Book Review: The Boatman: Henry David Thoreau’s River Years by Robert M. Thorson

Most biographers have ignored Henry David Thoreau’s relationship to the river but Robert Thorson here aims to correct this narrow focus by arguing that the river – the active ever-changing water bustiling with activity both human and natural – is as much a part of Thoreau’s canon and its landscape as the still water of Walden Pond. In this book Thorson envisions Thoreau’s environment as a hybrid of land and water, and the man as a boatman as much as a woodsman. Continue reading

Book Review: Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America by Nathaniel Frank

In this book Nathanial Frank traces how marriage became a key debate of the culture wars in the late twentieth, and early twenty-first, centuries. He explores the conflicts within the gay rights movement, conservative resistance, and changing public attitudes towards marriage equality in the United States. Continue reading

Book Review: The Tea Party Divided : The Hidden Diversity of a Maturing Movement by Heath Brown

In the age of President Donald Trump and the rise of the alt-right, it almost seems passé to focus on the Tea Party- the phenomenon that took American politics by storm during and after the Great Recession. However, revisiting the Tea Party not only carries the possibility of discovering something new about the movement and its participants, but also could provide us with important insights on current events. Continue reading

Book Review: The Rise of the American Conservation Movement: Power, Privilege, and Environmental Protection by Dorceta E. Taylor

Dorceta E. Taylor, The Rise of the American Conservation Movement: Power, Privilege, and Environmental Protection (Duke University Press, 2016) pp. 486. $29.95. Dorceta E. Taylor introduces The Rise of the American Conservation Movement: Power, Privilege, and Environmental Protection as the second book in a series of three, although they were not … Continue reading

Book Review: Cold War Anthropology: The CIA, the Pentagon, and the Growth of Dual Use Anthropology by David H. Price

David H. Price’s Cold War Anthropology is gripping and unusual. The author has previously explored the significant role anthropology has played in military strategies in his 2008 book, Anthropological Intelligence: The Deployment and Neglect of American Anthropology in the Second World War. This latest offering delves deeper underneath the surface in order to analyse the global post-war moment, and as such examines a cardinally different political context. Continue reading

Book Review: Battle for Bed-Stuy: The Long War on Poverty in New York City by Michael Woodsworth

In recent years Brooklyn has become trendy. While the intertwined forces of displacement and gentrification have reshaped only select areas of Brooklyn, there can be no question that the national and international reputation of New York City’s most populous borough has been thoroughly transformed.
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Book Review: The Good Occupation: American Soldiers and the Hazards of Peace by Susan L. Carruthers

Historical amnesia has created the impression that the reconstruction of Germany and Japan along liberal capitalist lines was a foregone conclusion in 1945. In reality, however, the decision to occupy was a contested question for both Washington’s decision-makers and for soldiers on the ground, many of whom would become reluctant participants in America’s project of democratic nation-building. Continue reading

Book Review: Invisible Nation: Homeless Families in America by Richard Schweid

‘Fifty years ago’, Schweid points out, ‘the word “homeless” signified dysfunctional individuals – mostly men – who drank heavily and slept rough. Now it is more likely to mean a young single mother with small children and a minimum-wage job. In 1980 families with children made up only 1 percent of the nation’s homeless; by 2014 that number was 37 percent of the total.’ Continue reading

Book Review: Whiteness on the Border: Mapping the U.S. Racial Imagination in Brown and White by Lee Bebout

The work of Arizona State Associate Professor, Lee Bebout, in Whiteness on the Border is certainly topical. To date, the current U.S. administration plans to build a multi-billion-dollar border wall between Mexico and the U.S., solidifying a line in the sand across which ‘Mexican chaos south of the border must not cross’ (63). Those Americans supporting such a project are likely influenced to varying degrees by the very stereotypes about which Bebout writes. He suggests that theirs ‘is a fear not of military invasion per se but of cultural and biological influence and takeover’ (69). Continue reading

Book Review: Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet by Jeffrey Rosen

The title Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet for Jeffrey Rosen’s book is an appropriate one given the status of American politics today. Despite having been professional and politically active at the end of the nineteenth and at the turn of the twentieth century, many of the concerns of Justice Louis Brandeis are still very relevant today. As a result, Rosen’s book is a must read – if not for the historical analysis and insight it provides, then for the greater perspective it provides for our current era. Continue reading