Livres en sciences sociales: comptes rendus (oct. 2011)

Source: Library Journal, 01/10/2011

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Information et communication

Nessen, Ron. Making the News, Taking the News: From NBC to the Ford White House. Wesleyan Univ. 2011. 272p. photogs. ISBN 9780819571564. $27.95. COMM
The politics of the 1960s–70s come to life in Nessen’s recounting of the first 15 years of his journalism career from 1962 to 1977. As a reporter for NBC, he had a front row seat for many events, including the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. In the early 1970s, he was assigned to NBC’s Washington Bureau and became one of the “nattering nabobs of negativity” covering the Nixon White House. When Gerald Ford succeeded Nixon, he chose Nessen to serve as his press secretary. Nessen’s insider account of White House operations, covering the personalities and inside maneuvering of individuals whose names are still familiar, such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, illustrates how the Ford presidency floundered. He intersperses reflections on his personal life and failures with the story of his career. VERDICT Political junkies will love the details about the White House personalities and operations under Ford, and journalists and journalism scholars will appreciate Nessen’s reflections on the role and power of reporting (his inclusion of personal confessions is less successful and seems strained at times).—Judy Solberg, Seattle Univ. Lib.

Economie

Dillian, Jared. Street Freak: Money and Madness at Lehman Brothers. Touchstone: S. & S. 2011. c.368p. ISBN 9781439181263. $26. BUS
Writing in a kind of gonzo journalism style, Dillian recounts his years as an exchange-traded funds (ETF) trader at Lehman Brothers, beginning just before 9/11 and ending with the firm’s implosion in September 2008. While his book adds nothing to the literature of excess that documents the testosterone-driven, juvenile, and frequently grotesque corporate culture of Wall Street, two angles serve to differentiate this from similar titles. One is the author’s detailed descriptions of his work; the multimillion-dollar fluctuations in his profit and loss statements offer readers vicarious thrills, and the intricacies of big-league trading will fascinate financial voyeurs. The other is Dillian’s personal story, interwoven through his chronicle of victories on the trading floor, of his downward spiral into alcoholism and mental illness. He is diagnosed with bipolar disorder and spends a short time in a psychiatric ward before returning to work. VERDICT Dillian’s book will appeal the most to hard-core trading junkies or those who seek a comprehensive view of the post-9/11, pre-crisis Wall Street.—Steve Wilson, Dayton Metro Lib., OH

Isdell, Neville with David Beasley. Inside Coca-Cola: A CEO’s Life Story of Building the World’s Most Popular Brand. St. Martin’s. Nov. 2011. c.272p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780312617950. $25.99. BUS
In an old-school autobiography documenting a lifelong career at a single company (an ever-rarer phenomenon), Isdell begins with his birth in Ireland and ends with his retirement in Barbados. He grew up in colonial Zambia (Northern Rhodesia), went to university, married and started a family, and was hired by a Johannesburg Coke bottler. From there he rose through the Coca-Cola ranks, moving from South Africa to the Philippines then on to Germany, Russia, and India. His book details the high and low points of a varied career that culminated when Isdell was pulled out of retirement to become CEO of the faltering Coca-Cola in 2004. By the time of his second retirement, in 2009, the company had rebounded to its current position of strength. In a business autobiography that is more personal and chatty than most, the author’s family and private life and opinions are mentioned as frequently as the ins and outs of his corporate dealings. VERDICT Reading this book is much like listening to your grandfather tell his life story—if he were a CEO. It will appeal to readers interested in Coke in particular or classic corporate autobiographies in general.—Susan Hurst, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH

Morrison, Terri & Wayne A. Conaway. Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands: Sales and Marketing: The Essential Cultural Guide—from Presentations and Promotions to Communicating and Closing. McGraw-Hill. Nov. 2011. c.288p. ISBN 9780071714044. pap. $20. BUS
This latest in the “Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands” series is designed for sales and marketing people who frequently travel and do business with companies around the world. It covers countries on all seven continents, and individual country profiles cover such topics as population, median age, legal drinking age, descriptions of popular advertisements, the structure of the work week, how promptly one should arrive at meetings, what behaviors are considered polite and impolite, how much physical space to give another person, appropriate greetings and body language, good conversational icebreakers, when to give out business cards, the best ways to make a sale, and key language phrases and words. Readers are advised to arrive early for business meetings in Japan, to have business cards with Portuguese on one side and English on the other in Brazil, and never to show annoyance when someone is smoking nearby in Argentina—which along with Chile has the highest smoking rate in South America. VERDICT This resource is full of clear explanations and practical advice and will be appreciated by businesspeople preparing for a trip overseas and by students of business who anticipate travel in their futures.—Lucy T. Heckman, St. John’s Univ. Lib., Jamaica, NY

Torrenzano, Richard & Mark Davis. Digital Assassination: Protecting Your Reputation, Brand, or Business Against Online Attacks. St. Martin’s. Nov. 2011. c.304p. index. ISBN 9780312617912. $25.99. BUS
Torrenzano (chief executive, Torrenzano Group) and Davis (former White House speechwriter) discuss how various Internet tools are being used by digital maligners to harm reputations and perform character assassinations. The authors explain how anyone can tap into social media or access other inexpensive tools to mount an electronic onslaught, severely altering the digital reputation of a person or a company. They argue that the dark side of human behavior, not technology, is the driving factor behind this phenomenon and outline seven forms the attacks can take. They also provide strategies, tactics, and keystrokes to help blunt and reverse malicious attacks. VERDICT Expanding on Andy Beal and Judy Strauss’s Radically Transparent and nicely supplementing Michael Fertik and David Thompson’s Wild West 2.0, the ample anecdotes in this book illustrate how the web’s anonymity and interconnectedness can be subverted for destructive purposes. Essential reading for business people and anyone interested in information technology. Highly recommended.—Dale Farris, Groves, TX

Sciences politiques

Cortright, David. Ending Obama’s War: Responsible Military Withdrawal from Afghanistan. Paradigm. 2011. 156p. index. ISBN 9781594519840. $24.95. INT AFFAIRS
Cortright (policy, Univ. of Notre Dame; Towards Nuclear Zero) is a well-known peace scholar. Using the principles underlying the just war doctrine, he discusses the reasons offered for initiating and continuing military action in Afghanistan but finds all reasons wanting. The 9/11 attacks were committed by a nonstate actor, the conflict is not winnable, and the military is not the appropriate agency to deliver development assistance, according to this analysis. On no point does he find the conflict justified. He favors U.S. troop withdrawals on the announced schedule, followed by a reconciliation process and continued development assistance under international auspices. The status of women in Afghanistan is covered in depth, and Cortright concludes that some improvements have occurred in their living conditions but that there is a great need for continuing improvement. Other books such as Bob Woodward’s Obama’s Wars cover the advice provided to the administration or the military dimension only. VERDICT Much of the material here will be unfamiliar to readers who only casually follow the topic. Some will be put off by the heavy criticism of U.S. policy, but thoughtful readers of the news will find this provocative. —Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York

Robin, Corey. The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin. Oxford Univ. Oct. 2011. c.304p. index. ISBN 9780199793747. $29.95. POL SCI
This volume is a collection of Robin’s (political science, Brooklyn Coll.; Fear: The History of a Political Idea) essays, reviews, and other short works published between 2001 and 2011 in outlets such as the Nation and the London Review of Books. While his previous book was an original, extended argument about the place of fear in political theory and contemporary American culture, here Robin attempts to deliver his argument in his introduction and conclusion, which bookend pieces ranging in subject from Ayn Rand to Antonin Scalia to the Cold War in Guatemala to Abu Ghraib. The overall argument seems to be that conservatives are all basically alike; that they share an aggrieved sense of loss; that they above all else favor hierarchy in both public and private domains; that they share an affinity for violence; and that the Right often comes to resemble the Left. VERDICT The book’s brief, miscellaneous sections mean that readers may well find the arguments difficult to follow and may prefer to wait to read it in full, perhaps in Robin’s next monograph. They may well also conclude that the subtitle’s mention of Sarah Palin, about whom Robin says little, is a contribution from the publisher’s marketing department.—Bob Nardini, Nashville

Roy, Arundhati. Walking with the Comrades. Penguin. Nov. 2011. c.240p. illus.
ISBN 9780143120599. pap. $15. INT AFFAIRS
This short book of three pieces by novelist and essayist Roy focuses on the current home-grown war in India between the Maoists and the government. The indigenous tribes (tribals) living in the states that make up central India are being dispossessed of their lands and culture; ways of life are being destroyed in the name of progress. The rich mineral resources of this region have attracted memoranda of understanding (MOUs) from greedy corporations. Roy sees collusion between the mining corporations and the reigning political party and claims that media analyses of the insurgency serve only to “smoke up the mirrors.” Her sympathies lie with the Maoists, who she feels are the only party that has made common cause with the tribals. While she thumbs her nose at the state, Roy admits that “the discipline of armed struggle can dissolve into lumpen acts of criminalized violence.” VERDICT Roy’s book is a one-sided but absorbing and eye-opening read. Phrases like “thousand star hotel,” for sleeping under the stars, will delight fans of her Booker-winning novel, The God of Small Things. Expect demand from Roy fans.—Ravi Shenoy, Naperville P.L., IL

Thant Myint-U. Where China Meets India: Burma and the New Crossroads of Asia. Farrar. 2011. c.320p. maps. index. ISBN 9780374299071. $27. INT AFFAIRS
Interweaving the history and geography of Burma (Myanmar) with a travel memoir, Thant (The River of Lost Footsteps: A Personal History of Burma) narrates the compelling story of his journey through this rapidly evolving region rich in culture and heritage. Since the earliest days of China and India, parts of each nation and Burma have made up an expansive frontier that stretches across the Himalayas, made up of jungle, hostile tribes, and remote inland kingdoms. The book reveals that, since World War II, as Burma’s once impenetrable land of forests and roads has been replaced by shopping malls, cosmopolitan cities, and a modernized economy, this region of many cultures and religions has experienced a tectonic shift. Examining Burma from its days as a colony to its current status as a modern nation-state, Thant reveals just how important this small nation has become to China and India as they position themselves for supremacy in the 21st century. VERDICT A highly readable and entertaining foray into the complex history of this ancient land, this book will be of interest to lovers of history and travel writing.—Allan Cho, Univ. of British Columbia Lib., Vancouver

Sociologie

Robbins, Catherine C. All Indians Do Not Live in Teepees (or Casinos). Univ. of Nebraska. Oct. 2011. c.408p. illus. index. ISBN 9780803239739. pap. $26.95. SOC SCI
Despite the unfortunately misleading title, this work is not intended to be a repudiation of stereotypes about contemporary Native Americans. Instead it chronicles the experiences of the author herself, a journalist, among numerous native groups, primarily in the U.S. Southwest. As a nonnative, Robbins does not pretend to be offering a native perspective. What she does offer is a celebration of how today’s Native Americans are revitalizing themselves and their communities in ways that honor their histories and cultures, while also staying grounded in the present. One example is the medical practice of Tieraona Low Dog, who combines the traditional medicine taught to her by her Lakota grandmother with medical training completed at the University of New Mexico to provide the best possible course of treatment for her patients. VERDICT Robbins’s enlightening monograph on her explorations of the Native American experience in the 21st century complements Alison Owings’s recent Indian Voices: Listening to Native Americans, and both are recommended for lay and academic readers.—John Burch, Campbellsville Univ. Lib., KY

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