Social Sciences Reviews | August 2013

Library Journal Reviews starred reviewLaughlin-Schultz, Bonnie. The Tie That Bound Us: The Women of John Brown’s Family and the Legacy of Radical Abolitionism. Cornell Univ. Aug. 2013. 288p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780801451614. $29.95. BIOG

To the vast literature on John Brown, Laughlin-Schultz (history, Eastern Illinois Univ.) offers something new and revealing—namely, an intelligent and informative study of the women who stood behind and for John Brown and his family in their radical abolitionism and then in preserving their memory as men of principle. Laughlin-Schultz shows that through their work in maintaining the farm, household, and legacy of John Brown, Brown’s second wife, Mary Ann Day Brown, and his daughters encouraged Brown in his antislavery work and even provided direct aid for it. Equally important, by their public displays of courage in claiming Brown’s body and then defending his reputation, they encouraged a history of abolitionism as necessary and God ordained when, late in the 19th century, efforts at sectional reconciliation were rewriting the causes and consequences of the Civil War to make it seem that abolitionists, especially Brown, were fanatics driven by irrationality, even insanity. VERDICT Laughlin-Schultz shows how the private became public and the personal political. In doing so she brings us close to the man John Brown, and his sons, who understood and demanded the necessity of women’s courage. This is a book every student of antislavery, women’s, and Civil War history will read with profit.—Randall M. Miller, St. Joseph’s Univ., Philadelphia

Library Journal Reviews starred reviewKing, Greg & Sue Woolmans. The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance That Changed the World. St. Martin’s. Sept. 2013. 400p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781250000163. $27.99;ebk. ISBN 9781250038678. HIST

Historians King (The Court of the Last Tsar) and Woolmans take a fresh look at the circumstances surrounding the June 28, 1914, assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, which sparked the onset of World War I. Unlike such books as Lavender Cassels’s The Archduke and the Assassin, this work focuses more on the unlikely romance between the pair than on the violence brewing in Europe at the time. Descriptions of the couple’s warm family life are offset by plenty of accounts of court intrigue and the snubs at the highest level directed at Sophie, who had been a lady-in-waiting prior to her marriage to the Habsburg heir. King and Woolmans have clearly undertaken a great deal of original research and uncovered many new sources, including material provided by Franz Ferdinand’s descendants. The authors make a strong case for the theory (still not officially accepted) that the archduke and duchess were sent to Sarajevo by court powers who were aware they might well be killed. VERDICT With the 100th anniversary of this tragedy less than a year away, this personal and political study, with its revisionist take, will be popular with historians and general readers alike and is highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 3/11/13.]—­Barbara Ferrara, Chesterfield Cty. P.L., VA

Armstrong, Charles K. Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950–1992. Cornell Univ. (Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Inst., Columbia Univ.). 2013. 336p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780801450822. $35. HIST

If North Korea scares you (and it should), then this vivid and cogent book is for you. Armstrong (Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies in the Social Sciences, Columbia Univ.) asks how the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), poor, stagnant, and isolated, has continually been able to play international allies, patrons, and enemies against one another to get what it has wanted. Founder Kim Il-sung manipulated Stalin and Mao Zedong to start the Korean War in 1950, then extorted their help to subsidize Juche (self-reliance) and support his hopes of Third World socialist leadership. After the Soviet Union dissolved in 1989, Russia demanded that the “tail stop telling the dog what to do,” as Armstrong puts it, and recognized capitalist South Korea. China was stuck with the DPRK but joined Japan and the United States in trading with prosperous South Korea. Yet famine and isolation in the DPRK led to ideological petrification and elite ­self-perpetuation, not Chinese-style reform. Even so, as Armstrong points out in his epilog, Kim Jong-il, who succeeded Kim Il-sung, got what he wanted by alternating fierce negotiation and the blackmail power of his atomic bomb. Kim Jung-un, the current young leader, understands the benefits of seeming crazy but may not be in control. VERDICT Read it!—Charles Hayford, Evanston, IL

The following titles are reviewed in the August 15, 2013 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Hackel, Steven W. Junípero Serra: California’s Founding Father.Hill & Wang: Farrar. Sept. 2013. 368p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780809095315. $27. BIOG

Laskin, David. The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of the Twentieth Century. Viking. Oct. 2013. 400p. notes. index. ISBN 9780670025473. $32. BIOG

Phillips, Nicola. The Profligate Son; or, A True Story of Family Conflict, Fashionable Vice, and Financial Ruin in Regency Britain. Basic Bks: Perseus. Sept. 2013. 352p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780465008926. $28.99. BIOG


Simmons, Solon. The Eclipse of Equality: Arguing America on Meet the Press. Stanford Univ. 2013. 312p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780804777988. $29.95. COMM


Magnuson, Joel. The Approaching Great Transformation: Toward a Livable Post Carbon Economy. Seven Stories. 2013. 232p. notes. index. ISBN 9781609804800. pap. $18.95. BUS

Ostrofsky, Marc. Word of Mouse: 101+ Trends in How We Buy, Sell, Live, Learn, Work, and Play. S. & S. Sept. 2013. 256p. ISBN 9781451668407. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781451668421. BUS

Phelps, Edmund. Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge, and Change. Princeton Univ. Sept. 2013. 392p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780691158983. $29.95. BUS


Davis, Julie L. Survival Schools: The American Indian Movement and Community Education in the Twin Cities. Univ. of Minnesota. 2013. 328p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780816674282. $69; pap. ISBN 9780816674299. $22.95. ED

Martinez, Michael E. Future Bright: A Transforming Vision of Human Intelligence. Oxford Univ. Aug. 2013. 320p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780199781843. $34.95; ebk. ISBN 9780199344321. ED


Library Journal Reviews starred reviewCojean, Annick. Gaddafi’s Harem: The Story of a Young Woman and the Abuses of Power in Libya. Grove. Sept. 2013. 304p. tr. from French by Marjolijn de Jager. ISBN 9780802121721. $24. HIST

Gomes, Laurentino. 1808: The Flight of the Emperor; How a Weak Prince, a Mad Queen, and the British Navy Tricked Napoleon and Changed the New World. Lyons: Globe Pequot. Sept. 2013. 320p. tr. from Portuguese by Andrew Nevins. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780762787968. $28.95. HIST

Graybill, Andrew R. The Red and the White: A Family Saga of the American West. Liveright: Norton. Oct. 2013. 352p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780871404459. $28.95. HIST

Müller-Hill, Werner Otto. The True German: The Diary of a World War II Military Judge. Palgrave Macmillan. Sept. 2013. 240p. tr. from German by Jefferson Chase. notes. index. ISBN 9781137278548. $25. HIST

Shavit, Ari. My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel.Spiegel & Grau. Nov. 2013. 464p. index. ISBN 9780385521703. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780812984644. HIST

Wilder, Craig Steven. Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities.Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan. Sept. 2013. 432p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781596916814. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781608193837. HIST


Library Journal Reviews starred reviewMandery, Evan J. A Wild Justice: The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America.Norton. Aug. 2013. 496p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780393239584. $29.95. LAW

Stevenson, Brenda. The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins: Justice, Gender, and the Origins of the LA Riots.Oxford Univ. Aug. 2013. 400p. notes. ISBN 9780199944576. $29.95. LAW

Strub, Whitney. Obscenity Rules: Roth v.United States and the Long Struggle over Sexual Expression.Univ. Pr. of Kansas. (Landmark Law Cases & American Society). Sept. 2013. 264p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780700619368. $34.95; pap. ISBN 9780700619375. $17.95. LAW


Birnes, William J. UFO Hunters: Book One. Tor. Sept. 2013. 352p. index.ISBN 9780765325204. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781429987998. PARAPSYCH

Nickell, Joe. The Science of Miracles: Investigating the Incredible.Prometheus. 2013. 375p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781616147419. pap. $18; ebk. ISBN 9781616147426. PARAPSYCH


Balz, Dan. Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America.Viking. Aug. 2013. 400p. notes. index. ISBN 9780670025947. $32.95. POL SCI

Bose, Sumantra. Transforming India: Challenges to the World’s Largest Democracy.Harvard Univ. Sept. 2013. 342p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780674050662. $35. INT AFFAIRS


Lewis, David. Impulse: Why We Do What We Do Without Knowing Why We Do It. Belknap: Harvard Univ. Oct. 2013. 336p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780674725492. $27.95. PSYCH

Smith, Richard H. The Joy of Pain: Schadenfreude and the Dark Side of Human Nature.Oxford Univ. Aug. 2013. 240p. notes. ISBN 9780199734542. $24.95. PSYCH


King, Thomas. The Inconvenient Indian:A Curious Account of Native People in North America.Univ. of Minnesota. Sept. 2013. 272p. index. ISBN 9780816689767. $24.95. SOC SCI

Venkatesh, Sudhir. Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York’s Underground Economy.Penguin Pr: Penguin Group (USA). Sept. 2013. 304p. index. ISBN 9781594204166. $27.95. SOC SCI


Kamiya, Gary. Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco.Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan. Aug. 2013. 400p.

bibliog. ISBN 9781608199600. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781620401255. TRAV

Palin, Michael. Brazil.Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Aug. 2013. 320p. photos. ISBN 9781250032065. $35. TRAV

Library Journal Reviews starred reviewSomerville, Christopher (text) & Claire Littlejohn (illus.). Walking in Ireland: 50 Walks Through the Heart and Soul of Ireland.Ebury: Random. Aug. 2013. 268p. maps. index. ISBN 9780091938376. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781407079998. TRAV