Social Sciences Reviews, February 15, 2012


starred review star Hardman, Robert. Her Majesty: Queen Elizabeth II and Her Court. Pegasus. Apr. 2012. c.384p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781605983615. $27.95. BIOG

Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, coming in June, has unloosed a new supply of biographies. Hardman (columnist, Daily Mail) offers an authoritative contribution. Readers will find here the first interview granted by Prince William to an author, as well as interviews with Prince Andrew, John Major, Tony Blair, David Cameron, and former members of the royal household. Insider anecdotes alone make this well worth the purchase, such as one about a row in 1954 between the queen and Prince Philip in front of an Australian camera crew who meekly gave the film to the queen’s press secretary. But what really sets this work apart is its concentration on the working life of the monarch. Hardman describes the extraordinary amount of work Queen Elizabeth does and reveals small, virtually unnoticeable changes in her schedule (e.g., removing the soup course from state banquets saves 20 minutes) designed to slightly ease her burden at age 85. He also includes an in-depth look at the queen’s relationship with prime ministers, from Winston Churchill to David Cameron (who is younger than her youngest child). VERDICT Enlightening and absorbing, this dispassionate look at Elizabeth and her court is highly recommended; a nuanced study to be savored alongside Andrew Marr’s The Real Elizabeth.‚ Elizabeth Mellett, Brookline P.L., MA

starred review star Parish, Billy & Dev Aujla. Making Good: Finding Meaning, Money, and Community in a Changing World. Rodale. Mar. 2012. c.256p. ISBN 9781605290782. pap. $15.99. CAREERS

The realities of the recent recession, high unemployment rates, and ever-increasing student loan balances can justifiably dampen the bright moral imaginations of the generation now entering the workforce. Coauthors Parish (founder, Energy Action Coalition) and Aujla (founder, DreamNow) outline the skills, resources, and insights necessary to create socially responsible change while navigating a nonlinear career path. The authors use their more than ten years of personal experience as well as lessons from fellow pathfinders to put together this insider’s guidebook to social entrepreneurship. They cover foundational concepts, preparatory exercises, daily practices, and resources helpful in creating careers that combine meaning, money, and community while making good. VERDICT Highly recommended. An uplifting primer filled with practical insights for students who want to effect global change without sacrificing personal financial security or stability. The business acumen, leadership skills, as well as real-life examples illustrated here draw a compelling picture of careers that combine purpose and sustainable security.‚ Jane Scott, George Fox Univ. Lib., Newberg, OR

starred review star Groom, Winston. Shiloh, 1862: The First Great and Terrible Battle of the Civil War. National Geographic Bks. Mar. 2012. c.512p. illus. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781426208744. $30. HIST

In chronicling the bloody fighting of the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee 150 years ago, novelist and historian Groom (Kearny’s March: The Epic Creation of the American West, 1846‚ 1847) compels the reader to appreciate the enormous toll to both sides owing to advanced arms, outmoded battle tactics, and poor generalship. Although Groom lays responsibility on both sides, he especially blames General Grant and General Sherman, serving under him, for failure to fortify positions, properly reconnoiter, read the signs of enemy advances, and have a battle plan in case of attack. Union forces prevailed owing to late-arriving reinforcements and Confederate failure to capitalize on earlier gains. Groom’s gripping narrative is full of absorbing firsthand accounts from drummer boys, officers and enlisted men, nurses, and civilians, including future writers such as Lew Wallace (Ben-Hur) and Ambrose Bierce (An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge). In conclusion, Groom sees Shiloh as a learning experience for Grant, who finally understood that no single battle, no matter how costly or geographically significant, could end the rebellion: the Union could be restored only through the total conquest of the South. VERDICT A provocatively rendered and persuasively argued study that demands a central place in Civil War historiography. Highly recommended. (Illustrations and editorial apparatus not seen.)‚ John Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Cleveland

starred review star Jaffe, Steven H. New York at War: Four Centuries of Combat, Fear, and Intrigue in Gotham. Basic Bks: Perseus. Apr. 2012. c.432p. illus. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780465036424. $29.99. HIST

New York City historian Jaffe superbly shows that even though New York has been lightly touched by war and its devastation, its location as a thriving commercial metropolis and gateway to the rest of the country made it irresistible to both external and internal enemies. One constant motif throughout New York’s history has been its openness to the newly arrived immigrants who ultimately built the city. But Jaffe points out that many of these immigrants brought along ethnic rivalries or political beliefs that led to violent encounters, notably during the Civil War. Yet the city also profited by financing wars, defending itself by establishing innovative citywide armories, and later nurturing the birth of atomic bomb science. Reflecting on the events of 9/11 and underscoring New York’s historical attraction as a target, Jaffe acknowledges the need for vigilance but only in balance with freedom and diversity, as for the entire nation. VERDICT Encyclopedic in scope, diligently researched, and well written, this magisterial book synthesizes the history of our greatest city in a way not fully done before. It will have strong appeal to general readers, New York history buffs, and specialists with an interest in American military history. Highly recommended.‚ Richard Drezen, Brooklyn, NY

starred review star Boo, Katherine. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. Random. Feb. 2012. c.288p. ISBN 9781400067558. $27. SOC SCI

This is Pulitzer Prize‚ winning journalist Boo’s (The New Yorker) first book. She takes a look at the stark lives of the inhabitants of Annawadi, a slum across from Mumbai’s Sahar Airport, to reveal the wrenching inequality and urban poverty still endemic in India’s democracy. Using recorded and videotaped conversations, interviews, documents, and the assistance of interlocutors, Boo profiles the lives of some of the slum dwellers from November 2007 to March 2011. There is Abdul, a young adult scavenger with a profitable trade in recyclables. The one-legged Fatima’s home is divided from Abdul’s by merely a sheet. Readers follow the treacherous paths of these and other lives. A fateful chain of events leads to a criminal case against Abdul and his family. Boo presents glimpses of the corrupt police who feed on those without political power or education. She claims she witnessed most of the events described in the book. VERDICT A tour de force, this book is powerful yet far from harrowing. Highly recommended for all collections. [See Prepub Alert, 8/21/11.]‚ Ravi Shenoy, Naperville P.L., IL


Hlinko, John. Share, Retweet, Repeat: Get Your Message Read and Spread. Prentice-Hall. 2012. 240p. index. ISBN 9780735204614. pap. $18.95. COMM

Ward, Robert. Renegades: My Wild Trip from Professor to New Journalist with Outrageous Visits from Clint Eastwood, Reggie Jackson, Larry Flynt, and Other American Icons. Tyrus. Mar. 2012. c.420p. ISBN 9781440533143. $24.95. COMM


Acemoglu, Daron & James Robinson. Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty. Crown. Mar. 2012. c.544p. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780307719218. $30. ECON

Cope, Kevin. Seeing the Big Picture: Business Acumen To Build Your Credibility, Career, and Company. Greenleaf. Mar. 2012. c.192p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9781608322466. $21.95. BUS

Parmar, Inderjeet. Foundations of the American Century: The Ford, Carnegie, & Rockefeller Foundations in the Rise of American Power. Columbia Univ. Apr. 2012. c.352p. index. ISBN 9780231146289. $35. ECON

Rothkopf, David. Power, Inc: The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Government‚ and the Reckoning That Lies Ahead. Farrar. Mar. 2012. c.448p. index. ISBN 9780374151287. $30. ECON

Schaefer, Mark W. Return On Influence: The Revolutionary Power of Klout, Social Scoring, and Influence Marketing. McGraw-Hill Professional. Mar. 2012. c.224p. ISBN 9780071791090. $25. BUS

Schlefer, Jonathan. The Assumptions Economists Make. Belknap: Harvard Univ. Mar. 2012. c.348p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780674052260. $28.95. ECON

Vaitheeswaran, Vijay V. Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems. HarperBusiness: HarperCollins. Mar. 2012. c.304p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780062075994. $27.99. BUS


The Muses Go to School: Inspiring Stories About the Importance of Arts in Education. New Pr., dist. by Perseus. 2011. ed. by Herbert Kohl & Tom Oppenheim. ISBN 9781595585394. $26.95. ED


Citino, Robert M. The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943. Univ. Pr. of Kansas. Mar. 2012. c.428p. photogs. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780700618262. $34.95. HIST

Jones, Thai. More Powerful Than Dynamite: Radicals, Plutocrats, Progressives, and New York’s Year of Anarchy. Walker. Apr. 2012. c.416p. illus. index. ISBN 9780802779335. $28. HIST

Sarna, Jonathan D. When General Grant Expelled the Jews. Nextbook: Schocken. (Jewish Encounters). Mar. 2012. c.224p. illus. index. ISBN 9780805242799. $24.95. HIST

Service, Robert. Spies and Commissars: The Early Years of the Russian Revolution. PublicAffairs: Perseus. May 2012. c.480p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781610391405. $32.99. HIST

Law & Crime

Gravano, Karen with Lisa Pulitzer. Mob Daughter: The Mafia, Sammy The Bull Gravano, and Me! St. Martin’s. Feb. 2012. c.304p. photogs. ISBN 9781250003058. $24.99. CRIME

Hutchinson, Allan C. Laughing at the Gods: Great Judges and How They Made the Common Law. Cambridge Univ. Feb. 2012. c.328p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781107662766. pap. $29.99. LAW

Jiang Qisheng. My Life in Prison: Memoirs of a Chinese Political Dissident. Rowman & Littlefield. Feb. 2012. c.200p. ed. by Naomi May. tr. from Chinese by James Erwin Dew. index. ISBN 9781442212220. $45. LAW

Pearlman, Lise. The Sky’s the Limit: People v. Newton; The Real Trial of the 20th Century? Regent. Feb. 2012. 800p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781587902208. pap. $29.95. LAW

Simon, James F. FDR and Chief Justice Hughes: The President, the Supreme Court, and the Epic Battle Over the New Deal. S. & S. Feb. 2012. c.448p. index. ISBN 9781416573289. $28. LAW


Borch-Jacobsen, Mikkel & Sonu Shamdasani. The Freud Files: An Inquiry into the History of Psychoanalysis. Cambridge Univ. Feb. 2012.
c.450p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780521729789. pap. $24.99. PSYCH

Lehrer, Jonah. Imagine: How Creativity Works. Houghton Harcourt. Mar. 2012. c.304p. index. ISBN 9780547386072. $26. PSYCH

Sex for Life: From Virginity to Viagra, How Sexuality Changes Throughout Our Lives. New York Univ. Feb. 2012. c.362p. ed. by Laura M. Carpenter & John DeLamater. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780814772539. pap. $27. PSYCH

Stankard, Bernadette & Amy Viets. Dancing in the Dark: How To Take Care of Yourself When Someone You Love Is Depressed. Central Recovery. Feb. 2012. c.208p. ISBN 9781936290703. pap. $15.95. PSYCH

Social Sciences

Paoletti, Jo B. Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys from the Girls in America. Indiana Univ. Feb. 2012. c.184p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780253001177. $25. SOC SCI

Travel & Geography

Kaster, Robert A. The Appian Way: Ghost Road, Queen of Roads. Univ. of Chicago. (Cultural Trails). Apr. 2012. c.144p. photogs. ISBN 9780226425719. $22.50. TRAV

Strayed, Cheryl. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. Knopf. Mar. 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9780307592736. $25.95. TRAV