Greenwald, Glenn. No Place To Hide. Metropolitan: Holt. 2014. 259p. illus. ISBN 9781627790734. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781627790741. POL SCI
Journalist and former constitutional lawyer Greenwald (With Liberty and Justice for Some) examines the impact of the revelations in the National Security Agency (NSA) documents leaked to him by Edward Snowden. It’s a fascinating read as Greenwald, a longtime writer on issues of national security and Guardian columnist at the time, describes his interactions with the whistle-blower and provides an erudite, complete time line of the events pre- and postpublication of the classified information. Greenwald dismisses the “collect it all” policy of the NSA, maintaining that its overarching surveillance powers—routinely collecting and quantifying data on billions of communications worldwide—don’t prevent acts of terror. Drawing on political theory and psychology, Greenwald likewise explains that the argument that law-abiding citizens aren’t affected is fundamentally flawed, because even the simple threat of universal surveillance impacts human behavior. He is scathing in his analysis of the “establishment media” (Washington Post, New York Times, etc.), both for what he views as deference to the U.S. government on matters of publication and their coverage of the leak, including the question of whether he himself is a journalist—or merely a “blogger” or “activist”—afforded constitutional press protection. In his analysis, the author breaks down the dense NSA subject matter and uses excerpts and slides from the documents to illustrate his points, making this work readable for even those unfamiliar with the technical concepts. VERDICT Greenwald’s delineation of the NSA’s actions, as well as his arguments for the right of privacy and a robust adversarial press, makes this book a must-read.
Harwood, Jeremy. Hitler’s War: World War II as Portrayed by Signal, the International Nazi Propaganda Magazine. Zenith: Quarto. 2014. 224p. illus. ISBN 9780760346211. $25. HIST
Modeled after Picture Post in Britain and Life and National Geographic in the United States, Signal magazine was Nazi Germany’s most successful wartime propaganda publication; its peak circulation reached 2.5 million copies per issue. This chronicle of the magazine’s life span, which mirrors that of the Third Reich (April 1940–March 1945), offers a fascinatingly rich and detailed German civilian–centric account and viewpoint of the war, world, and culture. In both full pages and snippets clipped from the publication, every front of the spectacle of war and the German perspective is examined and framed chronologically—the battles and conquests, articles, ads, graphics, human-interest stories, and entertainment/society coverage—with that selective intonation and controlled word choice we’ve become fascinated with in propaganda and that no doubt propels its enduring intrigue. Owing dually to the effective production value of the publication and Harwood’s (The Secret History of Freemasonry) deft presentation of the material, though the story is understood (and it’s impossible not to measure the text retrospectively, knowingly aware of the gravity and sensational delusion), this book feels immediate and intimate. VERDICT Carrying an organic empirical quality rarely facilitated by a historical text, this rich and fascinating study is for World War II enthusiasts, historians, socioculturalists, and journalists.
Until the Rulers Obey: Voices from Latin American Social Movements. PM Pr. 2014. 544p. ed. by Clifton Ross & Marcy Rein. photos. maps. notes. index. ISBN 9781604867947. pap. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781604869002. INT AFFAIRS
Detailing turn-of-the-21st-century social movements in Latin America, this book addresses the plight of long-marginalized segments of society, including indigenous people, students, and the LGBT community. Editors Ross (Translations from Silence) and Rein have compiled a collection of interviews from leaders and activists in 15 Latin American countries. The book is organized by country, each section beginning with analysis by a regional expert. This treasure trove of primary-source material conveys the strategies and tactics social movements have used with the so-called “Pink Tide” (or moderately leftist) governments that have come to power since the 1990s. While these states have appealed for broader participation and democratically approved constitutions, in reality they have tended to implement social policies that weaken the movements. None of the Pink Tide states have really addressed the roots of poverty or the environmental crises of a region where there is a relentless quest for natural resources by transnational corporations. This book fills a void in Latin American history coverage and does so with experts and the voices of grassroots activists. VERDICT Highly recommended for those interested in social change in Latin America or looking for a primary-source reader for modern Latin American history.
Echols, Damien & Lorri Davis. Yours for Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row. Blue Rider. Jun. 2014. 448p. photos. ISBN 9780399166198. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101634837. CRIME
This is both a universal and a wildly unconventional love story told through letters. Echols (Life After Death), of the West Memphis Three—three teens convicted of the early 1990s murders of three boys in West Mempis, AR—was a death-row inmate before being released after serving 18 years for that wrongful murder conviction. In addition to legal representation and celebrity advocacy, Davis, a New York landscape architect, was a key participant in this endeavor. Davis married Echols in 1999, while he was in prison, about three years after viewing a documentary about the case. These letters recount the progress of their relationship. The book’s arrangement is chronological, covering 1996–2011, with updated postscripts. Focused on their highly idealized feelings for each other, the letters also provide insights into Davis’s background and personality, the overwhelming difficulties of overturning such a conviction, and the frustrations of nurturing a relationship under the conditions of incarceration. The missives tend to be short, intimate, and poetically written. VERDICT As a compilation of letters that supplement other works on this case, this book will appeal mainly to readers seeking a more personal perspective. Recommended for its vivid portrayal of an extraordinarily successful prison romance. [See Prepub Alert, 12/16/13.]
Griesbach, Michael. The Innocent Killer: A True Story of a Wrongful Conviction and Its Astonishing Aftermath. American Bar Assn. Jul. 2014. 352p. index. ISBN 9781627223638. pap. $16.95. CRIME
Sometimes things are not always so clear. That is the point Griesbach, a Wisconsin prosecuting attorney, makes in this twisted real-life story of violence and murder in his state. Similar to many people who followed the cases in question from 1985 to 2013, readers will think they know what is going on, only for the facts to refute their original judgment. Griesbach traces skillfully the story from beginning to end, from the assault on Penny Beerntsen to the murder of Teresa Halbach. In the middle of this storm of violence is Steven Avery, who was convicted of the Beerntsen assault and would spend years proclaiming his innocence. After serving 18 years in prison, freed with DNA evidence and the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, he stood trial—just over two years later—for the Halbach murder, which was committed after his release. This book is a gripping read, spiraling readers from one emotion to another. The first courtroom scene drags a little, but it helps readers see how the legal process worked (or didn’t work) with these cases. VERDICT Recommended for those who enjoy reading true crime, courtroom dramas, and Wisconsin history.
Liebman, James S. & the Columbia DeLuna Project. The Wrong Carlos: Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution. Columbia Univ. Jul. 2014. 464p. illus. maps. bibliog. ISBN 9780231167222. $85; pap. ISBN 9780231167239. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780231536684. CRIME
Liebman (Columbia Law Sch.) and his former students present the chilling results of the Columbia DeLuna Project, which sought to prove that Texas executed an innocent man in 1989. Unlike Leslie Lytle’s Execution’s Doorstep, which studied death-row inmates who were freed after being exonerated, this is a postmortem investigation of a collection of travesties. According to the authors, the 1983 murder of Wanda Lopez, a convenience store clerk in Corpus Christi, TX, was committed by Carlos Hernandez, whom Carlos DeLuna, the executed man, knew. Using court records, extensive interviews with witnesses, and photographic evidence, the authors dissect DeLuna’s conviction, which was based on a single eyewitness and on DeLuna’s capture near the crime scene. The book attempts to refute Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia’s 2006 claim that there has never been proof of a wrongful U.S. execution. The exhaustively documented text presents the case in chronological order, from the crime to the execution, and at a minimum creates abundant reasonable doubt for the accused. The authors do not argue for the abolition of the death penalty but show that in one case the justice system completely failed. One question left unanswered is whether, 25 years later, death penalty prosecutions are any more thorough. VERDICT A masterpiece of its type and a disturbing true crime account, highly recommended for all nonfiction collections.
Morton, Michael. Getting Life: An Innocent Man’s 25-Year Journey from Prison to Peace. S. & S. Jul. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9781476756820. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781476756844. MEMOIR
In this absorbing first-person narrative, first-time author Morton shows readers how it is possible in our justice system to be convicted of a crime without substantial evidence. One afternoon in August 1986, Morton returned home from work to find that his wife had been bludgeoned to death. He became the prime suspect, even though there was nothing to tie him to the murder. Tried and convicted, Morton spent 25 years behind bars in Williamson County, TX, until the New York–based Innocence Project took on his case and secured his release using DNA evidence. The happier side to all this is that Morton holds no grudges, and, back at home, he has found peace through a new marriage and a new life. The narrative deals mostly with the man’s personal traumas during his incarceration as well as his prison experiences—readers may prefer one or the other of these or they may learn about his courage to find forgiveness despite everything that has happened. VERDICT Written in a crisp style, this book should appeal to almost any reader who is interested in true crime stories. It is a must-read for students and professionals in criminal justice.
Schnapp, Jeffrey T. & Matthew Battles. The Library Beyond the Book. Harvard Univ. Jun. 2014. 176p. ISBN 9780674725034. pap. $23.95. PRO MEDIA
While iPad-bearing soothsayers banish print books to dustbins, coauthors Schnapp and Battles, both insightful provocateurs from Harvard University, envision dynamic and fluid architectural spaces warehousing paper as well as pixels. In a spirit of refreshing experimentation, they ask: What flexible qualities from the past can accommodate tomorrow’s information consumers and, when combined, produce innovative configurations for a digital world? These structures incorporate basic components used in libraries across centuries, such as bookshelves, card catalogs, librarians, and reference desks. Building upon this framework, the authors imagine six plausible scenarios for serving tomorrow’s diverse information consumers, situating libraries as everything from study shelters to civic institutions functioning as mobile libraries, reading rooms promoting social change, and/or event-driven knowledge centers. VERDICT Schnapp and Battles offer plausible configurations of both book and library in the age of the Internet of Everything. Their imaginative essays demonstrate the rigorous research and design thinking customary within university settings. The mainstream reading public may have difficulty conceptualizing aspects of their heady discussion, making the title best for a professional audience.
To log in to your account, click here. To view the new subscription options, Get Started With Book Verdict Pro Today.
Don't know if you have an account with us? It's easy to check and verify your email, or create a new account.
Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.
Marsh, Charles. Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Knopf. 2014. 528p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780307269812. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780385351690. biog
Greenway, H.D.S. Foreign Correspondent: A Memoir. S. & S. Aug. 2014. 272p. illus. index. ISBN 9781476761329. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781476761381. COMM
Jones, Arthur. The National Catholic Reporter at Fifty: The Story of the Pioneering Paper and Its Editors. Rowman & Littlefield. Aug. 2014. 310p. ISBN 9781442236110. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781442236127. COMM
Bryant, John Hope. How the Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class. Berrett-Koehler. Jun. 2014. 176p. notes. ISBN 9781626560321. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781626560345. ECON
Castronova, Edward. Wildcat Currency: How the Virtual Money Revolution Is Transforming the Economy. Yale Univ. Jun. 2014. 288p. notes. index. ISBN 9780300186130. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780300187410. ECON
Macy, Beth. Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local—and Helped Save an American Town. Little, Brown. Jul. 2014. 368p. notes. ISBN 9780316231435. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316231565. BUS
Silverstein, Ken. The Secret World of Oil. Verso. 2014. 240p. notes. ISBN 9781781681374. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781781681930. ECON
Schaenen, Inda. Speaking of Fourth Grade: What Listening to Kids Tells Us About School in America. New Pr. Jul. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9781595589064. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781595589811. ED
Straus, Emily E. Death of a Suburban Dream: Race and Schools in Compton, California. Univ. of Pennsylvania. 2014. 336p. illus. maps. notes. ISBN 9780812245981. $55; ebk. ISBN 9780812209587. ED
Bayor, Ronald H. Encountering Ellis Island: How European Immigrants Entered America. Johns Hopkins. (How Things Worked). 2014. 184p. notes. ISBN 9781421413679. $44.95; pap. ISBN 9781421413686. $22.95. HIST
Borneman, Walter R. American Spring: Lexington, Concord, and the Road to Revolution. Little, Brown. 2014. 496p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780316221023. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780316221016. HIST
Cobb, Charles E., Jr. This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible. Basic: Perseus. Jun. 2014. 304p. notes. ISBN 9780465033102. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780465080953. HIST
DeRose, Chris. The Presidents’ War: Six American Presidents and the Civil War That Divided Them. Lyons: Globe Pequot. Jun. 2014. 392p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780762796649. $28.95. HIST
Grove, Tim. A Grizzly in the Mail and Other Adventures in American History. Univ. of Nebraska. 2014. 256p. notes. ISBN 9780803249721. pap. $18.95. HIST
Messenger, David A. Hunting Nazis in Franco’s Spain. Louisiana State Univ. 2014. 216p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780807155639. $39.95; ebk. ISBN 9780807155653. HIST
Scotton, Frank. Uphill Battle: Reflections on Viet Nam Counterinsurgency.
Texas Tech Univ. (Modern Southeast Asia). 2014. 512p. photos. notes. index. ISBN 9780896728691. $85; pap. ISBN 9780896728677. $39.95; ebk. ISBN 9780896726864. HIST
Sides, Hampton. In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette. Doubleday. Aug. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780385535373. $28.95. HIST
Szczygiel, Mariusz. Gottland: Mostly True Stories from Half of Czechoslovakia. Melville House. 2014. 288p. tr. from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones. ISBN 9781612193137. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781612193144. HIST
Wolmar, Christian. To the Edge of the World: The Story of the Trans-Siberian Express, the World’s Greatest Railroad. PublicAffairs. Aug. 2014. 320p. notes. index. ISBN 9781610394529. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9781610394536. HIST
Worthington, Ian. By the Spear: Philip II, Alexander the Great, and the Rise and Fall of the Macedonian Empire. Oxford Univ. (Ancient Warfare & Civilization). Jun. 2014. 424p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780199929863. $34.95. HIST
Law & Crime
Blanding, Michael. The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps. Gotham. Jun. 2014. 360p. bibliog. maps. notes. ISBN 9781592408177. $27.50; ebk. ISBN 9780698156982. CRIME
Carbone, June & Naomi Cahn. Marriage Markets: How Inequality Is Remaking the American Family. Oxford Univ. 2014. 256p. notes. ISBN 9780199916580. $29.95. LAW
Powell, Sidney. Licensed To Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice. Brown Bks. 2014. 456p. bibliog. ISBN 9781612541495. $28.95. LAW
Sarat, Austin. Gruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America’s Death Penalty. Stanford Univ. Jun. 2014. 288p. notes. ISBN 9780804789165. $24; ebk. ISBN 9780804791724. LAW
Carter, Jimmy. A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power. S. & S. 2014. 224p. index. ISBN 9781476773957. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781476773971. INT AFFAIRS
Chumley, Cheryl K. Police State USA: How Orwell’s Nightmare Is Becoming Our Reality. WND. 2014. 240p. notes. index. ISBN 9781936488148. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781936488162. POL SCI
Invisible Hands: Voices from the Global Economy. McSweeney’s. (Voice of Witness). 2014. 400p. ed. by Corinne Goria. illus. maps. ISBN 9781938073908. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781940450353. INT AFFAIRS
Davies, Jim. Riveted: The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One with the Universe. Palgrave Macmillan. Aug. 2014. 288p. notes. ISBN 9781137279019. $27. PSYCH
O’Connor, Richard. Rewire: Change Your Brain To Break Bad Habits, Overcome Addictions, Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior. Hudson Street. Aug. 2014. 304p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9781594632563. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698156968. PSYCH
Castaneda, Ruben. S Street Rising: Crack, Murder, and Redemption in D.C. Bloomsbury USA. Jul. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781620400043. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781620400050. SOC SCI
Harris, Blake J. Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation. Dey: HarperCollins. 2014. 576p. ISBN 9780062276698. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062276711. SOC SCI
Hong, Euny. The Birth of Korean Cool: How One Nation Is Conquering the World Through Pop Culture. Picador. Aug. 2014. 288p. notes. ISBN 9781250045119. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781250045126. SOC SCI
McKegney, Sam. Masculindians: Conversations About Indigenous Manhood. Michigan State Univ. 2014. 224p. notes. index. ISBN 9781611861297. $29.95. SOC SCI
Nazario, Thomas A. (text) & Renée C. Byer (photos). Living on a Dollar a Day: The Lives Behind the Faces of the World’s Poor. Quantuck Lane. 2014. 352p. photos. ISBN 9781593720568. $49.95. SOC SCI
Shriver, Maria. The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink. Palgrave Macmillan. 2014. 432p. ed. by Olivia Morgan & Karen Skelton. illus. notes. ISBN 9781137279743. pap. $20. SOC SCI
Sztokman, Elana Maryles. The War on Women in Israel: How Religious Radicalism Is Smothering the Voice of a Nation. Sourcebooks. Sept. 2014. 336p. notes. ISBN 9781492604594. $24.99. SOC SCI
Walters, Suzanna Danuta. The Tolerance Trap: How God, Genes, and Good Intentions Are Sabotaging Gay Equality. New York Univ. Jun. 2014. 336p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780814770573. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780814770597. SOC SCI
Travel & Geography
Germany: A Literary Anthology; Beyond the Enchanted Forest. Interlink. Jul. 2014. 256p. ed. by Brian Melican. illus. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781566569682. pap. $16. TRAV
Puls, Janko. Point of View New York City: A Visual Game of the City You Think You Know. CN Times. Jun. 2014. 184p. photos. maps. ISBN 9781627740883. $22. TRAV
Ramis, Sergi. Camino de Santiago: The Ancient Way of Saint James Pilgrimage Route from the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela. Aurum: Quarto. 2014. 180p. tr. from Spanish by Peter Barraclough. photos. maps. index. ISBN 9781781312230. pap. $19.99. TRAV
Towns, Jeff (text) & Wyn Thomas (illus.). Dylan Thomas: The Pubs. Lolfa. 2014. 174p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9781847716934. pap. $24.95. TRAV