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

Source: Library Journal, 01/11/2011

Si vous souhaitez suggérer l’achat d’un ou plusieurs ouvrages à la BSPO, une seule adresse: http://www.uclouvain.be/232874.html

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Economie

Backhouse, Roger E. & Bradley W. Bateman. Capitalist Revolutionary: John Maynard Keynes. Harvard Univ. Nov. 2011. c.198p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780674057753. $25.95. ECON
Though Keynesian economics fell into disrepute with the rise of the Chicago School in the 1970s, rumors of its permanent demise have been greatly exaggerated. John Maynard Keynes is back! Backhouse (history & philosophy of economics, Univ. of Birmingham) and Bateman (economics, Denison Univ.) provide a useful context for the many policymakers, journalists, economists, and historians who have recently rediscovered, rehabilitated, or revived Keynes’s thought. The duo portray Keynes as a nontrivial personality who was in equal measure economist and moral philosopher, revolutionary and conservative. The brief volume flows with merciful grace through the particulars of Keynesian economic thought, interweaving historical, biographical, and technical details. The Keynes who emerges is not a one-dimensional deficit-spending proponent but a complex philosopher-economist who earnestly calls for perpetual revolution of capitalism to preserve this imperfect but best-available economic system. VERDICT While this book is recommended as a primer for students (and teachers) of economic history, it will also enlighten the general reader interested in the ongoing policy debates of the post–great recession world.—Jekabs Bikis, Dallas Baptist Univ.

Bratton, William & Zachary Tumin. Collaborate or Perish!: Reaching Across Boundaries in a Networked World. Crown Business. Jan. 2012. c.288p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780307592392. $26. BUS
In this book about problem solving through collaboration, Bratton, former police chief of New York City, Boston, and Los Angeles, along with Tumin (John F. Kennedy Sch. of Government, Harvard), provides many successful examples of his philosophy in action taken from personal experience, international politics (e.g., the rescue of FARC-held hostages in Colombia), U.S. policy, industry, education, and health care. Inserted among these accounts are nuggets of commonsense information on, e.g., how to encourage and facilitate collaboration and ways to achieve buy-in from parties with divergent interests. These include ideas on “right-sizing,” or simplifying, problems; assembling teams; getting out of one’s “silo” (broadening one’s perspective); and building trust. There are lots of good ideas here, but—other than what can be gleaned from the anecdotes that make up the majority of the text—no real suggestions on how to implement them. VERDICT An engaging book filled with real-world examples of successful (and some failed) collaborations around the world but offering little new data or insight. Optional; purchase where there’s interest.—Susan Hurst, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH

Masaoka, Jan. The Nonprofit’s Guide to Human Resources: Managing Your Employees and Volunteers. Nolo. Nov. 2011. c.350p. index. ISBN 9781413313758. pap. $49.99. BUS
Employees of nonprofit organizations (and librarians) are not always aware of their workplace’s singular human resources (HR) needs. For example, the involvement of stipend volunteers and interns raises special questions about minimum wage laws. And consider that while all employers must follow nondiscrimination laws regarding people with disabilities, some nonprofits may have mission-related reasons to discriminate favorably toward hiring people with disabilities. Masaoka (editor in chief, Blue Avocado) helps nonprofit HR employees understand the legal particulars and create policies around these and many other issues, including salaries and benefits, supervision and team leadership, terminations and layoffs, and workplace safety. Each chapter has been reviewed by an adviser working in nonprofit HR and features real-life examples and exposes common myths. Readers will occasionally encounter sample forms, letters, and policies. VERDICT The major reference works for nonprofit organizations cover some of these topics but not to the extent discussed in this important work. Recommended.—Heidi Senior, Univ. of Portland Lib., OR

Pinkerton, Stewart. The Fall of the House of Forbes: The Inside Story of the Collapse of a Media Empire. St. Martin’s. 2011. c.320p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780312658595. $25.99. BUS
Pinkerton’s nearly 20 years at Forbes—the stalwart, almost iconic financial publication—affords him an insider’s perspective on the magazine’s rise and fall. Forbes was launched in 1917 by B.C. Forbes, a scrappy, ambitious Scottish immigrant who combined an innovative layout with content grounded in American capitalism. The Forbes family faced problems common for family-owned businesses—when not feuding among themselves, they tended to spend outrageous sums with little or no concern for the bottom line. It infected the company culture; employees frequently padded expense accounts or ignored soaring costs. Even more ominously, Forbes’s presence on the Internet was all but ignored. Rounds of inevitable layoffs and cutbacks reduced the once-proud magazine to a much diminished presence with questionable long-term viability. VERDICT Although Pinkerton is a solid journalist who deftly chronicles the magazine’s rise and fall, his finger-pointing seems at times to be less a search for truth than an opportunity to settle personal scores. Given how many family-owned media companies continue to publish, this is truly a compelling tale for our time. Recommended for all readers interested in media and journalism.—Richard S. Drezen, Brooklyn, NY

OrangeReviewStar.2(Original Import)Taylor, Timothy. The Instant Economist: Everything You Need To Know About How the Economy Works. Plume: Penguin Group (USA). Jan. 2012. c.272p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780452297524. pap. $16. ECON
Taylor’s (managing editor, Journal of Economic Perspectives) volume can help conversationalists looking to raise the bar for their watercooler chats and casual readers who want to understand better the current economic condition of the United States. Taylor uses simple language with field-specific vocabulary to explain economic concepts, and each concept is successfully reinforced with a real-life—and usually entertaining—example. He hits all the subjects that might interest a layperson, such as division of labor, supply and demand, wages, competition and monopoly, inflation, banking, and trade, for a total of 36 petite chapters—just enough information to give the reader a basic but well-rounded understanding of the subject. VERDICT This highly readable, nonpoliticized look at some of the economic principles that shape our society, presented in an engaging, anecdotal fashion, is highly recommended for armchair economists and anyone with a general interest in the state of our economy.—Poppy Johnson-Renvall, Central New Mexico Community Coll. Lib., Albuquerque

Sciences politiques

OrangeReviewStar.2(Original Import)Soufan, Ali H. with Daniel Freedman. The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda. Norton. 2011. 608p. ISBN 9780393079425. $26.95. INT AFFAIRS
This book stands out among the numerous books published on al-Qaeda because it provides information not found in other volumes; many have relied on Soufan’s information, at times anonymously, but none has offered all that is here. Soufan was the FBI’s most knowledgeable special agent dealing with al-Qaeda’s activities and became the source of the most useful actionable intelligence on this terrorist organization. As an interrogator with unique skills, Soufan gained firsthand, reliable information about many al-Qaeda operatives. What has been remarkable about the valuable information provided by Soufan to the FBI is that he obtained all of his data without resorting to torture and objected to the prevalent use of the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques that were devised during the George W. Bush administration. This absorbing book details accounts of Soufan’s treasure trove of data that he provided to the U.S. government well before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, some of which were ignored. VERDICT The best and most original book published in the West on al-Qaeda, this is highly recommended. (Although Soufan never worked for the CIA, the FBI submitted a draft of this book to the CIA, which redacted several sections. The CIA did not sign off on the index, which is why there is none.) [See Prepub Alert, 3/21/11.]—Nader Entessar, Univ. of South Alabama, Mobile

Sociologie

Yu Hua. China in Ten Words. Pantheon. Nov. 2011. c.240p. tr. from Chinese by Allan H. Barr. ISBN 9780307379351. $25.95. SOC SCI
Yu is one of contemporary China’s most celebrated but controversial writers. With much wit and elegance, he reminisces here in separate pieces (only one has been previously published) about his country’s experiences over the past several decades, using personal stories as well as a piercing, critical examination of China’s political, economic, and social transformation from what was essentially a Third World state into a superpower. Best known for his novels, e.g., Brothers, which satirize the country’s moral depredation and its devolution into a hypercapitalist society, Yu chooses ten phrases—“people,” “leader,” “reading,” “writing,” “Lu Xun,” “disparity,” “revolution,” “grassroots,” “copycat,” and “bamboozle”—that capture what he sees as China’s most pressing issues over the last 60 years. His commentary is wide and varied, touching on everything from the country’s severe economic and social disparity since the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s to his own rise from uneducated, small-town “teeth puller” to one of the most highly regarded writers of his time. VERDICT A marvelous book for those interested in contemporary China, by one of China’s foremost intellectuals.—Allan Cho, Univ. of British Columbia Lib., Vancouver

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

Source: Library Journal, 15/10/2011

Si vous souhaitez suggérer l’achat d’un ou plusieurs ouvrages à la BSPO, une seule adresse: http://www.uclouvain.be/232874.html

+ + +

Economie

Dahlvig, Anders. The IKEA Edge: Building Global Growth and Social Good at the World’s Most Iconic Home Store. McGraw-Hill. Dec. 2011. c.212p. ISBN 9780071777650. $26. BUS
Readers hoping this book chronicles the history of IKEA, the Swedish-based furniture company, will be disappointed. Other books—Elen Lewis’s Great IKEA! A Brand for All the People and Johan Stenebo’s The Truth About IKEA—better cover the story of the company. Rather, Dahlvig (former president and CEO, IKEA) wrote this book to “use IKEA as an example of good corporate citizenship.” Citing such business values as its vision statement (“to create a better everyday life for the majority of people”) and the benefits of having a strong owner with long-term perspective, he argues for IKEA-based business concepts at companies worldwide. Though Dahlvig makes a strong argument for IKEA’s values, he admits areas where the company could have done better, like obtaining all its wood from responsibly managed forests. Since his voice is the only one heard in this book, the arguments are all one-sided; including other IKEA employees’ voices would have only strengthened Dahlvig’s case. VERDICT Though excessively verbose at times, this volume is best for readers interested in what makes IKEA tick and those who want to learn more about ­general business principles.—Leigh Mihlrad, National Inst. of Health Lib., Bethesda, MD

Garon, Sheldon. Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves. Princeton Univ. Nov. 2011. c.480p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780691135991. $29.95. ECON
While Garon’s (history, Princeton; Molding Japanese Minds: The State in Everyday Life) study is comprehensive (with hundreds of notes and a large bibliography), his subtitle is slightly misleading. He explains savings programs in Western Europe and Southeast Asia but not why America spends. Although the U.S. government has not promoted savings as much as other nations have, the 1910 U.S. savings rates surpassed those of all other countries except Germany—a trend that changed after World War II. Garon examines the past two centuries of world history to determine “how rival cultures of savings and debt came to be.” Savings campaigns, some intrusive or compulsory, utilized advocacy groups, propaganda, patriotism, innovative institutions, and government incentives. Rationales were not always that “growing economies required savings for capital formation” but also that savings campaigns discouraged revolts and minimized welfare costs. However, some countries with government safety nets still have high savings rates. Garon provides five suggestions for increased rate of savings: easier bank access, government encouragement, tax incentives, youth programs, and more financial inclusion. VERDICT This book will prove most informative for social policy gurus, bankers, politicians, and economically minded citizens.—Joanne B. Conrad, Geneseo, NY

Horn, Tammy. Beeconomy: What Women and Bees Can Teach Us About Local Trade and the Global Market. Univ. Pr. of Kentucky. Nov. 2011. c.376p. bibliog. ISBN 9780813134352. $29.95. ECON
Horn (apiculture, Eastern Kentucky Univ.; Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation) finds her starting point in Egypt, with the first recorded instance of bees. The book then follows the migration of honey bees and the development of beekeeping from Africa to India, the rest of Asia, Europe, North America, Australia, and finally South America. Along the way, Horn covers the culture, religion, and history of each area as it relates to beekeeping and women’s roles in apiculture. Political and economic forces that affect women and apiculture in each country are traced in this quotation-heavy, densely footnoted text. Factual sidebars often give additional information on topics of interest. Women important to the development of beekeeping in their respective countries are also frequently highlighted. The book is at its most interesting when it addresses unusual or little-known facts about apiculture. VERDICT Best for those passionate about beekeeping or women’s rights; casual readers may find it a bit too technical and dry to take in.—Bonnie A. Tollefson, Cleveland Bradley Cty. P.L., TN

Gestion

OrangeReviewStar.2(Original Import)Wooldridge, Adrian. Masters of Management: How the Business Gurus and Their Ideas Have Changed the World—for Better and for Worse. HarperBusiness: HarperCollins. Dec. 2011. c.464p. index. ISBN 9780061771132. $29.99. BUS
Wooldridge and John Micklethwait’s 1996 history of management theory, The Witch Doctors, became a best seller lauded for its open-eyed analysis of prevailing methodology. Wooldridge (management editor, the Economist) has completely revised and updated the book to include events from the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s to the current recession. The core of the book is a solid examination of the effects of entrepreneurship, globalization, and the free-agency economy on corporate governance. Wooldridge offers a balanced look at how business schools have spawned a guru industry that offers a gamut of theories on learning, innovation, and strategy. Peter Drucker, Tom Peters, and the “Journo-Gurus” (Thomas Friedman, Malcolm Gladwell, and Chris Anderson) receive focused attention as the main influences in contemporary theory. VERDICT This is one of the best overviews of management theory in the 20th century. It is written in a clear and accessible style that will appeal to both MBA students and the general reader. Highly recommended.—John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll., Boston

Sciences politiques

Coyne, Amanda & Tony Hopfinger. Crude Awakening: Money, Mavericks, and Mayhemin Alaska. Nation: Perseus. Nov. 2011. c.288p. index. ISBN 9781568584478. $26.99. POL SCI
Politics is said to be a volatile, sticky, primordial, black muck. So is oil. Coyne and Hopfinger (cofounders, AlaskaDispatch) give us the rundown, via three particular Alaskans, on the murky politics of oil in Alaska, a state that refuses to tax its citizens, instead obtaining 80 percent of its revenue from its oil industry. Despite its image as a land of self-reliant folks à la Thoreau, Alaska is really the land of leveraging “other people’s money,” which, the authors argue, breeds thievery. The book portrays a gang of state legislators who jokingly called themselves the “Corrupt Bastards Club” happily accepting oil industry bribes and cozying to their sugar daddies. Bits of their story seeped into the national consciousness as background to the rise of Sarah Palin. The authors complete the canvas. Exposed by the FBI, down went U.S. Senator “Uncle Ted” Stevens and other kleptocrats—most to jail (Stevens was convicted, but the indictment was dropped because of prosecutorial misconduct). The alleged Stevens corruption catapulted Sarah Palin into the governor’s mansion as a reformer in 2006. VERDICT Ably and temperately told by authors who know Alaska (where this reviewer has lived), this is a valuable study to understanding the Last Frontier, the oil business, or Palin—particularly if she gets into the 2012 race.—Michael O. Eshleman, Kings Mills, OH

Schmidt, John R. The Unraveling: Pakistan in the Age of Jihad. Farrar. 2011. c.320p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780374280437. $27. INT AFFAIRS
Schmidt (Elliot Sch. for International Affairs, George Washington Univ.) traces the rise of radical Islam in Pakistan and analyzes its implications for regional and international security. The author served at the U.S. Department of State for 30 years, including a stint as a senior U.S. political analyst in Pakistan. He provides here a succinct history of Pakistan and examines, in highly readable and informative prose, how the country became a haven for jihadist groups and describes the genesis and development of those jihadist movements in Pakistan. He also explains how the current dangerous and complex relationship between the country’s leaders and the jihadists emerged. Although with U.S. support Pakistani leaders initially promoted jihadist movements as a tool against the Soviet Union and its occupation of Afghanistan as well as against their regional adversary India, Schmidt argues that this Machiavellian policy has now put Pakistan on the brink of disaster and has led to political uncertainty and instability in the region. He presents a number of what-if scenarios, e.g., what if the jihadists succeed in seizing power in Pakistan, and analyzes what the U.S. response should be. VERDICT Because of Schmidt’s years of inside foreign policy experience, his book contains distinct details and observations that outsiders writing cannot offer. Recommended to all serious readers interested in a policymaker’s perspective. —Nader Entessar, Univ. of South Alabama, Mobile

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

Source: Library Journal, 01/10/2011

Si vous souhaitez suggérer l’achat d’un ou plusieurs ouvrages à la BSPO, une seule adresse: http://www.uclouvain.be/232874.html

+ + +

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

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: http://www.uclouvain.be/232874.html

+ + +

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

Economie

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

Sociologie

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

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

(source: Library Journal, 01/09/2011)

Si vous souhaitez suggérer l’achat d’un ou plusieurs ouvrages à la BSPO, une seule adresse: http://www.uclouvain.be/232874.html

* * *

Information et communication

Phillips, Warren H. Newspaperman: Inside the News Business at the Wall Street Journal . McGraw-Hill. Sept. 2011. c.352p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780071776905. $30. COMM
For over a century, the Wall Street Journal has remained one of the most respected and informative sources of business and financial news throughout the world. One of the key figures behind the paper’s success, Phillips traces his career with the paper in a concise, well-crafted memoir. Beginning in 1947 as a reporter and retiring in 1992 as publisher and CEO of parent company Dow Jones & Company, he records his experiences from reporting in the field in post–World War II Europe to presiding over the paper’s profitable expansion into foreign markets to guiding the company through the transition into the digital era. He sprinkles his story with personal anecdotes and insights into the journalism profession. VERDICT Readers of “Greatest Generation” memoirs and biographies and journalism students will enjoy Phillips’s work. For a similar read, see Richard J. Tofel’s Restless Genius: Barney Kilgore, the Wall Street Journal, and the Invention of Modern Journalism.—Donna Marie Smith, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., FL

Economie

Holland, R. William. Cracking the New Job Market: The 7 Rules for Getting Hired in Any Economy. AMACOM: American Management Assn. 2011. c.256p. index. ISBN 9780814417348. pap. $17.95. BUS
In the new, competitive job market, many books on job hunting have recommended demonstrating one’s value, exploiting social media connections, and crafting careful interview strategies to gain employment. Holland, an HR and career management consultant, covers all of these in a clear, positive style and adds advice not often seen, on such topics as how parents can get their children started effectively and how to manage finances during unemployment. The chapter on résumé creation details a strategy for close reading of want ads and provides before and after examples, plus sample cover letters. In the chapter on negotiating benefits, Holland walks the reader through prioritizing wants and needs. The traditional face-to-face interview is amply covered, as are mealtime interviews, group competitions, telephone and video interviews, and hostile questions. VERDICT Three of the seven rules included here are about demonstrating or creating value—not exactly new ideas—but the content of this book deserves a second look. Recommended for public and academic career services collections.—Heidi Senior, Univ. of Portland, OR

Kaplan, Robert Steven. What To Ask the Person in the Mirror: Critical Questions for Becoming a More Effective Leader and Reaching Your Potential. Harvard Business Pr. 2011. c.288p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781422170014. $26.95. BUS
In this guide to developing and honing leadership skills, Kaplan (management practice, Harvard Business School; cochairman, Draper Richards Kaplan Fdn.; former vice chairman, Goldman Sachs) explains, “the critical premise of this book is that by knowing how and when to ask critical questions, a young professional as well as a senior leader can take greater ownership of his or her organization and career.” He focuses on seven basic areas for inquiry and self-evaluation: “Vision and Priorities,” “Managing Your Time,” “Giving and Getting Feedback,” “Succession Planning and Delegation,” “Evaluation and Alignment,” “The Leader as Role Model,” and “Reaching Your Potential.” In a final chapter, he discusses ways to make inquiry and self-evaluation a regular part of leadership activities. In the chapter on time management, appropriate questions to ask include, “Do I know how I spend my time?” and “Does it match my key priorities?” Kaplan follows these questions by analyzing the importance of effective time-management strategies and the establishment of priorities. Each chapter includes case studies and a list of suggested follow-up steps. VERDICT This is a practical book for students and others who wish to develop their leadership skills. Highly recommended.—Lucy Heckman, St. John’s Univ. Lib., Jamaica, NY

Moran, Richard A. Sins and CEOs: Lessons from Leaders and Losers That Will Change Your Career. Heliotrope. Sept. 2011. c.137p. ISBN 9780983294023. pap. $16.95. BUS
Moran (Never Confuse a Memo with Reality) here offers a collection of stories about leadership (successful and disastrous) culled from his work as a consultant and venture capitalist. The book identifies nine common character flaws exhibited by business leaders and shows how they affect corporations. Moran labels these flaws as sins and divides them into passive and active types. Each chapter focuses on a particular sin (cowardice or arrogance, for example) and is split into four sections. The first section is taken up with anecdotes about CEOs and managers who have committed the sin, followed by a list of temptations leading to that sin and a short section on how the culprits might change their actions (redemption). The final section contains the chapter’s main takeaway. VERDICT While the author’s reliance on religious terminology can become tiresome, the examples are entertaining as well as illustrative. Recommended, especially for those in business leadership positions, as they will identify with the characters in Moran’s anecdotes.—John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll., Boston

Sciences politiques

Gardner, Lloyd C. The Road to Tahrir Square: Egypt and the United States from the Rise of Nasser to the Fall of Mubarak. New Pr., dist. by Perseus. Oct. 2011. c.240p. index. ISBN 9781595587213. pap. $17.95. INT AFFAIRS
Gardner (history, Rutgers Univ.; The Long Road to Baghdad) is a well-known authority on the Middle East. His narrative here portrays Egypt as an essential actor in the region over the past 70 years, taking leading roles at the end of the British Mandate in Palestine and creation of Israel, as well as in several regional conflicts. While the United States was trying to define a new international role for itself at the end of World War II and into the Cold War, it was juggling the existing tensions and rivalries around Egypt. Successive U.S. administrations plied successive Egyptian rulers with both economic and military assistance, trying to develop a stable ally. The recently deposed leader Hosni Mubarak provided that stability for 30 years. VERDICT Gardner’s coverage is more in-depth for the earlier years of his focus, i.e., under President Nasser, and, in spite of the title’s implication, lighter for the past 15 years, but many titles on U.S.-Egypt relations cover relatively shorter periods (even William J. Burns’s Economic Aid and American Policy Toward Egypt, 1955–1981, which is considered relatively comprehensive). Informed readers will find this useful background to current headlines on a topic likely to persist well into the future.—Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York

Gerges, Fawaz A. The Rise and Fall of Al-Qaeda. Oxford Univ. Sept. 2011. c.272p. index. ISBN 9780199790654. $24.95.INT AFFAIRS
Gerges (director, Middle East Ctr., London Sch. of Economics; Journey of the Jihadist) argues that the U.S. military and foreign policy establishment are entangled within a “terrorism narrative” sustained by an inflated, distorted view of al-Qaeda’s operational capabilities and global reach, which he contends were drastically degraded even before Osama bin Laden’s death. The peaceful character of some recent revolutions in the Arab world appear to add weight to Gerges’s primary assertion, one of the major strands of this work, that al-Qaeda has long since lost any significant support or legitimacy, in part because of the indiscriminate slaughter of Muslims instigated by al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq, and that their ideology and tactics have been resoundingly rejected by large segments of the Arab populace. Gerges also focuses on al-Qaeda’s role in the increasing instability in Yemen and its influence on “homegrown” radicals in America. VERDICT A cogent examination of al-Qaeda’s historical trajectory that integrates major recent developments into its comprehensive analysis. This work will appeal to readers with an advanced grasp of Middle Eastern history and counterterrorism studies. It is not for general readers, although they may have seen Gerges speak accessibly as an expert on cable news.—Dennis J. Seese, American Univ. Lib., Washington, DC

Girardet, Edward. Killing the Cranes: A Reporter’s Journey Through Three Decades of War in Afghanistan. Chelsea Green. Sept. 2011. c.416p. illus. index. ISBN 9781603583428. $27.95. INT AFFAIRS
Girardet (Afghanistan: The Soviet War) has spent more than three decades as a war correspondent covering conflicts around the world, frequently in Afghanistan, starting with the Soviet invasion in 1979. Having lived on the ground reporting alongside the mujahideen, he offers a sobering perspective. These guerrilla fighters, with U.S. financial aid, ousted the Soviet-backed regime in 1992. They in turn were ousted by the Taliban. During his frequent trips inside Afghanistan, in many cases entering illegally at great personal risk, Girardet was nearly killed (when mistaken for Salman Rushdie) and had a number of personal encounters with al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden pre-9/11, unaware of the identity of the “tall Arab man” who was developing a hatred of the United States. VERDICT With his vast experience inside Afghanistan during different conflicts, Girardet presents strong evidence that foreign powers from the British to the Soviets to the Americans have all made the same mistakes by attempting to impose their own political models and values on a nation that does not fit into any Western mold. While this conclusion is hardly new, Girardet’s excellent work should be of particular interest to historians, foreign policy buffs, political scientists, and military personnel.—Robert Bruce Slater, Stroudsburg, PA

Starr, Paul. Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle Over Health Care Reform. Yale Univ. Oct. 2011. c.336p. index. ISBN 9780300171099. $28.50. POL SCI
Starr (sociology & public affairs, Princeton Univ.), who won the Pulitzer Prize almost 30 years ago for The Social Transformation of American Medicine, now recounts the long and largely unsuccessful fight to provide all Americans with health care. Early 20th-century progressives began the struggle, FDR tried halfheartedly during the New Deal, and even Richard Nixon supported national health care. Finally, a century later, President Obama, borrowing Mitt Romney’s individual mandate and leaving out the public option, passed health-care reform that doesn’t satisfy progressives and that socializes medicine, according to right-wing critics. Starr shows how the window of opportunity for health-care reform has opened several times in the last 100 years and how each time it has been slammed shut by powerful interests including the American Medical Association, big insurance companies, and the conservative politicians they support. Starr argues that the “protected public”—those with job-based insurance and recipients of government coverage—prevents major reform because enough Americans have some coverage to fear the consequences of change. VERDICT This is a must-read in order to understand why health-care reform has been and continues to be so difficult to achieve in America.—Duncan Stewart, Univ. of Iowa Libs., Iowa City

Sociologie

Harris-Perry, Melissa V. Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America. Yale Univ. Sept. 2011. c.392p. illus. index. ISBN 9780300165418. $28. SOC SCI
Harris-Perry (political science, Tulane Univ.; Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought) offers a fascinating academic discussion of barriers to African American women’s presence in American political culture. Central to her thesis is the democratic idea that an individual’s personal and national identity must be accurately recognized and named to permit full citizenship and pursuant political participation. She goes on to identify and analyze society’s rampant misrecognition of African American women and its insistence on viewing them within the narrow confines of stereotypes. The text includes examples of negative portrayals of African American women and Harris-Perry’s research on reportage on the impact of these portrayals. VERDICT This honest and unflinching display of the challenges to political participation in America offers readers little regarding strategies toward either overcoming or rectifying this situation. Further, when Harris-Perry draws the reader toward fictive parallels in which novelized African American women characters exhibit resilience while becoming the politicized embodiments of named stereotypes, the central issue becomes muddled. Recommended, nonetheless, for scholars and students of African American studies, feminism, political science, and American culture.—Jewell Anderson, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ. Lib., Savannah, GA

Oltuski, Alicia. Precious Objects: A Story of Diamonds, Family, and a Way of Life. Scribner. 2011. 368p. bibliog. ISBN 9781416545125. $24. SOC SCI
In this combination history, investigative report, and memoir, journalist Oltuski illuminates the secretive diamond industry from within. As the daughter of a Manhattan diamond dealer, Oltuski has access to the tightly knit community that handles most of the diamonds coming through the United States. She weaves together a broader history of the industry, such as the founding of the De Beers diamond company in South Africa and the more recent controversy over African “blood diamonds,” with personal stories of her family’s beginnings in the gem trade and her grandfather and father’s work in Manhattan’s 47th Street diamond district. She highlights the unexpected juxtaposition among the traditional, religious world of New York’s predominantly Jewish diamond dealers and the memorable characters, oddities of pricing and deal making, and threats of danger that are all endemic to the international diamond business. Only someone with Oltuski’s insider’s vantage point could provide such a comprehensive and colorful look at the many facets of a trade that has a broad public impact yet is largely hidden from view. VERDICT A distinctive and personal work that will captivate readers curious about the secret life of jewels.— Elizabeth L. Winter, Georgia Inst. of Tech. Lib., Atlanta

Livres en sciences sociales: comptes rendus (août 2011)

(source: Library Journal, 15/08/2011)

Si vous souhaitez suggérer l’achat d’un ou plusieurs ouvrages à la BSPO, une seule adresse: http://www.uclouvain.be/232874.html

Information et communication

Gibbs, Wolcott. Backward Ran Sentences: The Best of Wolcott Gibbs from The New Yorker. Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan.  Oct. 2011. c.688p. ed. by Thomas Vinciguerra. ISBN 9781608195503. pap. $22. COMM
Fans of The New Yorker will welcome this collection of pieces written by Gibbs spanning the late 1920s through the early 1950s. New York Times contributor Vinciguerra intends to rescue Gibbs from growing obscurity with his introductory biographical essay and careful selection of articles. Gibbs was versatile, serving as an editor in addition to contributing to “The Talk of the Town” and writing profiles, parodies, short stories, and theater criticism. Profiles include the obscure, like Miss Rita Ross, the eccentric cat lady who collected stray cats to deliver to the SPCA, as well as the more famous, such as presidential candidate Thomas Dewey. Gibbs’s wit shines through in the parodies, including one of “Yes, Virginia…,” in which he portrays Santa Claus as a communist. In a foreword, P.J. O’Rourke provides his own parody of Gibbs. VERDICT Readers who enjoy the style and wit of The New Yorker will love this collection. It is easy to dip into for the perfect piece, and the large selection will satisfy.—Judy Solberg, Seattle Univ. Lib.

Levine, Robert. Free Ride: How Digital Parasites Are Destroying the Culture Business, and How the Culture
Business Can Fight Back. Doubleday. Oct. 2011. c.320p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780385533768. $26.95. COMM
Don’t have a subscription to HBO or Netflix but want to see an episode of True Blood? Just download it. What’s the harm, right? Levine (former executive editor, Billboard) details how—beyond issues of morality—the illegal distribution of cultural products like television shows and music seriously impacts the economic and cultural underpinnings of society. His focus, though, is not on the average consumer who downloads the latest U2 song but on websites that illegally share or sell these copyrighted works. Similar to Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture, Levine’s extensively researched work illustrates how digital piracy undermines artistic creativity and the economy. Furthermore, he offers solid ideas on how artists and businesses can work together to provide timely and inexpensive ways for consumers to obtain the product they want when they want it. VERDICT For anyone interested in trends in Internet usage, copyright law, and mass media and society. [See Prepub Alert, 4/11/11.]—Donna Marie Smith, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., FL

Economie

Birchard, Bill. Merchants of Virtue: Herman Miller and the Making of a Sustainable Company. Palgrave Macmillan. Sept. 2011. c.256p. index. ISBN 9780230106604. $28. BUS
Herman Miller is best known for its iconic office furniture, which graces the galleries of the world’s modern art museums. But business journalist and former Enterprise magazine editor Birchard reveals a lesser-known side of the company: long before environmentalism was trendy in big business, founder D.J. De Pree committed Herman Miller to environmental stewardship. Though his contemporaries may have thought he was off his rocker, his environmental initiatives were no less visionary than his hiring of brilliant designers like Gilbert Rohde and Charles Eames. Herman Miller’s story reads like a lexicon of nearly every business buzzword of the last half-century: participative management (starting in the 1950s), lean manufacturing (taught by a Toyota guru), sustainability, economic value added, financial literacy of employees, and a dozen other concepts pioneered by this company. Along the way, the firm garnered accolades as a leader in the corporate environmental and social responsibility movements. VERDICT While manufacturing may be a dying art in the United States, this book illustrates how one company can do well by its shareholders, employees, society, and the environment—and still turn heads with its products. Herman Miller’s sustainable sojourn is a remarkable story, capably told.—Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin Libs., Whitewater

Harper, Hill. The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in Its Place. Gotham: Penguin Group (USA). Aug. 2011. c.304p. bibliog.  ISBN 9781592406500. $26. ECON
When personal health is compromised, it naturally prompts a reevaluation of life goals. This is the impetus and concept behind CSI: NY actor Harper’s (Letters to a Young Brother) latest work. With happiness as a new priority, he investigates how to free oneself from the chains of materialism and the quest for wealth to focus on more important objectives such as personal satisfaction. To cure the sometimes frenetic pursuit of wealth, Harper successfully applies the regimen that was used to treat his illness: diagnose, treat, comply, maintain, thrive. He provides tangible ways for people to prioritize their own goals and refocus their lives. VERDICT While some of the author’s anecdotes make one wonder whether he truly comprehends the position of privilege from which he speaks, his pragmatic advice would be generally beneficial to society. A comparable work is Laura Rowley’s Money and Happiness: A Guide To Living the Good Life. This is an inspirational read for those interested in financial self-help and freedom, with a little celebrity auto­biography sprinkled in. [See Prepub Alert, 3/21/11.]— Poppy Johnson-Renvall, Central New Mexico Community Coll. Lib., Albuquerque

Hoopes, James. Corporate Dreams: Big Business in American Democracy from the Great Depression to the Great Recession. Rutgers Univ. Oct. 2011. c.224p. illus. index. ISBN 9780813551302. $24.95. BUS
Hoopes (business ethics, Babson Coll.; Hail to the CEO: George W. Bush and the Failure of Moral Leadership) throws his hat into the crowded ring of books on the evils of corporate America. Others include Ted Nace’s Gangs of America: The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy, William D. Cohan’s Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came To Rule the World, and Jeff Madrick’s Age of Greed: The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970 to the ­Present. Hoopes seeks to resurrect in Americans a “moderate anticorporatism” by tracing the history of corporate culture from the 1930s to the end of George W. Bush’s presidency. He divides the book into seven parts that correspond to stages in the evolutionary time line of corporate culture, each of which includes four vignettes that describe a defining event or important personality that significantly impacted the stage. VERDICT A quick read with academic flavor, this title will appeal to fans of political and business history as well as those looking to better understand what led to America’s latest recession.—Sara Holder, McGill Univ. Lib., Montreal

Leeb, Stephen. Red Alert: How China’s Growing Prosperity Threatens the American Way of Life. Business Plus: Grand Central. Oct. 2011. c.272p. illus. index. ISBN 9780446576239. $27.99. ECON
Economist Leeb (Game Over: How You Can Prosper in a Shattered Economy) argues that while U.S. officials and politicians engage in short-term myopic planning, endless legal maneuvering, scandals, and wartime investing that are crippling American economic viability, China’s government is run by visionary scholars with backgrounds in such fields as chemistry and engineering who are carefully analyzing the long-term, big picture. China is gaining ground as a superpower and attaining competitive advantage over other countries, especially the United States, by using its profits to invest in and control mineral commodities such as coal, oil, zinc, silver, and gold. These resources are becoming scarce, and the author argues that access to them will determine the standard of living for future generations. According to Leeb, the Chinese government recognizes the importance of these resources to key industries such as renewable energy and electronics and views the ability to accumulate them as proof of the country’s strength. He also discusses the global demand and supply of key resources such as water. VERDICT Because it is useful for understanding current world politics and finances, this book is recommended for all adult readers.—Caroline Geck, MLS, Newark, NJ

Steelman, Julie. The Effortless Yes: Get the Sales You Want and Make All You’ll Ever Need. Franklin Green. Aug. 2011. c.192p. ISBN 9781936487028. pap. $14.95. BUS
By beginning her introduction with a quotation from the Dalai Lama, Steelman, who has 30 years of sales experience, signals that this will be a different kind of sales manual. She has built her particular technique around the philosophy that “selling is an opportunity to serve” and that it should be seen as a positive and helpful practice that enhances and fulfills those to whom the seller makes the pitch. Steelman’s book targets women, to whom, she argues, selling should come naturally, as they are hardwired to take care of others. Using a combination of spirituality, positive thinking, and psychology of personality, she takes readers through seven steps—from “Dust off Your Moxie” to “Perfect Your Natural Ask”—to enable them to secure the effortless yes. Each step is built into a chapter and includes techniques, scenarios, examples from Steelman’s career, and a set of exercises. She concludes with a short financial primer, “Be Bankable.” VERDICT A strange yet interesting combination—like Zig Ziglar on Prozac—that will appeal to the budding momtrepreneur.—Sara Holder, McGill Univ. Lib., Montreal

Stevens, Mark. Your Company Sucks: It’s Time To Declare War on Yourself. BenBella. Aug. 2011. c.208p. illus. ISBN 9781935618546. pap. $14.95. BUS
CEO of MSCO, Inc., a marketing services company, Stevens offers a rehash of ho-hum marketing and business suggestions in this short treatise on understanding the failures of your company and reinvigorating your business. He cites four main reasons businesses fail (ineffective leadership; “lust-to-lax syndrome,” or hot and cold customer treatment; incompetence; and conventional thinking) and illustrates them with examples before making his recommendations. For someone who states that business leaders should avoid conventional thinking patterns, his suggestions are conventional in the extreme: “declare war on complacency” (war metaphors pop up throughout) by not promoting through tenure alone; make an “action plan” for change; “thrill” your current customers with little unexpected extras. The book is not particularly well organized, although it is a fast and simple read. ­VERDICT Stevens’s previous Your Marketing Sucks was a Business Week best seller, and he writes the business blog Unconventional Thinking (www.msco.com/blog), so some readers may seek out this title; however, other authors, e.g., Seth Godin, have more notoriety and cover much the same territory. For readers looking for basic ideas without a big-time investment, this might be an acceptable title.—Sarah Statz Cords, The Rea der’s Advisor Online

Sciences politiques

Fisher, Louis. Defending Congress and the Constitution. Univ. Pr. of Kansas. Sept. 2011. c.384p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780700617982. $39.95. POL SCI
The author himself provides an apt description of this book when he refers in its final pages to his “battering ram” argument that Congress shares the duty of constitutional interpretation with the Supreme Court. That term might also be applied to Fisher’s 40-year career as a scholar and congressional staff member, when he wrote some 20 books in consistent defense of the prerogatives of Congress against those of the President and the Court. Here again he takes up this argument, that Congress should neither “genuflect” nor engage in “idolatry” toward the other branches, closely analyzing areas such as judicial review, federalism, religious freedom, individual rights, war powers, and, where he provides an especially good critique, the federal budgeting process. Fisher covers less studied topics as well, notably the role of expert congressional staff, an area he knows firsthand. ­VERDICT While Fisher’s learning is broad and deep, his style is pugnacious and repetitive. Readers familiar with Fisher might find the book wearing in a particular way, since he has covered much of this ground in earlier books, most recently in On Appreciating Congress (2010), a more accessible version of this one.—Bob Nardini, Nashville

Sociologie

OrangeReviewStar.2(Original Import) Berns, Nancy. Closure: The Rush To End Grief and What It Costs Us. Temple Univ. Aug. 2011. c.224p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781439905760. $75.50; pap. ISBN 9781439905777. $24.95. SOC SCI
“Our grandparents did not seek closure after the death of a loved one,” observes Berns (sociology, Drake Univ.; Framing the Victim: Domestic Violence, Media and Social Problems) in this compelling book. “Closure” as a signifier for the end of grief has come into wide use, and Berns, who experienced a profound loss when she gave birth to a stillborn son, is here to reinforce what most of us intuitively know: feeling bad about losing a loved one never really ends. By commodifying the concept of closure in order to sell products and services, however, society has put pressure on us to conform to the prevailing “feeling rules,” suggesting that disappointment, loss, and grief can and should come to an arbitrary end. Berns angrily dismisses this notion. Surely the desire to love (and miss) someone who is gone continues, despite “the tangled mess of closure talk,” with the same word used for neatly tying up divorce, death, school violence, the death penalty, and grief for a dead pet. VERDICT Berns wisely counsels us to find other language and perspectives for living with grief, and this lucid debunking of the current use of the word “closure” is a breath of fresh air, recommended for both general readers and specialists.—Ellen D. Gilbert, Princeton, NJ

Scocca, Tom. Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future. Riverhead: Penguin Group (USA). Aug. 2011. c.384p. ISBN 9781594487842. $26.95. SOC SCI
Scocca (Slate.com) lived and worked in Beijing leading up to the 2008 Olympics. He observed the mammoth preparations undertaken to welcome the world and display China’s ascendancy. In this book, he covers the astonishing array of planning for change, such as training the Chinese on the art of queuing. In an antispitting campaign, 10,000 bags for spitting were distributed (the Chinese were used to having spittoons). Cabbies were instructed to bathe, brush their teeth, and stop eating in the cab. Then came the earthquake of May 12, 2008, in which many thousands were killed. The government and the Olympics committee nearly ignored the tragedy. The Chinese press, however, for once did not follow the usual censorship. Thus reality infringed on the best-laid Olympic plans while the nation mourned. Particularly poignant here are Scocca’s post-Olympic observations: memorabilia going cheap, ignored, or trod upon, much like the hutongs, rickshaws, and gardens destroyed to make way for infrastructure for the big event. The epilog reveals that Ai Weiwei, one of the designers of the Beijing National Stadium (the “Bird’s Nest”), was imprisoned this spring, allegedly for tax evasion but likely for speaking out about the rights of earthquake victims. Meanwhile the three Beijings—the moneyed, the wretched, and the bustling—carry on as usual. VERDICT A brilliant cultural study written in a surprisingly poetic style, this is highly recommended to all interested readers. [Ai was released from prison on June 22 but cannot at this point leave Beijing.—Ed.; see Prepub Alert, 1/31/11.]—Susan G. Baird, formerly with Oak Lawn P.L., Chicago

Shteir, Rachel. The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting. Penguin Pr: Penguin Group (USA). 2011. c.250p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781594202971. $25.95. SOC SCI
“Shoplifting has been a sin, a crime, a confession of sexual repression, a howl of grief, a political yelp, a sign of depression, a badge of identity, and a backdoor to the American Dream,” writes Shteir (criticism & dramaturgy, DePaul Univ. Theater Sch.; Gypsy: The Art of the Tease) in her introduction to this fascinating and accessible study. In tracing the cultural history of shoplifting, she lays out three main themes in society’s understanding of it: as a crime, an illness, or a political act. She traces society’s response to shoplifting in Western history and literature, from Plato and St. Augustine, through over 400 years of laws and punishment for petty crimes. From there she surveys the idea of kleptomania, Freudian explanations for stealing, and political justifications for shoplifting by everyone from Emma Goldman to Abby Hoffman. The second part of the book is a more contemporary history of the crime and efforts to stop it. Shteir suggests that shoplifting and society’s response have more to do with our ideas of consumption and desire than they do with crime. VERDICT A well-written and notable book on an under-studied topic. Highly recommended.—Jessica Moran, California State Archives, Sacramento

True Confessions: Feminist Professors Tell Stories Out of School. Norton. Aug. 2011. c.400p. ed. by Susan Gubar. ISBN 9780393076431. $29.95. SOC SCI
Gubar (Distinguished Professor Emerita of English, Indiana Univ.; coauthor, with Sandra M. Gilbert, The Madwoman in the Attic) collects new pieces by 27 feminist professors in the humanities, social sciences, and fine arts, most of whom began their careers in the 1960s or 1970s. Their autobiographical essays, divided into two sections, “Personal Views” and “Professional Vistas,” display a wide variety of concerns and treat gender prejudice with the related issues of race, social class, and sexual orientation. They also cover the difficulties of gaining tenure, providing child care, and accusing others or being accused of sexual harassment. VERDICT The stories here are poignant and instructive for those who may be unaware of the real struggles of women in academia and the difficulties educated women can face outside the academy. They are also cautionary; some of the writers feel, with good reason, that in the last decade or two women have lost ground in some areas. Especially for those familiar with the challenges discussed, the pieces are gripping and provide much material for reflection.—Carolyn M. Craft, formerly with Longwood Univ., Farmville, VA

Livres en sciences sociales: comptes rendus (juillet 2011)

(source: Library Journal, 11/07/2011)

Information et communication

McKinney, Megan. The Magnificent Medills: The McCormick-Patterson Dynasty; America’s Royal Family of Journalism During a Century of Turbulent Splendor. Harper: HarperCollins. Oct. 2011. c.464p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780061782237. $27.99. COMM
With the engrossing sweep of a family saga and the rich details of a genealogical study, this book brings to life four generations of a family that shaped American journalism for over a century. Starting with Chicago Tribune founder Joseph Medill in 1855 and continuing with grandson Col. Robert R. McCormick’s leadership of Chicago’s newspaper of note, the family extended their influence by founding two other successful newspapers, New York’s Daily News and Long Island’s Newsday. By utilizing innovations like the tabloid format, comic strips, and pictorial layouts, they changed how the public consumes news. Journalist McKinney provides colorful snapshots of American history, showing how the family members and their journalistic endeavors interacted—and sometimes clashed—with important political leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. VERDICT For general readers of family dynasty–style nonfiction and anyone interested in American studies, newspaper history, and the glamour of the modern era from the 1850s to the 1950s. [See Prepub Alert, 4/18/11.]—Donna Marie Smith, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., FL

Petersen, Jennifer. Murder, the Media, and the Politics of Public Feelings: Remembering Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Indiana Univ. Sept. 2011. c.218p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780253356598. $70; pap. ISBN 9780253223395. $24.95. COMM
Petersen (media studies, Univ. of Virginia) analyzes the media handling of the murders of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, WY, and James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, TX, and the hate-crime legislation that was passed as a result. She has done extensive research and conducted interviews with some of the key players to trace the trajectory of what eventually culminated in the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Also discussed is how the media uses our emotions to personalize stories and how regionalism can be used to reinforce stereotypes. Taking a scholarly approach, Petersen makes a case that media allows strangers from all over the United States to come together to “form publics” (large groups of people united by a common interest). She argues that the common interest in these murders helped affect “political-legal changes.” VERDICT Petersen makes use of an intriguing thesis and presents an insightful source for journalism and broadcasting students.—Barb Kundanis, Longmont P.L., CO

Economie

Nasar, Sylvia. Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius. S. & S. Sept. 2011. c.554p. ISBN 9780684872988. $35. ECON
Nasar (John S. and James. L Knight Professor, Columbia Graduate Sch. of Journalism; A Beautiful Mind) posits that economics theorists have over the last two centuries shown people how they might take charge of their destinies rather than trusting their material progress to fate. It’s an ambitious project, and Nasar offers chapters that mix history and biography while explaining the greatest hits of economic thought. She links theorists with their settings, including Marx and Engels in Paris and England, Beatrice and Sidney Webb in London, Joseph Schumpeter in Vienna, and John Maynard Keynes seemingly everywhere. Nasar’s biographical sketches are lively, but the history sometimes bogs down in the (still simplified) economic details. Although the book proceeds chronologically in three sections (pre–World War I, during World War I and the lead-up to World War II, and the postwar period), it never quite seems to gel as either narrative history or biography. VERDICT Libraries and readers have waited 13 years for Nasar’s second book, and there will be demand. But the story may be too dry for fans of biography and not rigorous enough for hard-core economics wonks. [See Prepub Alert, 2/28/11.]—Sarah Statz Cords, The Reader’s Advisor Online

Rumelt, Richard. Good Strategy, Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters. Crown Business. Jul. 2011. c.320p. index. ISBN 9780307886231. $28. BUS
Award-winning author and sought-after consultant Rumelt (Harry and Elsa Kunin Chair in Business and Society, UCLA Anderson Sch. of Management) provides keen insights on how to recognize effective approaches to promoting economic performance. Drawing from his rich experience, he offers numerous examples to help business leaders craft effective strategies. The book contains three essential components. First, it covers how to diagnose a challenge and formulate policy and action plans to address it. Then, it shows how good strategies can build upon the strengths, weaknesses, and sources of power unique to an organization. Finally, it shows the importance of business leaders sharpening their sensitivity to the challenges of an organization by viewing them from the customers’ perspective. VERDICT Readers accustomed to managerial terminology should be able to cut through Rumelt’s thin shroud of consultant hype to get to his practical insights. Although his candid comments and colorful examples convey his passion for counseling readers interested in strategy, the effective application of these concepts requires considerable experience and stamina.—Jerry P. Miller. Cambridge, MA

Sciences politiques

Phillips, Christopher. Constitution Café: Jefferson’s Brew for a True Revolution. Norton. Aug. 2011. c.288p. ISBN 9780393064803. $24.95. POL SCI
Is it time to call a new Constitutional Convention? Building on the small, informal gatherings that Phillips used to collect the information for an earlier book, Socrates Café, he traveled around the country leading discussions on how the U.S. Constitution could be updated to reflect 21st-century values. Basing much of the discussion on Jefferson’s views of individual rights and his wariness of centralized power, Phillips reminds readers that Jefferson advocated replacement of the Constitution every 19 or 20 years. The wide range of topics includes altering the process of amending the Constitution, restricting the power of lobbyists, and providing for a universal “world class” education for every child. Following a description of the participants in each group and its setting, Phillips provides a brief summary of the discussion’s content and progress, then proposes a Constitution Article that the group agreed on. Background information and follow-up commentary accompany each section. VERDICT As an exploration of current governmental theory and philosophy, the book provides an excellent framework for conducting similar discussions. Readers who enjoy political and governmental theory or who participate in politically oriented book clubs will find this a worthwhile choice. [See Prepub Alert, 2/7/11.]—Jill Ortner, Hamburg, NY

Wise, David. Tiger Trap: America’s Secret Spy War with China. Houghton Harcourt. 2011. c.304p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780547553108. $28. INT AFFAIRS
Wise (Spy: The Inside Story of How the FBI’s Robert Hanssen Betrayed America) explores the spying by China on the United States since 1985, arguing that China’s efforts are very different from traditional Cold War spying, glamorized over the past 50 years. Money and sex are not the main ways that China manipulates and motivates spies. Rather, in thousands of contacts with students, tourists, trade delegations, and visiting scientists, the Chinese intelligence agencies patiently emphasize appeals to personal relationships (guanxi) and ask these contacts to help China better itself. Not only does this create many thousands of potential spies, but there are few simple “just follow the money!” pathways for U.S. agents to use to track and uncover the networks. Through recounting U.S. counterintelligence operations, Wise provides scintillating and embarrassing details of counterintelligence failures and shows how China has penetrated many secret U.S. programs. He also demonstrates that complacency might be the biggest enemy of U.S. security and counterintelligence efforts. VERDICT Wise’s readable and well-researched book is an early effort on a topic that will be important for decades and a must-read for anyone interested in this subject. Highly recommended.—Mark K. Jones, Mercantile Lib., Cincinnati, OH

Sociologie

Adler, Patricia A. & Peter Adler. The Tender Cut: Inside the Hidden World of Self-Injury. New York Univ. Aug. 2011. c.251p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780814705070. pap. $22. SOC SCI
This timely, important book is not an easy read. Although, according to the authors, “self-injury has existed for nearly all of recorded history,” the quantum growth in the last 20 years of people, especially the young, engaging in self-cutting, burning, branding, scratching, picking at skin, reopening wounds, biting, hair pulling, and more supports the need for a comprehensive discussion about self-injury. Patricia A. Adler (sociology, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder) and Peter Adler (sociology & criminology, Univ. of Denver) present a clinical but compassionate scholarly treatment. While the recent use of cyberspace for “practitioners” of self-injury to communicate with each other about formerly very private behaviors now provides alarming evidence of this “cult youth phenomenon,” it also offers the possibility for mutual support among practitioners and, perhaps, interventions by professionals and caring families. In their thorough treatment of the subject, the authors include a history and literature review of this difficult topic, discussions of case histories, and examinations of relational dynamics and social contexts that may lead to cutting. VERDICT While literary references and clinical terms may be beyond the average reader, this is a must-read for those connected in any way to this topic.—Ellen D. Gilbert, Princeton, NJ

Gilligan, Carol. Joining the Resistance. Polity, dist. by Wiley. 2011. c.180p. bibliog. ISBN 9780745651699. $19.95. SOC SCI
In 1982, NYU professor and clinical psychologist Gilligan reformed our understanding of gender and human development in her best-selling In a Different Voice by deconstructing the powerful messages society sends young girls. Discussing how her ideas evolved from her own life experiences, Gilligan here takes a humane approach to thinking about personal and political relationships, holding that both love and citizenship in democratic society spring from the same impulses. She addresses widespread misunderstandings of her earlier work and emphasizes the need for an ethic of care. She also elucidates the current lively discourse on gender relations and discusses the potential for social transformation. VERDICT This is an eloquent, sophisticated analysis of gender relations, individual identity, and human nature that focuses on how women have “lost their voice” in a predominately patriarchal society. It will appeal to erudite or specialized readers interested in issues of gender and psychology. Recommended for university collections in gender studies, philosophy, psychiatry, psychology, and the helping professions.—Dale Farris, Groves, TX

Hollander, Paul. Extravagant Expectations: New Ways To Find Romantic Love in America. Ivan R. Dee. 2011. c.264p. index. ISBN 9781566637770. $27.95. SOC SCI
In this sociological study of modern American ideals of romantic love, Hollander (sociology, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst; The End of Commitment: Intellectuals, Revolutionaries, and Political Morality in the Twentieth Century) departs from his previous focus on criticism of communism and the Left to examine the impact of individualism and moral relativism on the expectations of romantic relationships. He compares and contrasts 19th-century romanticism with American individualism and examines popular self-help books, print personal ads, and individual profiles on a popular online dating site. By studying self-promotion and descriptions of ideal partners in print and online personal ads, Hollander successfully identifies the desirable traits and characteristics sought by those looking for a romantic partner. He concludes that these attributes are often deeply in contention with one another because of the conflict that arises from individualism vs. the need for community. VERDICT While popular works have been published about personal ads and online dating, Hollander provides a unique scholarly examination about how they mirror contemporary American romantic ideals. Recommended for readers with a serious interest in sociology and contemporary American culture.—Kate Wells, Fitchburg State Univ. Lib., MA

Romero, Mary. The Maid’s Daughter: Living Inside and Outside the American Dream. New York Univ. Sept. 2011. c.265p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780814776421. $27.95. SOC SCI
Mexican-born Carmen settled in Los Angeles in the mid-1960s as a live-in maid with her young daughter, Olivia. Aside from occasional visits to relatives in impoverished Mexican neighborhoods, Olivia lived her childhood and teen years with Carmen’s primary employer, the Smiths, who in ways embraced Olivia as one of their own—from paying for her education to, many years later, inscribing her name on a Smith family gravestone. Over the course of 20 years, social justice scholar Romero interviewed the adult Olivia about her childhood experiences. Olivia’s knowledge of two disparate communities gave her broad social capital and a high degree of social confidence, but her cultural competence was muddied while growing up by her proximity to privilege, with her access to the fruits of privilege strictly limited. VERDICT At once a valuable case study and a dramatic life story, this oral history explores identity and illuminates race, class, and gender in America at a peculiarly intimate intersection between upper-middle-class white families and the women of color who provide domestic labor for them. With Romero’s analysis, extensive footnotes, and a through bibliography, it will be of greater interest to scholars than to casual readers of memoir.—Janet Ingraham Dwyer, State Lib. of Ohio, Columbus

Stoute, Steve. The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy. Gotham: Penguin Group (USA). Sept. 2011. c.269p. ISBN 9781592404810. $26. SOC SCI
According to Stoute, a branding consultant and former record executive, “the adhesive of youth culture and inclusive racial diversity” has led to the “tanning of America.” Ignoring the globalization of popular culture is perilous, he argues, and he seeks “to put an end, once and for all, to the boxing of individuals based on color.” Part One traces the evolution of hip-hop and rap, showing how these forms brought success to performers who poetized their frustrations and appealed to urban teens who wanted to be cool. This section offers a detailed chronicle of early hip-hop musicians, including DJ Kool Herc and numerous others, as well as advertisers, such as Adidas and Nike, eager to increase their market share by plugging into hip-hop culture. Part Two details the “Power, Pitfalls and Potential of Tanning,” and Part Three, “The Future of the Tan World,” calls tanning a “cultural bridge” to the American Dream. “Cross-culturism is the next phase of tanning,” writes Stoute, of which the most important element is “loving one another.” VERDICT This detailed history of hip-hop as a musical genre and its genesis, development, and effects on society will appeal to historians and sociologists, as well as some fans of hip-hop. [See Prepub Alert, 12/13/10.]—Joanne B. Conrad, Geneseo, NY

Vander Ven, Thomas. Getting Wasted: Why College Students Drink Too Much and Party So Hard. New York Univ. Aug. 2011. c.208p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780814788325. pap. $19.95. SOC SCI
Vander Ven (sociology & anthropology, Ohio Univ.; Working Mothers and Juvenile Delinquency) delves into well-trod territory, though with a somewhat new perspective and research motive. While previous scholarly efforts have focused on binge drinking and its inherent risks, Vander Ven focuses on the social structure, meaning, and implication of drinking behaviors. With an intended audience of researchers, students, and parents, as well as college administrators, the book recounts the self-reported alcohol-related rationalizations and outcomes of over 400 college students at three different campuses. The author focuses on the impetus for drinking and the important roles codrinkers play, the range of activities that can result during a bout of drinking (fun to potentially fatal), and the ensuing impact and result of the drinking episode. This is not a comfortable read. And yet despite limited analysis and an academic’s awkward touch on somewhat questionable youth-culture language, the book does offer a realistic portrayal of socially bonding drinking behaviors and attitudes. In the end Vander Ven suggests stellar ways campuses can reduce the harm of excessive drinking. VERDICT Recommended for sociologists, university administrators, and college-age students.—Jewell Anderson, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ. Lib., Savannah

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