.270p. bibliog. index. ISBN 0-674-01901-6. $24.95. PSYCH

Guggenheim Award winner Joiner (psychology, Florida State Univ.) provides a fascinating contribution to psychological literature that is certain to join the ranks of Émile Durkheim’s Suicide and Karl Menninger’s Man Against Himself. Not only has Joiner established professional prominence in suicidology, but he also has a profound personal relationship with the subject: his own father died by suicide. Drawing on the pain of this experience as well as on clinical and epidemiological evidence, Joiner has managed to conduct significant research into why some people die by suicide, while others survive their attempts at self-annihilation. His persuasive thesis is that practice, mental and physical, is what separates the completers from the attempters. In particular, those who have become desensitized to physical pain are most likely to orchestrate their own deaths successfully. Joiner also identifies perceived burdensomeness, little sense of belonging, genetics, neurobiology, and mental disorders as contributors to suicidality and completion. Akin to Kay Redfield Jamison’s superb Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide, this book is strongly recommended for all university and public library collections.Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law Lib., PA

Schlessinger, Laura. Bad Childhood – Good Life: How To Blossom and Thrive in Spite of an Unhappy Childhood. HarperCollins. Jan. 2006. c.257p. ISBN 0-06-057786-X. $24.95. PSYCH

According to controversial radio talk-show host Schlessinger, a.k.a. "Dr. Laura," many people find themselves stuck in the role of "victim," reliving dysfunctional childhoods and repeating damaging behavior. Using examples from her show’s transcripts and postshow listener comments and sharing her own personal history, she offers conservative commonsense advice framed in maxims: victims should become not just survivors but conquerors; positive behavior and attitude changes should be made without expecting linear change and growth. Her suggestions for adult children who are reestablishing connections with formerly absent or nonbonded parents may appear extreme, but she makes a good case for proceeding cautiously and, if necessary, "kissing-off," or breaking off contact, especially where grandchildren might be involved. For Dr. Laura, a good life is a combination of "what you do, what you mean to others, how you handle life’s normal challenges, and how much you appreciate your blessings and opportunities." This, like her other books, is sure to become a best seller. Highly recommended, especially for public libraries.Lucille M. Boone, San Jose P.L., CA

Watlington, Dennis. Chasing America: A Memoir. Thomas Dunne Bks: St. Martin’s. Feb. 2005. c.368p. ISBN 0-312-27189-1. $24.95. PSYCH

Watlington, an Emmy Award – winning screenwriter and filmmaker (The Untold West: The Black West), writes a dark, raw, and revealing narrative of the first 40 years of his life that begins in early 1950s Harlem, NY. Through his firsthand experiences, we witness some of the cultural changes in black America brought on by Jim Crow laws, Martin Luther King Jr., the Civil Rights Movement, rock’n'roll, early attempts at educational integration, the rise of the drug lords in the ghetto and the development of gang warfare, and the growing hatred and violence that eventually drives him out of his home turf. Although he came of age in exciting times, Watlington unfortunately fails to engage the reader’s sympathy as he bungles his way through opportunities, making self-destructive choices and revealing inconsistencies in his behavior. For example, he proudly describes his public speaking work with a drug prevention program, yet at the time he was a user. His text moves backward and forward with sometimes jarring results, and his excessive use of profanity and streetwise ghetto talk, almost incomprehensible to the uninitiated, detracts from the effectiveness of his message. Order on demand only.Crystal Renfro, Georgia Inst. of Technology, Lib. and Information Ctr., Atlanta

Wexler, David B. Is He Depressed or What?: What To Do When the Man You Love Is Irritable, Moody, and Withdrawn. New Harbinger. Jan. 2006. c.190p. ISBN 1-57224-424-0. pap. $15.95. PSYCH

In recent years, various books on male psychology have argued that depressed men often have symptoms that are quite different from those experienced by depressed women. According to clinical psychologist Wexler (executive director, Relationship Training Inst., San Diego; When Good Men Behave Badly), men "often mask depression with workaholism, substance abuse, withdrawal from relationships, and defensive (sometimes aggressive) interpersonal behavior." Here he provides guidance for women on how to recognize these symptoms and communicate constructively with their partners about their depressive behavior. Offering a range of interventions and strategies for recovery based on approaches shown to be effective with some depressed men, Wexler cautions women to take care of themselves, set limits on their partners’ negative behavior, and, if that behavior becomes intolerable, know when to leave. This particular focus – on female partners of depressed males – seems unique to this book. Most of the strategies, however, can no doubt be found in similar self-help books. With a foreword by Terrance Real (I Don’t Want To Talk About It), this book, which offers guidance, not guarantees, is recommended for public libraries.Ilse Heidmann, Washington State Lib., Olympia

Social Science

Biank, Tanya. Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2006. c.288p. ISBN 0-312-33350-1. $23.95. SOC SCI

During the summer of 2002, at Fort Bragg near Fayetteville, NC, four base wives were murdered by their husbands, and the U.S. Army rose to assess why this happened and how, if at all, training men for combat influenced the men’s attitudes toward wives and families. Biank, who covered the story for the Fayetteville Observer, here focuses on one of the murdered victims and three other Fort Bragg army wives. She seeks to understand the extent to which the military environment may or may not have influenced how these women and their husbands interacted with each other, how stable their marriages were, and how they dealt with lengthy separations, with their husbands often in very dangerous environs. Biank has strong credentials for understanding and explaining army culture: in addition to having been a military reporter, she is the daughter and wife of army officers. Her very readable and thoughtful book delves into a rarely studied segment of the army and should be appreciated by a large general audience.Suzanne W. Wood, emerita,SUNY at Alfred

Lemov, Rebecca. World as Laboratory: Experiments with Mice, Mazes, and Man. Hill & Wang: Farrar. Dec. 2005. c.288p. ISBN 0-8090-7464-8. $25. SOC SCI

This intriguing history of social engineering reveals both the boldness of its failures and its living legacy in contemporary applications like focus groups and advertising techniques, behavior modification and self-help strategies, and perhaps even coercive interrogation tactics like those used at Abu Ghraib. Lemov (history & anthropology, Univ. of Washington) begins her first book by covering obscure pioneers (e.g., German American biologist Jacques Loeb) whose laboratory work laid the groundwork for behaviorism, a revolutionary but simple idea that behavior itself – not some elusive mental state – is the key to understanding and controlling human activity. She organizes the book around key figures whose ideas spurred the theory’s growth and whose influence generated impressive financial support and institutional patronage. Taking a chronological approach, she also traces how behaviorism’s tenets were applied to brainwashing and other reprehensible mind-control studies (e.g., CIA studies on LSD) and how such applications diminished the idealistic patina of the theory but not its influence on 21st-century society. Anyone interested in the history of the social sciences should find this authoritative, well-paced work enlightening. Recommended for academic collections and large public libraries.Antoinette Brinkman, MLS, Evansville, IN

Travel & Geography

Blondes, Casey O’Brien (text) & Stephanie Cardon (photogs.). French Country Hideaways: Vacationing at Private Châteaus & Manors in Rural France. Rizzoli, dist. by Random. 2005. 208p. photogs. ISBN 0-8478-2682-1. $39.95. TRAV

Francophiles, rejoice: writer and journalist O’Brien Blondes will spirit you to France to confirm your passion for châteaus, food, wine, and the beautiful countryside. Thirty historic châteaus, recently made available to the public as lodgings, are showcased by area: Brittany and Normandy; the Loire, Vendée, and Berry; Dordogne and Aquitaine; and, of course, Provence. Lifestyle and architecture photographer Cardon’s 150-plus exceptional color photos bring each site to life. Each château entry offers information on the history of the building and grounds, types of accommodations, background of the owners, and sightseeing in the vicinity. An excellent appendix of practical information supplies contact information and details on the château. Room rates are not indicated but are designated from moderate (70-150 euros/double) to luxury (120-300 euros/double). One caveat: the contact web sites are uniformly in French. Recommended for large travel collections in public and university libraries.Olga B. Wise, Austin, TX

California Coastal Commission. Experience the CaliforniaCoast: A Guide to Beaches and Parks in Northern California. Univ. of California. 2005. 320p. illus. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 0-520-24540-7. pap. $24.95. TRAV

Despite their location in the nation’s most populous state, the beaches of many Northern California counties are still havens of peace and solitude. This outstanding guide describes in detail many of the beaches, parks, and nature preserves found in the counties of Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Sonoma, and Marin. Names such as Horse Mountain Beach, Jug Handle State Reserve, and Little Jackass Creek recall the Wild West days of California, but the areas listed nonetheless offer plenty of contemporary amenities (comprehensively detailed here): kayak rentals, picnic facilities, equestrian accommodations, and much more. Also included here are driving directions, telephone contacts, and information on handicapped accessibility. But what ultimately sets this book apart from other guides to the California coast are its special features: brief essays and beautiful color photographs on everything from the formation of dunes to the San Andreas Fault. Given that California is a major international tourist destination, this comprehensive, detailed, and informative book should be a primary purchase.Joseph L. Carlson, Allan Hancock Coll., Lompoc, CA

Eberstadt, Fernanda. Little Money Street: In Search of Gypsies and Their Music in the South of France. Knopf. Mar. 2006. c.256p. ISBN 0-375-41116-X. $24.95. TRAV

Gypsies are often viewed as outsiders, their closed communities the source of much derision. The city of Perpignan, France, is home to one such group of Gypsies, which novelist Eberstadt (The Furies; Isaac and His Devils) befriends. In this nonfiction work, she tells the story of their interactions. While her interest begins with the music – the celebrated "Gypsy rumba" band Tekameli formed in Perpignan – Eberstadt ultimately becomes more engaged with, and indeed writes more about, the current Gypsy culture and mores and the effects of modern life on the new generations in Perpignan. Presented as a series of encounters and experiences, this book offers readers what is certainly a Western perspective on Gypsy life, but one that is stripped of judgment or reinforcement of traditional stereotypes. While other insider accounts have been written about closed Gypsy communities, Eberstadt’s book distinguishes itself through its treatment of subjects not addressed elsewhere. Recommended for travel collections and collections on Gypsy life.Sheila Kasperek, Mansfield Univ. Lib., PA

Hannan, Bill & Lorna Hannan. Greece: The Essential Guide to Viewing Art in Greece. Interlink: Interlink Pub. Group. (Art for Travellers). 2005. c.302p. illus. maps. index. ISBN 1-56656-592-8. pap. $20. TRAV

Bill and Lorna Hannan (Art for Travellers France) visit extended family in Greece frequently. Those regular trips account for the minute detail of their observations of Greek art as they guide readers, room by room, through dozens of museums and around archaeological sites scattered across Greece. This is a take-with (or study-well-in-advance) guide divided into convenient regions, which the Hannans have dubbed "trails," for exploration, ranging from three in Athens to ones in Delphi, Corinth, Olympia, Thebes, Thessalonike, Crete, and Santorini. For the museums and ancient sites, they also include practical information about hours of operation, admission charges (in euros), transportation options, and suggested times to allot for viewing. The full scope of Greek art, from the earliest civilizations to the Byzantine, is covered and enhanced with historical background. Missing, alas, from this excellent guide are city maps to pinpoint the locations of museums and sites. The book does, however, end on a practical note with a comprehensive list of "Other Notable Figures in Greek Art," an extensive appendix of "The Ancient World," a glossary, and an index. A useful addition to academic and public libraries with large art and travel collections.Janet Ross, formerly with Sparks Branch Lib., NV

Kaufman, Emily. The Travel Mom’s Ultimate Book of Family Travel: Planning, Surviving, and Enjoying Your Vacation Together. Broadway. Feb. 2006. c.256p. ISBN 0-7679-2063-5. pap. $14. TRAV

Kaufman, a travel contributor to ABC’s Good Morning America and a regular contributor to Woman’s Day magazine, has designed this two-part book to help moms plan their first family vacation. The text first outlines general advice about vacationing, e.g., how to entertain your children in the car, what to pack, and how to involve the whole family in decision making. Then, there is coverage of potential travel destinations, which are divided by kind of vacation, such as beach or winter. Within each vacation type, Kaufman discusses several options (her chapter on cruise ships, for example, describes four different cruise lines and what differentiates them) and points readers toward further information. With her light and friendly tone, Kaufman imparts a great deal of useful material. Enjoyable to read and handy for the first-time family traveler, this is recommended for public libraries.Alison Hopkins, Territorial Librarian, Northwest Territories, AK

Kilfeather, Siobhán. Dublin: A Cultural History. 300p. ISBN 0-19-518202-2.
Nash, Elizabeth. Seville, Córdoba, and Granada: A Cultural History. 252p. ISBN 0-19-518204-9.
ea. vol: OxfordUniv. (CityScapes). 2005. illus. index. pap. $15. TRAV

These volumes represent the newest additions to the publisher’s "Cityscapes" series (Cairo), which offers background on the historical, cultural, artistic, and literary roots of the titular cities. Nash, a correspondent for the Independent (UK) and author of Madrid: A Cultural and Literary Companion, tells the story of Seville, the Andalusian capital and once Europe’s most cosmopolitan metropolis; Córdoba, with its 600 public bathhouses and the tenth-century mosque, Mezquita; and Granada, location of the world-renowned Alhambra. She recounts the history of the region’s many magnificent mosques, cathedrals, palaces, patios, and other architectural and cultural wonders through the lives of its citizens, from eminent dwellers such as Cervantes and Federico Garcia Lorca to legendary characters like Carmen and Don Juan.

Kilfeather, who teaches Irish writing at the School of English at Queen’s University, Belfast, explores Ireland’s capital city on the east coast of the Irish Sea, once synonymous with poverty and desperation, now thriving. She recounts the city’s history of violence, resistance, and rebirth and conjures up such literary figures as James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, and Patrick Kavanagh. She also rejoices in Dublin’s contributions from women, including novelist Edna O’Brien, Anne Devlin, an instrumental figure in the 1803 Emmet’s rebellion, and Jane Wilde, Oscar’s mother and a poet in her own right. Both volumes have delightful illustrations, clear tables of contents, bibliographies, and separate indexes for literary and historical names, places, and landmarks. Packed with provocative historical and cultural information for both travelers and students of the areas, these guides are highly recommended.Melinda Stivers Leach, Precision Editorial Svcs., Wondervu, CO

Shahin, Mariam (text) & George Azar (photogs.). Palestine: A Guide. Interlink: Interlink Pub. Group. 2005. c.512p. photogs. maps. ISBN 1-56656-557-X. pap. $27.95. TRAV

This is truly a guidebook, a resource for readers seeking information about the cultural, social, and geographic character of Palestine, a region with a long history but no current political existence. Shahin, a journalist, author, and frequent contributor to special news programs for ABC News, opens with a rich section on Palestinian life, surveying Palestinian history, landscape, and traditional and contemporary arts and crafts. Ten pages are devoted to examining the present political frustrations among Palestinians. Shahin goes on to provide detailed descriptions of every region – its people, towns, settings, and historic sites – while photographer Azar (Palestine: A Photographic Journey) contributes a multitude of attractive and colorful photographs depicting a wide range of residents and places. There is also a useful appendix of travel information, which lists tourism and cultural organizations, research centers, and contacts for hotels, restaurants, and travel facilities in many towns. Valuable for public and college libraries whose patrons may want to plan a visit to the region or may simply want to learn about daily life in Palestine free of the intense political perspective pervasive in the press and television coverage of the region.Elizabeth R. Hayford, Associated Colls. of the Midwest, Chicago

Youman, Becky & Bryan Estep. Liquid Mexico: Festive Spirits, Tequila Culture, and the Infamous Worm. Bilingual Pr: Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingue Hispanic Research Ctr. Dec. 2005. c.248p. illus. ISBN 1-931010-26-9. pap. $18. TRAV

At first glance, this book does not appear to offer much for the teetotaler. Further examination, however, reveals the inclusion of interesting facts and travel suggestions for those still on the wagon. The authors, a husband-and-wife team who have lived and worked in Mexico for many years and coauthored several travel guides on Latin America, here sample selections of beer and other libations in Mexico – the most famous of which, of course, is tequila. Distilled from the blue agave plant harvested in only five Mexican states, tequila is sipped and savored by most Mexicans (and not gulped down to a nauseating finish as in the States). There is also its mestizo agave cousin, mezcal (the one with the worm), and its pre-Columbian precursor, pulque. Mixed in with Estep and Youman’s sampling of spirits – and their goal to find the true source of the margarita – are tales of their trips to archaeological sites, beaches, and artisan centers. Recommended for large public libraries.Lee Arnold, Historical Soc. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

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