Social Sciences Reviews | July 2013

Library Journal Reviews starred review Downing, Ben. Queen Bee of Tuscany: The Redoubtable Janet Ross. Farrar. 2013. 352p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780374239718. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781429942989. BIOG

Once a formidable personality well known in literary and artistic circles, Janet Ross (1842–1927) is virtually unknown today. Downing (managing editor, ParnassusThe Calligraphy Shop) brings her back to our attention. Relying on archival sources and Ross’s own voluminous writings, Downing details that almost century-long period beginning in the mid 1800s when Florence was the center of a vibrant and rich Anglo-American community of expatriates, tourists, artists, antiques dealers, and literati. The intellectual and aristocratic Ross, after years in Egypt as a correspondent for the Times of London, became the doyenne of this colony, the hostess whose “at homes” were legendary. Downing introduces us to the parade of notables Ross befriended and explores the role she and her circle played in preserving and protecting Florence and making it and surrounding Tuscany known to the wider world. Raised in privilege in the English shires, she was cantankerous and not conventionally feminine, virtually abandoning her only child and scandalizing contemporaries with her close friendships with men maintained over the course of her seemingly loveless marriage. VERDICT This fascinating, readable, and richly contextualized study of a daring and bold woman is recommended for lovers of art history and literature, general readers interested in biographies of strong women, and those fascinated by all things relating to Tuscany.—Marie M. Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., NJ

Library Journal Reviews starred review Vogel, Charity. The Angola Horror: The 1867 Train Wreck That Shocked the Nation and Transformed American Railroads. Cornell Univ. Sept. 2013. 296p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780801449086. $26.95. HIST

On December 18, 1867, the New York Express train from Cleveland to Buffalo derailed in frigid temperatures at Angola, NY, resulting in horrific injuries and heavy loss of life. Vogel (staff reporter, Buffalo News) has written an exhaustive history of the accident. Using newspaper reports and other sources from the time, she profiles the trainmen, passengers, rescuers, and bystanders and describes in exacting detail the technological and social aspects of 19th-century train travel. Her narrative tracing the train’s route builds suspense with every mile and station until the train meets its doom. While most of the passengers are forgotten today, one well-known individual just missed getting on the train in Cleveland: John D. Rockefeller. Vogel examines the news reporting in the aftermath of the wreck as well as the public reaction and mourning, the identification and disposal of the bodies, the assigning of blame, and the subsequent safety innovations.VERDICT This is history writing at its best, as Vogel immerses her readers in the event’s 1867 context. Highly recommended, though some of the grisly descriptions may trouble some readers. Another excellent work on train disasters (but otherwise unrelated) is Gary Krist’s White Cascade: The Great Northern Railway Disaster and America’s Deadliest Avalanche.—Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA

Library Journal Reviews starred review Bissonnette, Barbara. Asperger’s Syndrome Workplace Survival Guide: A Neurotypical’s Secrets for Success. Jessica Kingsley. 2013. 208p. bibliog. ISBN 9781849059435. pap. $22.95. CAREERS

Certified career development coach for adults with Asperger’s syndrome (AS), Bissonnette here highlights common workplace challenges and provides concrete methods for positively acknowledging and addressing these challenges, as well as the steps necessary for success. Topics include communication, making the right first impression, people skills, managing stress, and workplace disclosure. There is also a special appendix for employers of adults with AS. All chapters include real-life examples from Bissonnette’s coaching practice and a step-by-step guide to navigating the workplace professionally and socially. One suggestion is for those with AS to cultivate a work buddy who can provide feedback when they may be overstepping a social or workplace boundary or advise them on company or department work customs. VERDICT An excellent guide, helpful for handling sticky social situations. Sprinkled throughout are NT (neurotypical) tips on situations in which AS individuals may be too literal to pick up on subtleties and on why engaging in certain activities and social gatherings may enhance and improve their work performance. A perfect companion to Bissonnette’sComplete Guide to Getting a Job for People with Asperger’s Syndrome: Find the Right Career and Get Hired.—Lisa Jordan, Johnson Cty. Lib., KS

The following titles are reviewed in the July print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Carroll, Sean B. Brave Genius: A Scientist, a Philosopher, and Their Daring Adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize. Crown. Sept. 2013. 576p. photogs. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780307952332. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780307952356. BIOG

Kavanagh, Julie. The Girl Who Loved Camellias: The Life and Legend of Marie Duplessis. Knopf. 2013. 304p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780307270795. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780307962249. BIOG

McGaugh, Scott. Surgeon in Blue: Jonathan Letterman, the Civil War Doctor Who Pioneered Battlefield Care.Arcade: Skyhorse, dist. by Norton. Jul. 2013. 368p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781611458398. $25.95. BIOG

Wilson, Robert. Mathew Brady: Portraits of a Nation. Bloomsbury. Aug. 2013. 288p. photogs. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781620402030. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781620402047. BIOG


Dauvergne, Peter & Jane Lister. Eco-Business: A Big-Brand Takeover of Sustainability. MIT. 2013. 208p. illus. notes. index.ISBN 9780262018760. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780262313070. BUS

Library Journal Reviews starred review Rieger, Bernhard. The People’s Car: A Global History of the Volkswagen Beetle. Harvard Univ. 2013. 404p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780674050914. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780674075757. BUS

Sanderson, Eric W. Terra Nova: The New World After Oil, Cars, and Suburbs. Abrams. 2013. 352p. illus. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781419704345. $32.50. BUS


Edmundson, Mark. Why Teach? In Defense of a Real Education. Bloomsbury. Aug. 2013. 240p. ISBN 9781620401071. $22.ebk. ISBN 9781620401088. ED

Library Journal Reviews starred review Stewart, Alison. First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar, America’s First Black Public High School. Lawrence Hill. Aug. 2013. 352p. photogs. bibliog. notes. index. ISBN 9781613740095. $29.95. ED


Beard, Mary. Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations. Liveright: Norton. Sept. 2013. 320p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780871407160. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780871407474. HIST

Greenspan, Elizabeth. Battle for Ground Zero: Inside the Political Struggle To Rebuild the World Trade Center.Palgrave Macmillan. Aug. 2013. 288p. notes. index. ISBN 9780230341388. $28. HIST

Griffin, Farah Jasmine. Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II. Basic Bks: Perseus. Sept. 2013. 256p. photogs. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780465018758. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780465069972. HIST

Library Journal Reviews starred review Johnson, Martin P. Writing the Gettysburg Address. Univ. Pr. of Kansas. Oct. 2013. 336p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780700619337. $34.95. HIST

Lacey, James & Williamson Murray. Moment of Battle: The Twenty Clashes That Changed the World. Bantam.2013. 496p. illus. maps. notes. index. ISBN 9780345526977. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780345526991. HIST

Library Journal Reviews starred review Morris, Marc. The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England. Pegasus. 2013. 472p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781605984513. $30. HIST

Pasley, Jeffrey L. The First Presidential Contest: 1796 and the Founding of American Democracy. Univ. Pr. of Kansas. (American Presidential Elections). 2013. 504p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780700619078. $37.50. HIST

Riello, Giorgio. Cotton: The Fabric That Made the Modern World. Cambridge Univ. 2013. 434p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781107000223. $35. HIST

Serrano, Richard A. Last of the Blue and Gray: Old Men, Stolen Glory, and the Mystery That Outlived the Civil War. Smithsonian. Oct. 2013. 232p. photogs. notes. index. ISBN 9781588343956. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781588343963. HIST


The American Illness: Essays on the Rule of Law. Yale Univ. 2013. 552p. ed. by F.H. Buckley. notes. index.ISBN 9780300175219. $60; ebk. ISBN 9780300195071. LAW

Jackson, Bruce. Inside the Wire: Photographs from Texas and Arkansas Prisons. Univ. of Texas. 2013. 200p. photogs. ISBN 9780292744967. $50. LAW

Kolker, Robert. Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery. Harper: HarperCollins. Jul. 2013. 416p. maps. ISBN 9780062183637. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062183675. CRIME


Brennan, J.H. Whisperers: The Secret History of the Spirit World. Duckworth: Overlook, dist. by Penguin Group (USA). 2013. 416p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781590208625. $29.95. PARAPSYCH


Bennoune, Karima. Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism. Norton. Aug. 2013. 384p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780393081589. $27.95. INT AFFAIRS

Institute of Politics, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Campaign for President: The Managers Look at 2012. Rowman & Littlefield. (Campaigning American Style). Jul. 2013. 252p. photogs. ISBN 9781442222465. $75; pap. ISBN 9781442222472. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781442222489. POL SCI

Levitt, Matthew. Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God. Georgetown Univ. Oct. 2013. 389p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781626160132. $32.95; ebk. ISBN 9781626160149. INT AFFAIRS

Stoll, Ira. JFK, Conservative. Houghton Harcourt. Oct. 2013. 288p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780547585987. $27. POL SCI


Library Journal Reviews starred review Graziano, Michael S.A. Consciousness and the Social Brain. Oxford Univ. Sept. 2013. 280p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780199928644. $29.95. PSYCH

Pang, Alex Soojung-Kim. The Distraction Addiction: Getting the Information You Need and the Communication You Want, Without Enraging Your Family, Annoying Your Colleague, and Destroying Your Soul. Little, Brown. Aug. 2013. 304p. notes. index. ISBN 9780316208260. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316208253. PSYCH

Redish, A. David. The Mind Within the Brain: How We Make Decisions and How Those Decisions Go Wrong.Oxford Univ. Aug. 2013. 416p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780199891887. $35. PSYCH


Ewalt, David M. Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It. Scribner.Aug. 2013. 288p. notes. index. ISBN 9781451640502. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781451640526. SOC SCI

Margolis, Maxine L. Goodbye, Brazil: Émigrés from the Land of Soccer and Samba. Univ. of Wisconsin. 2013. 292p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780299293048. pap. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780299293031. SOC SCI


Berry, Oliver & others. France’s Best Trips: 39 Amazing Road Trips. ISBN 9781742209852.
Hardy, Paul & others. Italy’s Best Trips: 38 Amazing Road Trips. ISBN 9781742209876.
ea vol: Lonely Planet. (Best Trips). 448p. photogs. notes. index. pap. $24.99. TRAV

Davenport, Fionn & others. Ireland’s Best Trips: 34 Amazing Road Trips. Lonely Planet. (Best Trips). 2013. 448p. illus. maps. index. ISBN 9781742209869. pap. $24.99. TRAV