Social Sciences Reviews | November 1, 2013

redstar Jimenez, Stephen. The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard. Steerforth. 2013. 360p. illus. ISBN 9781586422141. $26. CRIME

Indeed, this book holds true to its subtitle. Readers should be prepared to encounter a radically revised version of the life and death of Matthew Shepard, a college student whose gruesome 1998 murder in Laramie, WY, galvanized gay and social activists. According to seasoned screenwriter and investigative reporter Jimenez (ABC News 20/20; Dan Rather Reports; NOVA), the myth of Matt is simply that: a hagiography unrepresentative of the all-too-human man. Jimenez spent 13 years investigating Shepard’s savage death, returning to Laramie time and again in order to interview and reinterview the principal players in his life. Ultimately, Jimenez, who also is gay, demonstrates conclusively that Shepard was not a victim of a hate crime and a martyr for the gay cause but rather died because of his heavy involvement in the Colorado methamphetamine scene. Moreover, Jimenez establishes that Shepard was well acquainted with Aaron McKinney, his drug-crazed murderer, and that Russell Henderson, the other man convicted of the homicide, in fact did not actively participate in the killing. VERDICT This riveting true crime narrative will appeal to readers of books such as Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song.—Lynne Maxwell, West Virginia Univ. Coll. of Law Lib., ­Morgantown

Panero, Nell Scharff & Joan E. Talbert. Strategic Inquiry: Starting Small for Big Results in Education. Harvard Education. 2013. 184p. notes. index. ISBN 9781612505855. $44.95; pap. ISBN 9781612505848. $26.95. ED

Armed with evidence-based data, Panero (director, Ctr. for Educational Leadership, Baruch Coll., CUNY) and Talbert (education, codirector, Ctr. for Research on the Context of Teaching, Stanford Univ.) here make a strong case for using “strategic inquiry” to improve schools. Strategic inquiry is based upon the Scaffolded Apprenticeship Model, which was developed for a high school in New York City in 2005 by Baruch College, and New York–based New Visions for Public Schools, and focuses on teacher participation and collaboration. The approach promotes the identification of specific impediments to student learning, develops ways to remove or alter those barriers, and actively involves teachers and administrators in implementing changes. The authors propose a model that emphasizes using small changes to bring about large ones. Using the “4 Ts”—teams, targets, tasks, and training—the design facilitates collaboration and helps identify and respond to student learning needs. This title includes a detailed case study demonstrating how its methods work, allowing readers to decide if they agree with the authors that strategic inquiry transforms schools and districts into learning organizations and requires the participation and commitment of all. VERDICT A carefully documented, research-based book that will appeal to teachers, educational researchers, and administrators, as it offers an alternative to the many education reform products on the market.—Jacqueline Snider, Iowa City

redstar Tobin, James. The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio To Win the Presidency. S. & S. Nov. 2013. 336p. photos. notes. index. ISBN 9780743265157. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781451698671.BIOG

Tobin (journalism, Miami Univ., OH; ­Ernie Pyle’s War: America’s Eyewitness to World War II) shows his gifts as a veteran reporter, PhD historian, and biographer in this moving page-turner. Even if aspects of the thesis—that Franklin D. Roosevelt’s battle with polio transformed him—are familiar, Tobin conveys it marvelously. He supplies context on the disease itself and efforts at patient rehabilitation, while offering balanced and perceptive sketches of FDR, his cohorts, and the general public. After 39-year-old FDR was stricken with polio in 1921, it was his adviser Louis Howe’s journalistic and public skills that kept FDR politically viable as he demonstrated his mettle fighting both the disease and public opinion about a disabled person in public office. FDR became a teacher both to others afflicted with the disease and the public who feared it. Tobin has a real knack for capturing the essence of the historical figures he’s discussing. Much more than a mere rehashing of this aspect of FDR’s life, the book shows how his response to polio gives us insights into his character and how he would go on to battle the Great Depression and World War II enemies. VERDICT Tobin’s thoroughly enjoyable work will interest both scholars and general readers who seek stories of the human spirit triumphing over calamity. Highly recommended.—William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport

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The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue.
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Langley, Philippa & Michael Jones. The King’s Grave: The Discovery of Richard III’s Lost Burial Place and the Clues It Holds. St. Martin’s. 2013. 320p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781250044105. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466842700. BIOG

redstar Somerset, Anne. Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion. Knopf. 2013. 656p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780307962881. $35. BIOG

Watts, Steven. Self-Help Messiah: Dale Carnegie and Success in Modern America. Other. 2013. 576p. notes. index. ISBN 9781590515020. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781590515037. BIOG

Zeitz, Joshua. Lincoln’s Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay, and the War for Lincoln’s Image. Viking. Nov. 2013. 400p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780670025664. $29.95. BIOG


Meyers, Cynthia B. A Word from Our Sponsor: Admen, Advertising, and the Golden Age of Radio. Fordham Univ. Nov. 2013. 288p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780823253715. $32. COMM


Folkenflik, David. Murdoch’s World: The Last of the Old Media Empires. Public Affairs. 2013. 384p. notes. index. ISBN 9781610390897. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781610390903. BUS

redstar Melillo, Wendy. How McGruff and the Crying Indian Changed America: A History of Iconic Ad Council Campaigns. Smithsonian. 2013. 240p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781588343932. $27.95. ECON


Armstrong, Tony. Educating Angels: Teaching for the Pursuit of Happiness. Parkhurst Brothers. Nov. 2013. 288p. notes. ISBN 9781624910135. pap. $17; ebk. ISBN 9781624910142. ED


Jameson, W.C. John Wilkes Booth: Beyond the Grave. Taylor. 2013. 208p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9781589798311. $22.95. HIST

Linteau, Paul-Andre. The History of Montréal: The Story of a Great North American City. Baraka. 2013. 201p. tr. from French by Peter McCambridge. illus. maps. index. ISBN 9781926824772. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781926824819. HIST

Mueller, James E. Shooting Arrows and Slinging Mud: Custer, the Press, and the Little Bighorn. Univ. of Oklahoma. 2013. 272p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780806143989. $29.95. HIST

Pérez, Louis A., Jr. The Structure of Cuban History: Meanings and Purpose of the Past. Univ. of North Carolina. 2013. 360p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781469606927. $39.95; ebk. ISBN 9781469608860. HIST

Prados, John. The Family Jewels: The CIA, Secrecy, and Presidential Power. Univ. of Texas. (Discovering America). 2013. 336p. notes. index. ISBN 9780292737624. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780292752931. HIST

Strathern, Paul. The Venetians: A New History; From Marco Polo to Casanova. Pegasus. Dec. 2013. 368p. illus. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781605984896. $27.95. HIST

redstar Wilford, Hugh. America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East. Basic: Perseus. Dec. 2013. 384p. photos. notes. index. ISBN 9780465019656. $29.99. HIST


Capeci, Jerry & Tom Robbins. Mob Boss: The Life of Little Al D’Arco, the Man Who Brought Down the Mafia. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. 2013. 432p. ISBN 9781250006868. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250037435. CRIME

Jennings, Christian. Bosnia’s Million Bones: Solving the World’s Greatest Forensic Puzzle. Palgrave Macmillan. Nov. 2013. 272p. index. ISBN 9781137278685. $27. CRIME

Ojito, Mirta. Hunting Season: Immigration and Murder in an All-American Town. Beacon. 2013. 280p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780807001813. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780807001820. CRIME


Muñoz, Heraldo. Getting Away with Murder: Benazir Bhutto’s Assassination and the Politics of Pakistan. Norton. Dec. 2013. 256p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780393062915. $26.95. INT AFFAIRS

redstar Runciman, David. The Confidence Trap: A History of Democracy in Crisis from World War I to the Present. Princeton Univ. Nov. 2013. 432p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780691148687. $29.95. POL SCI


Edelstein, Michael R. & others. Therapy Breakthrough: Why Some Psychotherapies Work Better Than Others. Open Court. 2013. 290p. index. ISBN 9780812696868. $29.95. PSYCH

Harrison, Guy P. Think: Why You Should Question Everything. Prometheus. Nov. 2013. 300p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9781616148072. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616148089. PSYCH

Peakman, Julie. The Pleasure’s All Mine: A History of Perverse Sex. Univ. of Chicago. Nov. 2013. 464p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781780231853. $39. PSYCH


Besen-Cassino, Yasemin. Consuming Work: Youth Labor in America. Temple Univ. Dec. 2013. 204p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781439909485. $84.50; pap. ISBN 9781439909492. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781439909508. SOC SCI

Childers, Sarah Beth. Shake Terribly the Earth: Stories from an Appalachian Family. Ohio Univ. Nov. 2013. 213p. ISBN 9780821420614. $49.95; pap. ISBN 9780821420621. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780821444689. SOC SCI

From Moon Cakes to Mao to Modern China: An Introduction to Chinese Civilization. CN Times. Nov. 2013. 288p. ed. by Zhu Fayuan & others. illus. index. ISBN 9781627740029. $26. SOC SCI

Horowitz, Mitch. One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life. Crown. Jan. 2014. 336p. index. ISBN 9780307986498. $24; ebk. ISBN 9780307986504. SOC SCI


Millar, Peter. Slow Train to Guantanamo: A Rail Odyssey Through Cuba in the Last Days of the Castros. Arcadia. Nov. 2013. 272p. ISBN 9781908129505. pap. $24.95. TRAV