Social Sciences Reviews | January 2014

thescarletsisters013114MacPherson, Myra. The Scarlet Sisters: Sex, Suffrage, and Scandal in the Gilded Age. Twelve: Hachette. Mar. 2014. 384p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780446570237. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781455547708. BIOG

Such issues as a woman’s right to make free sexual choices and her decision to run for president provoke spirited discussions these days; they were explosive topics in the 19th century. While there have been numerous studies of Victoria Claflin ­Woodhull (1838–1927), this is the first book to treat her sister Tennessee “Tennie” ­Claflin (1844–1923) thoroughly as well. Born in poverty, with little education, the sisters first gained notice as healers and spiritualists. Come 1870, they opened a brokerage firm in New York, to great success. It enabled them to start their own newspaper, Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, advocating for the rights of women and for personal freedoms as they did likewise on the lecture circuit. The sisters famously exposed an adulterous affair between noted pastor Henry Ward Beecher and a parishioner. They courted controversy, both challenging and charming contemporaries. Victoria ran for president in 1872. MacPherson (Long Time Passing: Vietnam and the Haunted Generation) guides readers through the lives of these two women and their relationships with fellow activists such as Frederick Douglass and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. VERDICT This engaging and very accessible study, based on considerable primary and secondary research, is recommended to all readers looking to study Victoria Woodhull in the context of her partnerships with her sister and their broader lives together and apart.—Theresa McDevitt, Indiana Univ. Lib., PA

icecreamsocial013114Edmondson, Brad. Ice Cream Social: The Struggle for the Soul of Ben & Jerry’s. Berrett-Koehler. Feb. 2014. 304p. photos. notes. index. ISBN 9781609948139. pap. $16.95. BUS

For readers who want to know the truth behind the pints of Chubby Hubby and Phish Food, journalist and consultant ­Edmonson (founder, offers an in-depth history of the business side of Ben & Jerry’s, founded by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in 1978, including the ups and downs of running a successful company while remaining true to its original roots. While neither Ben nor Jerry agreed to be interviewed for the book, it includes material contributed by Jeff Furman, the current chairman of Ben & Jerry’s board of directors. He wrote the company’s original business plan back in 1977 (using a pizza shop template) and has stayed with the firm ever since. Furman was also instrumental in drafting its three-point mission statement: great ice cream, social purpose, and profit. How the company has maintained its progressive social focus, despite challenges and considerable pushback from Unilever (who bought out Ben & Jerry’s in 2000), is a major focus of this work. VERDICT An engaging company chronicle, with an emphasis on the boardroom, not the scoop shop (although personal photos and fun facts such as key employees’ favorite flavors are included). Recommended for business collections.—Susan Hurst, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH

theheathenschool013114redstarDemos, John. The Heathen School: A Story of Hope and Betrayal in the Age of the Early Republic. Knopf. Mar. 2014. 368p. notes. index. ISBN 9780679455103. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780385351669. HIST

Tantalizing glimpses of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions School in Cornwall, Connecticut, derisively known as the “heathen school,” may be found in many books about the Cherokee Trail of Tears. Notable Native Americans such as Elias Boudinot and John Ridge were “civilized” there. Demos (Samuel Knight Professor Emeritus of History, Yale Univ.; The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America) provides a much-needed history of the school that identifies the lofty goals of its founders to educate bright people from around the world in order to return them, as Protestant missionaries, to their homes. Demos shows how the founders’ dreams fell victim to racial bigotry within both the student body itself and in the greater Cornwall community. The school closed in the aftermath of the interracial marriages between Boudinot and Harriett Gold, and Ridge and Sarah Bird Northrup. Boudinot and Ridge subsequently returned to Georgia with their wives, became involved in Cherokee politics, and were signatories of the Treaty of New Echota (1835), which traded the Cherokee homeland in the East for land in present-day Oklahoma. VERDICT This brilliant work is highly recommended for all who study American history. They should read it with To Marry an Indian: The Marriage of Harriett Gold and Elias Boudinot in Letters, 1823–1839, edited by Theresa Strouth Gaul.—John R. Burch, ­Campbellsville Univ. Lib., KY

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


Landau, David. Arik: The Life of Ariel Sharon. Knopf. Jan. 2014. 656p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781400042418. $37.50; ebk. ISBN 9780385351096. BIOG

Romanov, Olga. The Diary of Olga Romanov: Royal Witness to the Russian Revolution. Westholme. 2013. 232p. ed & tr. from Russian by Helen Azar. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781594161773. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781594165672. AUTOBIOG

Sarfatti, Margherita. My Fault: Mussolini as I Knew Him. Enigma. 2013. 380p. ed. by Brian R. Sullivan. tr. from Spanish. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781936274390. $22; ebk. ISBN 9781936274406. bIOG


Garfield, Simon. To the Letter: A Celebration of the Lost Art of Letter Writing. Gotham. 2013. 464p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781592408351. $27.50. COMM


Hart, Matthew. Gold: The Race for the World’s Most Seductive Metal. S. & S. 2013. 320p. notes. index. ISBN 9781451650020. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781451650112. BUS

Howard, Timothy. The Mortgage Wars: Inside Fannie Mae, Big-Money Politics, and the Collapse of the American Dream. McGraw-Hill. 2013. 304p. notes. index. ISBN 9780071821094. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780071821100. BUS

Marturano, Janice. Finding the Space To Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership. Bloomsbury USA. Jan. 2014. 208p. index. ISBN 9781620402474. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781620402481. BUS

Simonson, Itamar & Emanuel Rosen. Absolute Value: What Really Influences Customers in the Age of (Nearly) Perfect Information. Harper Business. Feb. 2014. 256p. notes. index. ISBN 9780062215673. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062215680. BUS


Burris, Carol Corbett. On the Same Track: How Schools Can Join the Twenty-First-Century Struggle Against Resegregation. Beacon. Mar. 2014. 192p. notes. index. ISBN 9780807032978. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780807032985. ED

redstarDixie Redux: Essays in Honor of Sheldon Hackney. NewSouth. 2013. 528p. ed. by Raymond Arsenault & Orville Vernon Burton. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781588382979. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781603062756. ED


redstarGoldstone, Lawrence. Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle To Control the Skies. Ballantine. May 2014. 448p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780345538031. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780345538048. HIST

Jankowski, Paul. Verdun: The Longest Battle of the Great War. Oxford Univ. Feb. 2014. 336p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780199316892. $34.95. HIST

Man, John. Samurai: A History. Morrow. Mar. 2014. 336p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780062202673. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062202680. HIST

Richie, Alexandra. Warsaw 1944: Hitler, Himmler, and the Warsaw Uprising. Farrar. 2013. 725p. illus. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780374286552. $24. HIST

redstarStarr, S. Frederick. Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane. Princeton Univ. 2013. 800p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780691157733. $39.50. HIST

redstarSwidey, Neil. Trapped Under the Sea: One Engineering Marvel, Five Men, and a Disaster Ten Miles into the Darkness. Crown. Feb. 2014. 432p. notes. index. ISBN 9780307886729. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780307886743. HIST

Ward, Yvonne M. Censoring Queen Victoria: How Two Gentlemen Edited a Queen and Created an Icon. Oneworld. Apr. 2014. 224p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781780743639. $22.99; ebk. ISBN 9781780744285. HIST

We Called Him Rabbi Abraham: Lincoln and American Jewry; A Documentary History. Southern Illinois Univ. Jan. 2014. 528p. ed. by Gary Phillip Zola. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780809332922. $49.50; ebk. ISBN 9780809332939. HIST

Law & Crime

Byfield, Natalie P. Savage Portrayals: Race, Media, and the Central Park Jogger Story. Temple Univ. Jan. 2014. 242p. notes. index. ISBN 9781439906330. $94.50; pap. ISBN 9781439906347. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781439906354. LAW

Harper, Hill. Letters to an Incarcerated Brother: Encouragement, Hope, and Healing for Inmates and Their Loved Ones. Gotham. 2013. 400p. illus. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9781592407248. $27.50. CRIME

Medsger, Betty. The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI. Knopf. Jan. 2014. 592p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780307962959. $29.95. LAW

Rizzo, John. Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA. Scribner. Jan. 2014. 320p. index. ISBN 9781451673937. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781451673951. LAW

Political Science

Critchlow, Donald T. When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics. Cambridge Univ. 2013. 240p. photos. index. ISBN 9780521199186. $29.99. POL SCI

Domhoff, G. William. The Myth of Liberal Ascendancy: Corporate Dominance from the Great Depression to the Great Recession. Paradigm. 2013. 309p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781612052564. pap. $28.95. POL SCI

redstarHertenstein, Matthew. The Tell: The Little Clues That Reveal Big Truths About Who We Are. Basic: Perseus. 2013. 256p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780465031658. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780465069880. PSYCH

Matthews, Michael D. Head Strong: How Psychology Is Revolutionizing War. Oxford Univ. Jan. 2014. 288p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780199916177. $29.95. PSYCH

Travel & Geography

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014. Lonely Planet. 2013. 224p. illus. maps. index. ISBN 9781743217283. pap. $14.99. TRAV

Lynch, Brendan. City of Writers: From Behan to Wilde—The Lives and Homes of Dublin Authors. Liffey. 2013. 284p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9781908308450. pap. $29.95. TRAV

Weber, Bruce. Life Is a Wheel: Love, Death, Etc., and a Bike Ride Across America. Scribner. Mar. 2014. 352p. photos. ISBN 9781451695014. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781451695038. TRAV

Whittle, Jamie. White River: A Journey Up and Down the River Findhorn. Sandstone. 2013. 224p. notes. ISBN 9781908737236. pap. $16.95;

ebk. ISBN 9781908737243. TRAV

Success in Failure

therise013114Lewis, Sarah. The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery. ­S. & S. Mar. 2014. 288p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781451629231. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781451629255. PSYCH

Successful people may live a life of fame, fortune, and glamour but may have experienced failure to get where they are now. Art curator Lewis (photography & painting dept., Yale Univ. Sch. of Art) contends that one must experience failure to achieve success. She interviews various luminaries to understand the challenges they faced to get where they are today. Interviewees include choreographer Paul Taylor, Arctic explorer Ben Saunders, psychologist Angela Duckworth, and film executive and Hollywood Black List creator Franklin Leonard. Through extensive research, Lewis also discusses the lives of Samuel F.B. Morse and Frederick Douglass. Lewis selects conversations and research from diverse people, past and present, and from various professions to argue that everyone, regardless of career choice, experiences failure and success. In this way, she analyzes their courage, perseverance, and creative practice. VERDICT A well-written book that examines creativity, failure, and success. Recommended for anyone who wants to comprehend the value of innovation and discovery, as well as undergraduate and graduate students, scholars, and researchers of psychology, sociology, and the visual and performing arts.—Tina Chan, SUNY Oswego

McArdle, Megan. The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success. Viking. Feb. 2014. 320p. notes. index. ISBN 9780670026142. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698151499. PSYCH

Columnist McArdle (Bloomberg View; author, Asymmetrical Information blog; the Economist; the Daily Beast/Newsweek) offers a substantial analysis of how to gain inspiration from failure. Her counterintuitive view is that defeat is an experience that can reveal worthy insights and that success cannot be achieved simply by not failing. Drawing on a variety of research from such fields as psychology, medicine, anthropology, social psychology, economics, and business, she presents a lively discussion about the fundamentals of failure, the culture of nonsuccess in free markets, how high-risk takers deal with inadequacy, what medical trauma teams can teach about imperfection, business crises, addictive behaviors, classic American attitudes toward blame for failure and the accompanying punishment, with a sobering view of forgiveness. Blended throughout are the author’s own experiences. While McArdle is not suggesting that American business commit to defeat in order to learn, her ideas do provide an absorbing and valuable understanding of how to maximize positive outcomes of what might otherwise be wasted learning opportunities. VERDICT Focused on organizations and businesses, McArdle’s analysis nicely complements the individual focus found in Ryan Babineaux and John Krumboltz’s Fail Fast, Fail Often: How Losing Can Help You Win. Highly recommended for all libraries supporting business and the human sciences curriculum. [See Prepub Alert, 8/12/13.]—Dale Farris, Groves, TX

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