Social Sciences Reviews | September 15, 2013

redstar Lepore, Jill. Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin. Knopf. Oct. 2013. 480p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780307958341. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780307958358. BIOG

Jane Franklin Mecom and her older brother, Benjamin Franklin, shared a strong mutual affection and engaged in a lifelong correspondence. Drawing from their letters and those of other family members, scant public records, and Mecom’s chronicle of family births, marriages, and deaths, Lepore (history, Harvard Univ.; The Mansion of Happiness), a Bancroft Prize winner and New Yorker staff writer, not only fills in details of Benjamin Franklin’s life but, more important, brings Mecom to life in her own right. Mecom was a relentlessly persevering, resourceful, and loving sister, wife, and mother of 12. She endured endless financial and emotional hardship, surviving through Franklin’s (and others’) generosity and outliving almost everyone she loved. She had little time or opportunity to flex her intellect but loved reading and offering her political opinions in her senior years. Many of her letters were lost; without her famous brother, Jane, like so many other poor and uneducated women, would have remained in obscurity. She believed, however, that every human life mattered, and Lepore’s depiction reveals her worth to her family members and in the context of history. VERDICT This book is an important, inspiring portrait of a determined and faith-filled woman who just happened to be the sister of a big shot. It will be enjoyed by all readers. [See Prepub Alert, 4/15/13.]—­Margaret ­Kappanadze, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY

redstar Tyler, George R. What Went Wrong: How the 1% Hijacked the American Middle Class…and What Other Countries Got Right. BenBella. 2013. 576p. notes. index. ISBN 9781937856717. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781937856724. BUS

Economist Tyler (former Clinton administration deputy asst. Treasury secretary and World Bank advisor) claims that over the last 30 years, productivity and corporate profits have soared in the United States while income levels have stagnated or fallen. To explain why, Tyler compares American “shareholder capitalism” to the “family capitalism” practiced in Australia and Northern Europe, which focuses on increasing the long-term value of businesses for their shareholders and employees. In the post–World War II economic boom (1945–80), a period the author labels the Golden Age, there was an implicit social contract in the United States by which government policy, management, and organized labor worked together to link higher profits and rising productivity with increased wages to ensure that all Americans benefited. Since 1980, Tyler writes, this social contract has been shredded; U.S. politicians and businesses have harmed the population with benefit cuts, deregulation, wage givebacks, and tax policies that transfer wealth from the middle class to the top one percent. VERDICT Tyler’s timely and convincing book confirms what Americans feel in their bones: the economy is rigged against them and something is definitely wrong.—Duncan Stewart, Univ. of Iowa Libs., Iowa City

redstar Horwitz, Allan V. Anxiety: A Short History. Johns Hopkins. (Biographies of Disease). Nov. 2013. 208p. notes. index. ISBN 9781421410807. pap. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781421410814. PSYCH

For the anxious, life is a roller coaster they want to slow down. Sociologist and historian Horwitz (sociology, Rutgers Univ.; Creating Mental Illness) traces how anxiety has been understood and treated from the time of Hippocrates and Aristotle through Freud to neuroscience and pharmaceutics today. He guides readers through all aspects of this surprisingly large topic: fear, worry, dread; theories, treatments, and social consequences through history; religious, cultural, and scientific aspects of anxiety; and anxiety’s various causes, from snakes and spiders to debt and war. Freud moved the concept of anxiety from the sphere of religion (as in the writing of St. Augustine) and philosophy (as in Søren Kierkegaard) to medicine. First claiming that repressed impulses were its cause, he later retracted, stating that it was in fact anxiety that caused repression. More recently, behaviorists have cured some types of the condition with desensitization rather than through analysis. Horwitz shows how pharmaceutical stocks go up as Americans, anxious not to be anxious, press their primary physicians for pills, while psychiatrists obsess about diagnostic terminology in part to suit the demands of insurance companies. VERDICT For observers of the human condition, this work is, despite some overwrought sentences, an enlightening tour of anxiety, set at a sensible pace, with an exceptional scholar and writer leading the way.—E. James ­Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC

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The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue.
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David, James Corbett. Dunmore’s New World: The Extraordinary Life of a Royal Governor in Revolutionary America—with Jacobites, Counterfeiters, Land Schemes, Shipwrecks, Scalping, Indian Politics, Runaway Slaves, and Two Illegal Royal Weddings. Univ. of Virginia. (Early American Histories). 2013. 280p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780813934242. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780813934259. BIOG

Dedman, Bill & Paul Clark Newell Jr. Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune. Ballantine. Sept. 2013. 496p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780345534521. $28. BIOG

Goodman, Jordan. Paul Robeson: A Watched Man. Verso. Oct. 2013. 320p. notes. bibliog. notes. ISBN 9781781681312. $29.95. BIOG

redstar Lindhout, Amanda & Sara Corbett. A House in the Sky. Scribner. Sept. 2013. 384p. ISBN 9781451645606. $27. AUTOBIOG


Brock, George. Out of Print: Newspapers, Journalism, and the Business of News in the Digital Age. Kogan Page. Sept. 2013. 248p. notes. ISBN 9780749466510. pap. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780749466527. COMM


Mignogna, Adeena. Minding My Business: The Complete, No-Nonsense, Start-to-Finish Guide to Owning and Running Your Own Store. Skyhorse. Oct. 2013. 352p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781626360075. $24.95. BUS

Spangler, Timothy. One Step Ahead: Private Equity and Hedge Funds After the Global Financial Crisis. Oneworld. Oct. 2013. 352p. index. ISBN 9781780742953. $35. BUS


Krieger, Martin H. The Scholar’s Survival Manual: A Road Map for Students, Faculty, and Administrators. Indiana Univ. Oct. 2013. 394p. index. ISBN 9780253010636. pap. $25. ED

Owens, John. Confessions of a Bad Teacher: The Shocking Truth from the Front Lines of American Public Education. Sourcebooks. 2013. 288p. bibliog. ISBN 9781402281006. pap. $13.99. ED


Amrith, Sunil S. Crossing the Bay of Bengal: The Furies of Nature and the Fortunes of Migrants. Harvard Univ. Oct. 2013. 356p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780674724839. $29.95. HIST

Angela, Alberto. The Reach of Rome: A Journey Through the Lands of the Ancient Empire, Following a Coin. Rizzoli. Oct. 2013. 432p. tr. from Italian by Gregory Conti. ISBN 9780847841288. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780847841417. HIST

Ciment, James. Another America: The Story of Liberia and the Former Slaves Who Ruled It. Hill & Wang: Farrar. 2013. 352p. notes. index. ISBN 9780809095421. $29.95. HIST

redstar Clarke, Erskine. By the Rivers of Water: A Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Odyssey. Basic: Perseus. Oct. 2013. 448p. illus. maps. notes. index. ISBN 9780465002726. $29.99. HIST

redstar Duggan, Christopher. Fascist Voices: An Intimate History of Mussolini’s Italy. Oxford Univ. 2013. 528p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780199730780. $34.95. HIST

Lukacs, John. A Short History of the Twentieth Century. Belknap: Harvard Univ. Oct. 2013. 224p. index. ISBN 9780674725362. $24.95. HIST

Robb, Graham. The Discovery of Middle Earth: Mapping the Lost World of the Celts. Norton. Nov. 2013. 448p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780393081633. $28.95. HIST

redstar Schlosser, Eric. Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety. Penguin Pr. Sept. 2013. 640p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781594202278. $36. HIST

West, Chris. A History of Britain in Thirty-Six Postage Stamps. Picador. Nov. 2013. 288p. illus. index. ISBN 9781250035509. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781250035530. HIST

Winchester, Simon. The Men Who United the States: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible. Harper. Oct. 2013. 496p. illus. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780062079602. $29.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062079626. HIST


Atkinson, Diane. The Criminal Conversation of Mrs. Norton: Victorian England’s “Scandal of the Century” and the Fallen Socialite Who Changed Women’s Lives Forever. Chicago Review. Sept. 2013. 496p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781613748800. $29.95. CRIME

Haber, Carole. The Trials of Laura Fair: Sex, Murder, and Insanity in the Victorian West. Univ. of North Carolina. 2013. 328p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781469607580. $39.95. CRIME

Poser, Norman S. Lord Mansfield: Justice in the Age of Reason. McGill-Queens Univ. Sept. 2013. 560p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780773541832. $39.95; ebk. ISBN 9780773589803. LAW

Riffenburgh, Beau. Pinkerton’s Great Detective: The Amazing Life and Times of James McParland. Viking. Nov. 2013. 400p. index. ISBN 9780670025466. $32.95. CRIME


Le Blanc, Paul & Michael D. Yates. A Freedom Budget for All Americans: Recapturing the Promise of the Civil Rights Movement in the Struggle for Economic Justice Today. Monthly Review. Sept. 2013. 297p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781583673614. $69; pap. 9781583673607. $16.95. POL SCI

Sides, John & Lynn Vavreck. The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election. Princeton Univ. Oct. 2013. 352p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780691156880. $29.95. POL SCI

Vairon, Lionel. China Threat? The Challenges, Myths, and Realities of China’s Rise. CN Times. 2013. 232p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781627740005. $24.95. INT AFFAIRS


Lieberman, Matthew D. Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired To Connect. Crown. Oct. 2013. 384p. notes. index. ISBN 9780307889096. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780307889119. PSYCH

McGuire, Michael. Believing: The Neuroscience of Fantasies, Fears, and Convictions. Prometheus. Sept. 2013. 275p. notes. index. ISBN 9781616148294. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616148300. PSYCH


Byrne, Christopher. Toy Time! From Hula Hoops to He-Man to Hungry Hungry Hippos: A Look Back at the Most-Beloved Toys of Decades Past. Three Rivers: Crown. Oct. 2013. 256p. illus. ISBN 9780385349123. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9780385349130. SOC SCI

Johnson, Colin R. Just Queer Folks: Gender and Sexuality in Rural America. Temple Univ. (Sexuality Studies). 2013. 268p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781439909980. $32.95. SOC SCI


Cooper, Artemis. Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure. NYRB. Oct. 2013. 480p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781590176740. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781590176993. TRAV

Leon, Donna. My Venice and Other Essays. Atlantic Monthly. Dec. 2013. 240p. ISBN 9780802120366. $26. TRAV

Troost, J. Maarten. Headhunters on My Doorstep: A True Treasure Island Ghost Story. Gotham: Penguin. Sept. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9781592407897. $26. TRAV