Social Sciences Reviews | October 1, 2013

redstar Shell, Marc. Wampum and the Origins of American Money. Univ. of Illinois. 2013. 184p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780252033667. $35. HIST

Wampum, strings or belts of clam or conch shells, had many uses among native peoples. Among them: as an artistic way of telling the narrative of a sovereign people (e.g., the Iroquois wampum belt), as a diplomatic and trade language, and as a form of tribal and intertribal specie. Intriguingly and convincingly, Shell (Irving Babbitt Professor of Comparative Literature, Harvard Univ.; American Babel: Literatures of the United States from Abnaki to Zuni) argues that wampum was adopted by the Dutch and English for diplomatic and economic purposes. He gives examples of early uses of wampum in economic exchanges among American Colonies. Beginning with a short history of numismatics, Shell shows how coinage was representative of a people, especially for foreign trade. His middle, and strongest, section focuses on the uses of wampum during the Colonial era and how wampum usage reached its nadir by the end of the American Revolution, when it was supplanted by paper currency, which he terms “paper wampum,” that often featured representations of Native Americans. The book’s final portion is a history of the development of the U.S. economy to the present day that contextualizes wampum as the origin of the American economic system. VERDICT This copiously color-illustrated and erudite work fills a significant gap in the literature of Native American and U.S. economic studies and is highly recommended for academic readers interested in its interconnected subjects.—John R. Burch, Campbellsville Univ. Lib., KY

redstar Lang, James M. Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty. Harvard Univ. 2013. 262p. notes. index. ISBN 9780674724631. $26.95. ED

Lang (English, Assumption Coll.) addresses the unpleasant subject of academic dishonesty but avoids focusing on rules and punishment, instead exploring more positive ways to encourage students to engage in learning. First, he assures readers that there is no evidence that cheating in college has increased; he claims dishonesty occurs when students feel unable to succeed in an academic environment and that it will be reduced if faculty modify their courses and motivate students to prioritize learning instead of test taking. Lang explains relevant cognitive theory, outlines factors that foster cheating, and presents fascinating examples of course structures and classroom activities that stimulate students to work toward mastering their subjects. VERDICT This lively book combines a review of key studies of cheating, inspiring examples of active student efforts to stop academic dishonesty, and useful guidelines for how faculty and institutions can respond when it does occur. Aimed at faculty and college administrators, this readable and well-structured analysis presenting methods to facilitate academic success will also be of interest to readers concerned with how universities provide support to students.—Elizabeth Hayford, formerly with Associated Coll. of the Midwest, Chicago

Smith, Chas. Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell: A True Story of Violence, Corruption, and the Soul of Surfing. It: HarperCollins. Dec. 2013. 256p. index. ISBN 9780062202529. $25.99. CRIME

Surfer and former war reporter Smith takes an in-depth look at the complex world of surfing. To outsiders, the north shore of Hawaii’s Oahu looks like an island paradise, home to some of the best surfing in the world and host of surfing’s Triple Crown competition. The author shows another, seamier side. One of the major problems is the prevalence of drugs, and the effects upon those competing, as well as the native population, are well described. Smith presents a historical perspective of the sport and island history and includes many little-known facts, such as the real story behind the murder of Captain Cook at the hands of rival Hawaiian warlords. The result is a vivid and somewhat disconcerting depiction of the world of surfing and its attendant problems, which may be overwhelming to the casual reader. VERDICT An uncommon read for those interested in surfing or those seeking a look at Hawaii from a vantage point not normally found in history books.—Claire Franek, Greenville, KY

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The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue.
Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Bashor, Will. Marie Antoinette’s Head: The Royal Hairdresser, the Queen, and the Revolution. Lyons. Oct. 2013. 288p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780762791538. $26.95. BIOG

redstar Kopenawa, Davi & Bruce Albert. The Falling Sky: Words of a Yanomami Shaman. Harvard Univ. Nov. 2013. 630p. tr. from French by Nicholas Elliott & Alison Dundy. illus. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780674724686. $39.95. AUTOBIOG

Savodnik, Peter. The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald Inside the Soviet Union. Basic: Perseus. Oct. 2013. 288p. notes. index. ISBN 9780465021819. $27.99. BIOG


Drèze, Jean & Amartya Sen. An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions. Princeton Univ. 2013. 434p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780691160795. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781400848775. BUS


Foley, Michael Stewart. Front Porch Politics: The Forgotten Heyday of American Activism in the 1970s and 1980s. Hill & Wang. 2013. 432p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780809054824. $28. HIST

Grabowski, Jan. Hunt for the Jews: Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland. Indiana Univ. 2013. 288p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780253010742. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780253010872. HIST

Herman, Arthur. The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization. Random. 2013. 656p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780553807301. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780553907834. HIST

Kurin, Richard. The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects. Penguin Pr. Oct. 2013. 768p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781594205293. $50. HIST

Lepenies, Philipp H. Art, Politics, and Development: How Linear Perspective Shaped Policies in the Western World. Temple Univ. (Politics, History, & Social Change). Dec. 2013. 218p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781439910849. $59.50. HIST

Mufti, Shahan. The Faithful Scribe: A Story of Islam, Pakistan, Family, and War. Other. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9781590515051. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781590515068. HIST

The New York Times: The Times of the Eighties; The Culture, Politics, and Personalities That Shaped the Decade. Black Dog & Leventhal. 2013. 312p. ed. by William Grimes. photos. index. ISBN 9781579129330. $29.95. HIST


Pinsky, Mark I. Met Her on the Mountain: A Forty-Year Quest To Solve the Appalachian Cold-Case Murder of Nancy Morgan. John F. Blair. Oct. 2013. 278p. ISBN 9780895876119. $24.95. CRIME

Wilson, Joshua C. The Street Politics of Abortion: Speech, Violence, and America’s Culture Wars. Stanford Univ. 2013. 256p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780804785341. pap. $25.95. LAW


Lecouteux, Claude. The Tradition of Household Spirits: Ancestral Lore and Practices. Inner Traditions. 2013. 248p. tr. from French by Jon E. Graham. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781620551059. pap. $16.95. PARAPSYCH


Blumenthal, Max. Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. Nation. Oct. 2013. 336p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781568586342. $26.99. INT AFFARIS

Zbig: The Strategy and Statecraft of Zbigniew Brzezinski. Johns Hopkins. 2013. 288p. ed. by Charles Gati. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781421409764. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781421409771. INT AFFAIRS


Fallon, James. The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain. Current. Oct. 2013. 256p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781591846000. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101603925. PSYCH

Perry, Gina. Behind the Shock Machine: The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments. New Pr. 2013. 352p. notes. ISBN 9781595589217. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781595589255. PSYCH


Friedman, Hilary Levey. Playing To Win: Raising Children in a Competitive Culture. Univ. of California. 2013. 312p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780520276758. $65; pap. ISBN 9780520276765. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780520956698. SOC SCI

Silva, Jennifer M. Coming Up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty. Oxford Univ. 2013. 224p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780199931460. $29.95. SOC SCI

Wolf, Alison. The XX Factor: How the Rise of Working Women Has Created a Far Less Equal World. Crown. Oct. 2013. 416p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780307590404. $26. SOC SCI


Smith, Aaron. Shanti Bloody Shanti: An Indian Odyssey. Roaring Forties. 2013. 260p. ISBN 9781938901119. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9781938901133. TRAV