Social Sciences Reviews, May 15, 2012

starred review starLewis, Bernard with Buntzie Ellis Churchill. Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian. Viking. May 2012. c.400p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780670023530. $28.95. AUTOBIOG

As he approaches age 96, Lewis (emeritus, Near Eastern studies, Princeton Univ.; What Went Wrong? The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East) looks back at his achievements as a founder of the discipline of Islamic history, a prodigious scholar and writer, and a tireless traveler who forged relationships with scholars and government leaders all over the world. Well after his 1986 retirement from Princeton, he continued to write and lecture, becoming more outspoken in addressing the cultural clash between the West and the Islamic world and the threat from militant Islam, but he never lost his commitment to thorough investigation and careful exposition of his views. Here, he conveys the intellectual curiosity and power that has enabled him to transmit to both academics and general readers an understanding of the development of Islam as a faith and a culture along with the rise and decline of Islamic political power. With scholarly rigor and graceful, witty prose, he also offers insights about the nature of history, cultural identity, and literary values. VERDICT This memoir by an intellectual committed to a relen

tless search for historical understanding of a complex society is highly recommended for both specialists and interested general readers.[See Prepub Alert, 11/21/11.]‚ Elizabeth R. Hayford, formerly with Associated Coll. of the Midwest, Evanston, IL

starred review starKatz, Harry L. & Vincent Virga. Civil War Sketch Book: Drawings from the Battlefront. Norton. May 2012. c.288p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780393072204. $50. HIST

April 12, 2011, marked the 150th anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter that started the Civil War. Here Katz (former head curator, prints & photographs, Lib. of Congress; Baseball Americana) and Virga (Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations) look at the illustrators‚ including Winslow Homer and Thomas Nast‚ who covered the war for popular newspapers of the time (Harper’s Weekly and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, among others) by traveling with the troops and sketching among the dead and wounded as well as bullets, fire, and the general chaos of the battlefield. While most of the drawings included here were published at that time, others are rough, unpublished sketches newly uncovered by Katz and Virga. The book’s text, which follows the chronology of the war, includes selections from the artists’ letters, logbooks, diaries, and other firsthand accounts. VERDICT These accounts, along with the sketches themselves and the narrative framework the authors provide, give this handsome volume‚ also a landmark in the study of pictorial journalism‚ a special immediacy that will appeal to Civil War buffs and many others. Most highly recommended. (Look for excerpts in an upcoming issue of National Geographic.)‚ Marcia Welsh, Dartmouth Coll. Lib., Hanover, NH

starred review starJackson, Bruce & Diane Christian. In This Timeless Time: Living and Dying on Death Row in America. Univ. of North Carolina. 2012. 256p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780807835395. $35. LAW

If opponents of the death penalty were to choose one book for their cause, this could well be it. Jackson (American culture & English, SUNY at Buffalo; The Story Is True: The Art and Meaning of Telling Stories) and poet and documentarian Christian (English, SUNY at Buffalo; Wide-Ons) here cover all the arguments against the death penalty using both words and pictures. The book begins with 113 duotone photographs of inmates on death row in Texas. The men pictured are likely to remind readers of boys next door until they see the captions: commuted, paroled, executed. A second section, Words, talks about the inmates’ daily lives and offers commentary on the judicial system that put them on death row. A final section, Working, addresses the ethics of capital punishment. Included in one of the appendixes is Justice Thurgood Marshall’s dissent on the 1976 Supreme Court decision Gregg v. Georgia, which reinstated the death penalty after a four-year hiatus. VERDICT Jackson and Christian write in a direct, journalistic style, poignant and to the point. This book will appeal to those with a specific interest in criminal justice and the death penalty as well as curious casual readers.‚ Frances Sandiford, formerly with Green Haven Correctional Facility Lib., Stormville, NY

starred review starStrayed, Cheryl. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. Vintage: Random. Jul. 2012. c.368p. ISBN 9780307949332. pap. $14.95. SELF-HELP
This beloved Internet advice columnist, using the pseudonym Sugar, revealed herself in early 2012 to be the acclaimed novelist and memoirist Strayed (Wild). First appearing on the Rumpus in 2010, her column “Dear Sugar” quickly attracted a large and devoted following with its cut-to-the-quick aphorisms like “Write like a motherfucker” and “Be brave enough to break your own heart.” This collection gathers up the best of Sugar, who trademark is deeply felt and frank responses grounded in her own personal experience. In many ways, it is a portrait of Strayed herself: she describes her estranged father, her passionate but doomed first marriage, her relationship with her current husband (Mr. Sugar), and, most thoroughly, her much-missed mother, who died suddenly while Strayed was in college. She answers queries on subjects ranging from professional jealousy to leaving a loved partner to coping with the death of a child to a (not-so) simple “WTF?” VERDICT Part advice, part personal essay, these pieces grapple with life’s biggest questions. Beautifully written and genuinely wise, this book is full of heartache and love. Highly recommended.‚ Molly McArdle, Library Journal


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The following titles are reviewed in the May 15 print issue. Visit our Reviews Center (Beta) for the full reviews.


Cohen, Lisa. All We Know: Three Lives. Farrar. Jul. 2012. c.448p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780374176495. $30. BIOG

Coleman, Jon T. Here Lies Hugh Glass: A Mountain Man, a Bear, and the Rise of the American Nation. Hill & Wang: Farrar. May 2012. c.272p. index. ISBN 9780809054596. $28. BIOG

Lewis, Charlene M. Boyer. Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte: An American Aristocrat in the Early Republic. Univ. of Pennsylvania. Jul. 2012. c.312p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780812244304. $34.95. BIOG

starred review starMarch, Aleida. Remembering Che: My Life with Che Guevara. Ocean, dist. by Consortium. May 2012. c.194p. tr. from Spanish by Pilar Aguilera. photogs. ISBN 9780987077936. pap. $18.95. AUTOBIOG

Soames, Mary. A Daughter’s Tale: The Memoir of Winston Churchill’s Youngest Child. Random. Jul. 2012. c.368p. photogs. bibliog. ISBN 9780812993332. $28. AUTOBIOG


Elbow, Peter. Vernacular Eloquence: What Speech Can Bring to Writing. Oxford Univ. 2012. c.456p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780199782505. $99; pap. ISBN 9780199782512. $19.95. COMM


The Best Business Writing 2012. Columbia Univ. (Journalism Review). Jun. 2012. c.464p. ed. by Dean Starkman & others.
ISBN 9780231160735. $18.95. BUS

Coll, Steve. Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power. Penguin Pr: Penguin Group (USA). May 2012. c.704p. bibliog. index.
ISBN 9781594203350. $36. BUS

Grind, Kirsten. The Lost Bank: The Story of Washington Mutual‚ The Biggest Bank Failure in American History. S. & S. Jun. 2012.
c.400p. index. ISBN 9781451617924. $27. BUS

McGee, William J. Attention All Passengers: The Airlines’ Dangerous Descent‚ and How To Reclaim Our Skies. Harper: HarperCollins. Jul. 2012. c.352p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780062088376. $26.99. BUS

Sennett, Frank. Groupon’s Biggest Deal Ever: The Inside Story of How One Insane Gamble, Tons of Unbelievable Hype, and Millions of Wild Deals Made Billions for One Ballsy Joker. St. Martin’s. Jun. 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9781250000842. $25.99. BUS

Smith, Neil with Patricia O’Connell. How Excellent Companies Avoid Dumb Things: Breaking the 8 Hidden Barriers
That Plague Even the Best Businesses.
Palgrave Macmillan. Jun. 2012. c.224p. index. ISBN 9781137003065. $26. BUS

Wasserman, Noam. The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup. Princeton Univ. 2012. c.488p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780691149134. $35. BUS


Fletcher, Catherine. The Divorce of Henry VIII: The Untold Story from Inside the Vatican. Palgrave Macmillan.
Jun. 2012. c.288p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780230341517. $28. HIST

Freeman, Joshua B. American Empire: The Rise of a Global Power, the Democratic Revolution at Home, 1945-2000. Viking. (Penguin History of the United States). Aug. 2012. c.512p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780670023783. $36. HIST

Kelly, John. The Graves Are Walking: The Great Famine and the Saga of the Irish People. Henry Holt. Aug. 2012. c.416p. illus. index. ISBN 9780805091847. $30. HIST

Lepore, Jill. The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death. Knopf. Jun. 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9780307592996. $27.95. HIST

McAuliffe, Mary. Clash of Crowns: William the Conqueror, Richard Lionheart, and Eleanor of Aquitaine; a Story of Bloodshed, Betrayal, and Revenge. Rowman & Littlefield. 2012. c.280p. illus. bibliog. index.
ISBN 9781442214712. $26. HIST

starred review starWroe, Ann. Orpheus: The Song of Life. Overlook; dist. by Penguin Group (USA). Jun. 2012. c.272p. bibliog. index.ISBN 9781590207789. $26.95. HIST

Law & Crime

Kanstroom, Daniel. Aftermath: Deportation Law and the New American Diaspora.Oxford Univ. Jul. 2012. c.304p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780199742721. $29.95. LAW

Madeira, Jody Lyneé. Killing McVeigh: The Death Penalty and the Myth of Closure. New York Univ. Jun. 2012. c.352p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780814796108. $39. LAW

Mullane, Nancy. Life After Murder: Five Men in Search of Redemption.

PublicAffairs: Perseus. Jun. 2012. c.384p. index. ISBN 9781610390293. $26.99. CRIME

Whitechapel Society. Jack the Ripper: The Suspects. History Pr., dist. by Trafalgar Square. May 2012. c.96p. ISBN 9780752462868. pap. $17.95. CRIME

Political Science

Gutmann, Amy & Dennis Thompson. The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It. Princeton Univ. May 2012. c.256p. index. ISBN 9780691153919. $24.95. POL SCI

Hayes, Christopher. Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy. Crown. Jun. 2012.c.304p. index. ISBN 9780307720450.

starred review starHirshman, Linda. Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution. Harper: HarperCollins.Jun. 2012. c.464p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780061965500. $27.99. POL SCI

Mann, James. The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House To Redefine American Power. Viking. Jun. 2012. c.416p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780670023769. $26.95. POL SCI


Ariely, Dan. The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone‚ Especially Ourselves. Harper: HarperCollins. Jun. 2012. c.320p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780062183590. $26.99. PSYCH

Beauregard, Mario.

Brain Wars: The Scientific Battle Over the Existence of the Mind and the Proof That Will Change the Way We Live Our Lives. HarperOne: HarperCollins. May 2012. c.256p. index. ISBN 9780062071569. $26.99. PSYCH

Mlodinow, Leonard. Subliminal:
How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior.
Pantheon. 2012. c.272p. index. ISBN 9780307378217. $25.95. PSYCH

Staats, Arthur W. The Marvelous Learning Animal: What Makes Human Nature Unique. Prometheus. May 2012. c.350p. bibliog.
ISBN 9781616145972. $27. PSYCH

Social Sciences

Kunin, Madeleine M. The New Feminist Agenda: Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work, and Family. Chelsea Green. May 2012. c.304p. index. ISBN 9781603584258. $26.95; pap. ISBN 9781603582919. $17.95. SOC SCI

Mack, Kenneth W. Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer. Harvard Univ. 2012. 352p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780674046870. $35. SOC SCI

Treuer, Anton. Everything You Wanted To Know About Indians But Were Afraid To Ask. Borealis: Minnesota Historical
May 2012. c.184p. illus. index. ISBN 9780873518611. pap. $15.95. SOC SCI