Social Sciences Reviews, June 15, 2012

starred review star Herbert, Kari. Polar Wives: The Remarkable Women Behind the World’s Most Daring Explorers. Greystone: Douglas & McIntyre, dist. by PGW. 2012. c.368p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9781926812625. pap. $18.95. BIOG

In polar history, much has been written about the explorers, men like Robert Falcon Scott, Ernest Shackleton, and John Franklin. In contrast, little is known about the women who married and supported them. In this work, Herbert (founding director, Polarworld; The Explorer’s Daughter) delves into the lives of seven women to bring this often neglected aspect of history into focus. As the daughter of polar explorer Wally Herbert, the author is ideally situated to understand the hardships that explorers’ families endure while waiting for information about an expedition’s outcome. Chapters on Eva Nansen, Jo Peary, Eleanor and Jane Franklin, Emily Shackleton, Kathleen Scott, and Marie Herbert bring to life their relationships and personal lives through letters, diaries, and other sources, starting with coverage of their early years, followed by their lives with their husbands and their work in relation to crucial support of their husbands during and after their expeditions. Many of these strong women were accomplished in their own right: Eva was a celebrated singer, Kathleen a sculptor and artist, Eleanor a poet, and Marie an adventurer and author. VERDICT This highly enjoyable book is an important addition to polar and exploration history collections or for biography or women’s studies shelves.‚ Margaret Atwater-Singer, Univ. of Evansville Libs., IN

starred review star Tye, Larry. Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero. Random. Jun. 2012. c.432p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781400068661. $27. SOC SCI

Tye (Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend) presents the definitive history of Superman. Though much has been written about the Man of Steel, no book has dealt with so many aspects of the character through time. This is a compelling history of how Superman’s nerdy teenage creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, made the character the figure we know, how Action Comics brought him to life, and how Superman ultimately became a comic book, radio, television, film, and merchandising juggernaut. Readers learn Superman’s religious affiliation and see how his attributes, plot lines, and enemies have morphed to suit each era in which he has existed. Tye also discusses how those associated with Superman suffered misfortune with uncanny regularity under the Superman Curse. Ultimately, readers gain an understanding of how the character was brought to life and how numerous individuals and organizations have shaped his fate over the decades. VERDICT Tye is an excellent storyteller, and this work is thoroughly researched. The result is a rich history full of lively heroes and villains‚ much like a comic book. Essential for Superman fans and popular culture historians.‚ Elizabeth Winter, Georgia Inst. of Tech. Lib., Atlanta

starred review star Hansen, Valerie. The Silk Road: A New History. Oxford Univ. Aug. 2012. c.320p. illus. index. ISBN 9780195159318. $34.95. HIST

The term the Silk Road has always conjured up romantic notions of silks, spices, vast deserts, inhospitable lands, and camel caravans, merchants, and pilgrims traveling between East and South Asia and the Mediterranean world‚ all of which is valid. Hansen (history, Yale Univ.) examines the Silk Road through further research based on documents left behind by those who lived and died on this ancient cultural superhighway. Organizing the text around the seven Silk Road cities of Niya, Kucha, Turfan, Samarkand, Chang’an, Dunhuang, and Khotan, the author takes the position that the Silk Road was made up of local and small-scale trade, not the large commercial routes that we have come to associate with it. More significant, she writes, its true importance lies in the movement of ideas (especially those of immigrants) as they moved eastward and westward spreading their art, language, religion, and technology. VERDICT An impressively well-researched book exploring the documentation of many different cultures and people along the many routes known as the Silk Road. Readers of Asian or world history will learn much from and thoroughly enjoy this book.‚ Melissa Aho, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis

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


Chafe, William H. Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal. Farrar. Sept. 2012. c.400p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780809094653. $28. BIOG


Rainie, Lee & Barry Wellman. Networked: The New Social Operating System. MIT. 2012. c.376p. illus. index. ISBN 9780262017190. $29.95. COMM

Westin, David. Exit Interview. Sarah Crichton: Farrar. 2012. c.288p. index. ISBN 9780374151218. $27. COMM


Brand Bible: The Complete Guide to Building, Designing, and Sustaining Brands. Rockport: Quayside. 2012. 312p. ed. by Debbie Millman. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781592537266. pap. $45. BUS

Geisler, Jill. Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know. Center Street: Hachette. Jun. 2012. c.368p. bibliog. ISBN 9781455507436. $24.99. ECON

Herman, Arthur. Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Built the Arsenal of Democracy That Won World War II. Random. 2012. c.432p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781400069644. $27. ECON

starred review starPepper, Carol & Camilla Webster. The Seven Pearls of Financial Wisdom: A Woman’s Guide to Enjoying Wealth and Power. St. Martin’s. 2012. c.304p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780312641665. $25.99. BUS

Sullenberger, Chesley with Douglas Century. Making a Difference: Stories of Vision and Courage from America’s Leaders. Morrow. Jun. 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9780061924705. $26.99. BUS


Brooks, Victor. Last Season of Innocence: The Teen Experience in the 1960s. Rowman & Littlefield. 2012. c.216p. ISBN 9781442209176. $35. HIST

Donovan, James. The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo‚ and the Sacrifice That Forged a Nation. Little, Brown. 2012. c.512p. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780316053747. $29.99. HIST

Everitt, Anthony. The Rise of Rome: The Making of the World’s Greatest Empire. Random. Aug. 2012. c.512p. illus. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781400066636. $30. HIST

Morley, Jefferson. Snow-Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key, and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835. Nan A. Talese: Doubleday. Jul. 2012. c.352p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780385533379. $28.95. HIST

Reitter, Paul. On the Origins of Jewish Self-Hatred. Princeton Univ. 2012. c.152p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780691119229. $26.95. HIST

Law & Crime

Hull, N.E.H. The Woman Who Dared To Vote: The Trial of Susan B. Anthony. Univ. of Kansas. (Landmark Law Cases & American Society). 2012. c.232p. index.
ISBN 9780700618484. $34.95; pap. ISBN 9780700618491. $17.95. LAW

Life Without Parole: America’s New Death Penalty? New York Univ. Jun. 2012. c.353p. ed. by Charles J. Ogletree Jr. & Austin Sarat. index. ISBN 9780814762486. pap. $26. LAW

Muti, Richard & Charles Buckley. The Charmer: The True Story of Robert Reldan‚ Rapist, Murderer and Millionaire‚ and the Women Who Fell Victim to His Allure. TitleTown. 2012. c.289p. photogs. ISBN 9780985247874. pap. $17.95. CRIME

Political Science

Ajami, Fouad. The Syrian Rebellion. Hoover Institution. 2012. c.221p. index. ISBN 9780817915049. $19.95. INT AFFAIRS


Schofield, Michael. January First: A Child’s Descent into Madness and Her Father’s Struggle To Save Her. Crown: Random House. Aug. 2012. c.304p. ISBN 9780307719089. $25. PSYCH

Social Sciences

Classen, Constance. The Deepest Sense: A Cultural History of Touch. Univ. of Illinois. (Studies in Sensory History). 2012. c.296p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780252034930. $80. SOC SCI

Magill, R. Jay, Jr. Sincerity: How a Moral Ideal Born Five Hundred Years Ago Inspired Religious Wars, Modern Art, Hipster Chic, and the Curious Notion That We All Have Something To Say (No Matter How Dull). Norton. Jul. 2012. c.224p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780393080988. $25.95. SOC SCI

Taylor, Yuval & Jake Austen. Darkest America: Black Minstrelsy from Slavery to Hip-Hop. Norton. Aug. 2012. c.256p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780393070989. $26.95. SOC SCI