Livres en sciences sociales: comptes rendus (sept. 2011) (2)

Source: Library Journal, 15/09/2011

Si vous souhaitez suggérer l’achat d’un ou plusieurs ouvrages à la BSPO, une seule adresse:

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Information et communication

Fahs, Alice. Out on Assignment: Newspaper Women and the Making of Modern Public Space. Univ. of North Carolina. Nov. 2011. c.400p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780807834961. $37.50. COMM
Although written by an academic for academics, this study of the turn-of-the-20th-century newspaper business and its women practitioners is an accessible cultural history. In seven chapters covering such topics as the personalities of women newspaper writers, the style and impact of papers’ popular “women’s pages” and human interest stories, and how women writers undertook “stunt” journalism and travel adventures, Fahs (history, Univ. of California, Irvine; The Imagined Civil War: Popular Literature of the North & South, 1861–65) combines quotations from the journalists (from the well-known Nellie Bly to the more obscure, e.g., Margherita Hamm) with primary research and scholarly citations. In discussing how these trendsetters wrote about themselves as “bachelor girls” and adventurers, Fahs also explores how they led the way to women’s suffrage and modern ideas of feminism. VERDICT Readers with an interest in media history as well as in women’s studies will find this to be an enjoyable and character-driven scholarly book, although its academic style may render it a bit dry for the general history reader.—Sarah Statz Cords, The Reader’s Advisor Online


Bates, Suzanne. Discover Your CEO Brand: Secrets to Embracing and Maximizing Your Unique Value as a Leader. McGraw-Hill. Oct. 2011. c.221p. ISBN 9780071762861. $25. BUS
Are you doing everything possible to brand yourself as a successful CEO does? Executive coach Bates (Speak Like a CEO) encourages readers to know and tell their stories, leverage their activities for maximum efficiency and visibility, surround themselves with a strong team, and utilize social media effectively. In example-heavy chapters (from perennial business book favorite Jack Welch to Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bono), Bates addresses numerous aspects of creating a leadership brand. She writes serviceably well, and her chapters contain workbooklike exercises and summaries, but the book still feels long on anecdote and short on technique. The most useful chapter is one of “fast-track tips,” although even they seem more about making a good impression and effective communication than actual brand creation. VERDICT Bates clearly knows how to leverage her own brand by emphasizing image and communication, but branding itself has already been covered by bigger names such as Tom Peters (The Brand You 50) and Dan Schawbel (Me 2.0) and is becoming a tired subject.—Sarah Statz Cords, The Reader’s Advisor Online

The Future of Money. Transworld, dist. by Trafalgar Square. 2011. c.400p. ed. by Oliver Chittenden. index. ISBN 9780753522042. pap. $15.95. ECON
Chittenden, who has worked for the London Speaker Bureau, here gathers ruminations on the recent financial crisis and the crippling recession that has followed. The 40 contributors include such luminaries as Hernando de Soto, F.W. de Klerk, and Muhammad Yunus. Together the essays agree on the causes of the crisis, forming consensus around the pivotal nature of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and the loss of trust in the financial markets. In a particularly biting passage, Richard Koo argues that events immediately following the failure of Lehman were “the most unfortunate and unnecessary suffering brought about by the incompetence, if not arrogance, of U.S. policy makers.” One wonders, though, whether the confidence of some writers in their diagnosis will appear premature, given the debate that rages to this day over the causes of the Great Depression. The chapters discussing our economic present and future offer less unity of opinion and cover the well-trod ground of climate change, population issues, and the role of market regulation. With a handy appendix of short profiles of the contributors. VERDICT Chittenden gathers valuable insight from important thinkers in a variety of fields. The book’s organizational scheme will be attractive to readers who prefer to examine evidence and draw their own conclusions.— Steve Wilson, Dayton Metro Lib., OH

Heinberg, Richard. The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality. New Society. Sept. 2011. 336p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780865716957. pap. $17.95. ECON
Heinberg (senior fellow-in-residence, Post Carbon Inst.; Blackout: Coal, Climate, and the Last Energy Crisis) contends that new economic growth, the ostensible solution to the current global recession, is impossible to achieve. He argues that high levels of public and private debt make new borrowing (necessary to fund growth) difficult and that any deleveraging of the current debt would also inhibit growth. Discounting possible ameliorating effects of efficiency and innovation, Heinberg warns that the increasing scarcity and cost of energy, water, food, and minerals as well as the environment’s fragile condition will be a further constraint on future growth. While he admits that isolated growth has continued to occur, he believes that even fast-growing economies like China’s will ultimately slow. He cautions that an end to growth portends heightened geopolitical and demographic competition but offers hope that the world can build a new economy based on sustainability and self-­restraint. VERDICT Clearly written and argued with excellent graphs and taking account of recent events, Heinberg’s contrarian view on growth is highly recommended to all readers interested in economics, sustainability, and future trends.—Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA

Huddleston, Pat. The Vigilant Investor: A Former SEC Enforcer Reveals How To Fraud-Proof Your Investments. AMACOM: American Management Assn. Oct. 2011. c.256p. index. ISBN 9780814417508. $24.95. BUS
Every year “Americans lose $40 billion…to investment fraud,” an amount, Huddleston (CEO, Investor’s Watchdog) argues, that is more than any agency can monitor. It’s up to individual investors, then, to protect themselves and their investments by remaining on the lookout for con artists. Huddleston divides his discussion into two parts, the first focusing on the types of fraud one may encounter, and the second focusing specifically on the U.S. securities industry. With a variety of examples and stories of real people, he considers archetypal con artists and shows how investors can avoid their traps. Particularly valuable is the chapter that breaks down the alphabet soup of designations used by financial advisers and other money managers and details the obligations of these professionals to the investor. ­VERDICT A great addition to the bookshelf of any investor. Huddleston’s examples help simplify these complex issues, and the “Due Diligence for the Vigilant” sections at the end of each chapter provide a quick summary and key takeaways for easy use.—­Elizabeth Nelson, UOP Lib., Des Plaines, IL

Pomfret, Richard. The Age of Equality: The Twentieth Century in Economic Perspective. Belknap: Harvard Univ. Oct. 2011. c.296p. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780674062177. $28.95. ECON
This in-depth history examines economic growth over two centuries from a global perspective, outlining relationships between economic perspectives, governmental policymaking, monetary systems, marketplaces, wars, and cyclic events, such as inflations and recessions. The 19th century is referred to as the “age of liberty,” because both countries and individuals had great freedom to pursue profit. Pomfret (economics, Univ. of Adelaide, Australia; Regionalism in East Asia) argues that it was also marked by great inequalities between rich and poor on the national and personal levels. The 20th century, the author explains, was characterized by the rise and collapse of central government planning and a trend toward a more balanced distribution of income between rich and poor countries and people. Especially interesting is Pomfret’s discussion of the history of the gold standard and its relationship to economic growth and equality, which is relevant in light of the current economic climate. The book is complemented by a glossary and an extensive notes and references section. VERDICT Because of its academic approach, this work is suitable for scholarly research and for readers with a background and interest in economic history. Recommended.—Caroline Geck, M.L.S., Newark, NJ

Sciences politiques

Ballen, Ken. Terrorists in Love: The Real Lives of Islamic Radicals. Free Pr: S. & S. Oct. 2011. c.288p. index. ISBN 9781451609219. $25. INT AFFAIRS
Ballen (founder, Terror Free Tomorrow), a former federal prosecutor whose nonpartisan organization strives to understand extremism, interviewed over 100 Islamic radicals who left jihadism behind. In this book, he shares the stories of six of them, including an al-Qaeda suicide bomber who survived and became pro-American. Ballen is adept at getting to the heart of what motivates each individual, and he believes that to bridge the gap between Muslim extremists and the Western world we have to understand each other’s core beliefs. The life stories told by these Muslim extremists are often brutal and alarming. Ballen discovers some underlying themes that weave the stories together, such as an all-consuming religious fervor, a previous sense of isolation, and a desire to be something bigger than oneself. He somehow manages to make us fathom how these six men came to hold their beliefs, before life events turned them away from jihad. VERDICT The tenth anniversary of 9/11 will bring added attention to this book, which delves into such related issues as the Taliban leadership, al-Qaeda funding, and what these groups are planning to try next. For all readers following these current events or interested in this approach to the study of Islamic radicals.—Krista Bush, Shelton Public Schs., CT

Carle, Glenn L. The Interrogator. Nation: Perseus. 2011. c.336p. index. ISBN 9781568586731. $26.99. INT AFFAIRS
In was late summer 2002 when Carle was offered a career-changing assignment—the type a CIA officer spends his or her career yearning for. He was asked to participate in the interrogation of a detainee called CAPTUS who was considered a High Value Target (HVT) connected with al-Qaeda. As Carle builds an odd relationship with CAPTUS, it becomes clearer to him that CAPTUS is not the HVT the U.S. government believed. Despite his misgivings, outlined in cables to superiors, Carle had to intensify his interrogations. Carle spends much of the book soul-searching, weighing his belief in duty to his country against his moral obligations to another human. ­VERDICT Despite considerable CIA redactions of this text, readers will find a frightening picture of what has been taking place behind the scenes in the so-called war on terror, including incompetence, secrecy, and corruption. A well-written and highly engaging story.—Patti C. McCall, Pratt Inst. Lib., Brooklyn, NY


Doctorow, Cory. Context: Further Selected Essays on Productivity, Creativity, Parenting, and Politics in the 21st Century. Tachyon, dist. by IPG. Oct. 2011. c.240p. ISBN 9781616960483. pap. $14.95. SOC SCI
Canadian blogger, sf novelist, and copyright activist Doctorow writes about issues near and dear to librarians’ hearts in this collection of essays on topics from the damage censorship does to schools to the complications of digital-rights management. Drawing from blog entries and columns he wrote for the Guardian and Publishers Weekly, the book presents 44 short pieces that could be sound bites. He’s not afraid to use his experience in the worlds of programming and, more recently, publishing as kindling to fuel his arguments, and essays such as the pointed and irreverent “Why I Won’t Buy an iPad (And Think You Shouldn’t Either)” are highlights. The writing is full of practical advice for those grappling with writing and self-publishing or simply trying to keep their email inbox neat. Formal subject divisions would have made the book easier to navigate. VERDICT A good introduction to Doctorow, the volume collects his most recent work and will be of interest to a wide audience: anyone who teaches, reads sf, follows tech news, or wonders why one can’t read the same books on a Kindle as on a Nook.—Kate Gray, New York

Hill, Anita. Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home. Beacon, dist. by Random. Oct. 2011. c.224p. index. ISBN 9780807014370. $25.95. SOC SCI
In the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis, Hill (social policy, law, & women’s studies, Brandeis Univ.; Speaking Truth to Power), who became famous overnight 20 years ago for speaking of sexual harassment in the Clarence Thomas hearing (not mentioned in this book), here writes compellingly on the topic of home and just what it means in America. In an approach that is both sweeping and engaging, Hill examines the role of gender and race in access to housing and the accompanying opportunities. She brings to bear her considerable skills as a scholar—the slim volume is chockablock with relevant case law and trenchant arguments regarding social policy—while invigorating her scholarship with compelling narratives from her own family’s history, from the lives and work of important historical figures (from Abigail Adams to Nannie Helen Burroughs and Ida B. Wells), and from contemporary American women affected by the housing crisis. VERDICT Serious readers of all kinds, especially those interested in current affairs and social policy, will appreciate a book that is both highly readable and deeply analytical.—Rachel Bridgewater, Reed Coll. Lib., OR

Locke, John L. Duels and Duets: Why Men and Women Talk So Differently. Cambridge Univ. Oct. 2011. c.241p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780521887137. $28. SOC SCI
Some readers may ask why, after the publication of such popular books as Deborah Tannen’s You Just Don’t Understand (1990) and John Gray’s Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus (1990), we need another book on this topic. Because it’s been a generation since those came out. Locke (linguistics, Lehmann Coll., CUNY; Eavesdropping: An Intimate History) acknowledges the contributions of these earlier works while pointing out that they provided “no formal account of the reasons why men and women use language differently in the first place.?? He rejects explanations of men’s and women’s different speech patterns based on learning and culture, preferring evolutionary need as the basis for why men verbally spar while women harmonize. VERDICT Specialists in the field may be more willing to tackle this scholarly treatment than general readers, who might find more useful, everyday ideas about how to be verbally facile (with any gender) in Daniel Menaker’s A Good Talk: The Story and Skill of Conversation.—Ellen D. Gilbert, Princeton, NJ

Sharlet, Jeff. Sweet Heaven When I Die: Faith, Faithlessness, and the Country in Between. Norton. 2011. c.256p. ISBN 9780393079630. $24.95. SOC SCI
Individually provocative but collectively a bit frustrating, this loosely linked gathering of essays, many originally published in magazines, explores faith—or more precisely, it explores, in various intimate, keenly observed ways, human responses to the human condition. Sharlet (The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power) writes about Cornel West, Yiddish writer Chava Rosenfarb, and evangelist to teens Ron Luce, but also about private citizens and Sharlet’s friends in the throes of loss or crisis. He discusses slain activist Brad Will as mourned by his conservative parents, New Age spirituality through the lens of real estate “cleanser” Sondra Shaye, and, curiously, Clear Channel’s appropriation of radio and live concert culture. VERDICT No preface is included, so unless a reader starts with the introspective final essay and works backward, the subtitle is the only indication of the collection’s theme. Several essays seem only very tenuously connected to the subject of religious belief and unbelief. But each is compelling on its own and evocatively written, if part of a highly eclectic collection. A good choice for connoisseurs of the personal essay. [See Prepub Alert, 2/7/11.]—Janet Ingraham Dwyer, State Lib. of Ohio, Columbus

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