Social Sciences Reviews, January 2012

starred review starNathans, Sydney. To Free a Family: The Journey of Mary Walker. Harvard Univ. Feb. 2012. c.346p. illus. index. ISBN 9780674062122. $29.95. HIST

Prior to the Civil War, thousands of African Americans escaped from slavery, but because few recorded their experiences little is known about their efforts to forge new lives in freedom. Mary Walker, the focus of this study, was a light-skinned fugitive who escaped from a North Carolina planter couple when she accompanied them to Philadelphia in 1848. Her history, though unique in many ways, is illustrative of the hardships and challenges such migrants faced and the support they sometimes received from abolitionist networks. Her efforts to preserve her freedom, gain economic independence, and locate and purchase the freedom of her children still held as slaves is pieced together here by Nathans (history, emeritus, Duke Univ.; Quest for Progress: The Way We Lived in North Carolina, 1870‚ 1920) from the papers of Northern abolitionists and Southern slaveholders. VERDICT The result is an engrossing and readable study, thoroughly researched and well documented, that fills a significant gap in the history of the period. It is recommended for all readers seriously interested in the experience of fugitive slaves in ante bellum America.‚ Theresa Mc Devitt, Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib.

starred review starSiler, Julia Flynn. Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America’s First Imperial Adventure. Atlantic Monthly. Jan. 2012. c.448p. bibliog. ISBN 9780802120014. $30. HIST

In Siler’s second book (after The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty), she brings to life the story of America’s annexation of the sovereign Hawaiian Islands. She begins when Christian missionaries from Boston landed on Hawaii in 1820‚ when Western powers truly began to influence Hawaiian affairs‚ and follows the birth and life of Lili’uokalani, the woman who would become the last queen of Hawaii. American sugar planters, the self-styled Sugar Kings, slowly took over most of the arable land on the islands, while Lili’uokalani’s elder brother King David Kala¬Økaua became deeply indebted to them. He eventually sought a loan from England to pay off the Sugar Kings. Several countries, including America, England, and France, looked to the Pacific for colonial expansion and became embroiled in the controversies in Hawaii until American forces deposed Lili’uokalani against the will of the vast majority of native Hawaiians. VERDICT Siler gives readers a sweeping tale of tragedy, greed, betrayal, and imperialism. The depth of her research shines through the narrative, and the lush prose and quick pace make for engaging reading. Anyone interested in Hawaiian history or American imperialism will find this an absorbing read. [See Prepub Alert, 7/10/11.]‚ Crystal Goldman, San Jose State Univ. Lib., CA

Taubman, Philip. The Partnership: Five Cold Warriors and Their Quest To Ban the Bomb. Harper: HarperCollins. Jan. 2012. c.496p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780061744006. $27.99. HIST

For over 65 years the world has worried about nuclear weapons. In January 2007 four prominent American statesmen published a letter in the Wall Street Journal advocating the ultimate removal of all nuclear weapons from the earth. Two former secretaries of state, George Schultz and Henry Kissinger; a former secretary of defense, William Perry; and Sam Nunn, former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, crafted a collective statement calling for the eventual abolition of these weapons. Taubman, retired longtime reporter for the New York Times, traces how these four men came together in the early 21st century, and, advised by Sidney Drell, an accomplished physicist and technical adviser to Kissinger and Schultz, shook off their Cold War mentalities to promote a new conversation about the insanity of building, maintaining, and using nuclear weapons. Although supported at the outset by President Obama, the going has been slow; the abolition of nuclear weapons remains a dream. Yet, as Taubman shows, without the gravitas of these well-regarded cold warriors and their willingness to step into the fray in the twilight of their careers, the conversation would never have begun. VERDICT A well-written and extensively researched book, recommended for both general and scholarly audiences. [See Prepub Alert, 7/25/11.]‚ Ed Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames

The following titles are reviewed in the January print issue. Visit our Reviews Center (Beta) for the full reviews.


Dykstra, Natalie. Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life. Houghton Harcourt. Feb. 2012. c.320p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780618873852. $26. BIOG


Negev, Eilat & Yehuda Koren. The First Lady of Fleet Street: The Life of Rachel Beer; Crusading Heiress and Newspaper Pioneer. Bantam. Mar. 2012. c.368p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780553807431. $30. COMM


Guest, Robert. Borderless Economics: Chinese Sea Turtles, Indian Fridges, and the New Fruits of Global Capitalism. Palgrave Macmillan. 2011. c.256p. index. ISBN 9780230113824. $27. ECON

Hyman, Louis. Borrow: The American Way of Debt. Vintage: Random. Jan. 2012. c.224p. illus. index. ISBN 9780307741684. pap.$15. ECON

James, Geoffrey. How To Say It: Business to Business Selling; Power Words and Strategies from the World’s Top Sales Experts. Prentice-Hall. 2011. c.224p. ISBN 9780735204584. pap. $18. BUS

Scurlock, James D. King Larry: The Life and Ruins of a Billionaire Genius. Scribner. Jan. 2012. c.352p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781416589228. $26. BUS

Signorelli, Jim. StoryBranding: Creating Stand-Out Brands Through the Power of Story. Greenleaf. Jan. 2012. c.220p. illus. ISBN 9781608321452. $24.95. BUS

Solin, Daniel R. The Smartest Money Book You’ll Ever Read: Everything You Need To Know About Growing, Spending, and Enjoying Your Money. Perigee: Berkley. 2011. c.304p. index. ISBN 9780399537219. $25. BUS


Hoffman, Nancy. Schooling in the Workplace: How Six of the World’s Best Vocational Education Systems Prepare Young People for Jobs and Life. Harvard Education. 2011. c.224p. index.ISBN 9781612501123. $49.95; pap. ISBN 9781612501116. $29.95. ED


Armstead, Myra B. Young. Freedom’s Gardener: James F. Brown, Horticulture, and the Hudson Valley in Antebellum America. New York Univ. Feb. 2012. c.220p. index. ISBN 9780814705100. $35. HIST

Black, George. Empire of Shadows: The Epic Story of Yellowstone. St. Martin’s. Mar. 2012. c.576p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780312383190. $35. HIST

Fischer, David Hackett. Fairness and Freedom: A History of Two Open Societies; New Zealand and the United States. Oxford Univ. Feb. 2012. c.632p. illus. maps. index. ISBN 9780199832705. $34.95. HIST

Hunt, Michael H. & Steven I. Levine. Arc of Empire: America’s Wars in Asia from the Philippines to Vietnam. Univ. of North Carolina. Mar. 2012. c.360p. illus. maps. index. ISBN 9780807835289. $35. HIST

Nagorski, Andrew. Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power. S. & S. Mar. 2012. c.400p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781439191002. $28. HIST

Nathans, Sydney. To Free a Family: The Journey of Mary Walker. Harvard Univ. Feb. 2012. c.346p. illus. index. ISBN 9780674062122. $29.95. HIST

Siler, Julia Flynn. Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America’s First Imperial Adventure. Atlantic Monthly. Jan. 2012. c.448p. bibliog. ISBN 9780802120014. $30. HIST

Sweeney, Jon M. The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation. Image: Crown. Mar. 2012. c.224p. index. ISBN 9780385531894. pap. $14. HIST

Taubman, Philip. The Partnership: Five Cold Warriors and Their Quest To Ban the Bomb. Harper: HarperCollins. Jan. 2012. c.496p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780061744006. $27.99. HIST

Worsley, Lucy. If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home. Walker. Mar. 2012. c.368p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780802779953. $27. HIST

Zacks, Richard. Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt’s Doomed Quest To Clean Up Sin-Loving New York. Doubleday. Mar. 2012. c.448p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780385519724. $27.95. HIST

Law & Crime

Bonner, Raymond. Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong. Knopf. 2011. c.336p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780307700216. $26.95. CRIME

Epstein, Richard A. Design for Liberty: Private Property, Public Administration, and the Rule of Law. Harvard Univ. 2011. c.226p. index. ISBN 9780674061842. $29.95. LAW

Goffard, Christopher. You Will See Fire: A Search for Justice in Kenya. Norton. 2011. c.320p. photogs. ISBN 9780393077421. $27.95. CRIME

Patry, William. How To Fix Copyright. Oxford Univ. Jan. 2012. c.240p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780199760091. $21.95. LAW


Alvarado, Denise. The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook. Weiser. 2011. c.320p. illus. index. ISBN 9781578635139. pap. $24.95. PARAPSYCH

Miller, Gustavus Hindman. 12,000 Dreams Interpreted: A New Edition for the 21st Century. Sterling. 2011. 544p. rev. by Linda Shields & Lenore Skomal. ISBN 9781402784170. pap. $9.95. PARAPSYCH

Strieber, Whitley. Solving the Communion Enigma: What Is To Come. Tarcher: Penguin Group (USA). Jan. 2012. c.240p. ISBN 9781585429172. $25.95. PARAPSYCH

Political Science

Frank, Thomas. Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right. Metropolitan: Holt. Jan. 2012. c.224p. index. ISBN 9780805093698. $25. POL SCI

Killian, Linda. The Swing Vote: The Untapped Power of Independents. St. Martin’s. Jan. 2012. c.320p. index. ISBN 9780312581770. $25.99. POL SCI

Shapiro, Ira. The Last Great Senate: Courage and Statesmanship in Times of Crisis. PublicAffairs: Perseus. Feb. 2012. c.496p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781586489366. $34.99. POL SCI


Cain, Susan. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Crown. Jan. 2012. c.352p. index. ISBN 9780307352149. $26. PSYCH

Harrison, Guy P. 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True. Prometheus. 2011. c.448p. bibliog. ISBN 9781616144951.
pap. $18. PSYCH

Weiss, Margot. Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality. Duke Univ. Jan. 2012. c.304p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780822351597. pap. $24.95. PSYCH

Social Sciences

Sennett, Richard. Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Co-operation. Yale Univ. Jan. 2012. c.336p. index. ISBN 9780300116335. $28. SOC SCI

Travel & Geography

Baxter, John. Chronicles of Old Paris: Exploring the Historic City of Light. Museyon Guides. 2011. c.288p. illus. maps. index. ISBN 9780984633425. pap. $18.95. TRAV

Colvin, Ruth J. Off the Beaten Path: Stories of People Around the World. Syracuse Univ. 2011. c.212p. illus.ISBN 9780815609933. $24.95. TRAV

Silverman, Victor & Laurie Glover. California. Interlink: Interlink Pub. Group. (On-the-Road Histories). 2011. 410p. illus. maps. index. ISBN 9781566568098. pap. $22. TRAV