| Web Exclusives|
|Editors' Picks. Choice, v.49, no. 08, April 2012.|
To highlight the wide range of publications reviewed in Choice, each month Choice editors feature some noteworthy reviews from the current issue.
Adoption by lesbians and gay men: a new dimension in family diversity, ed. by David M. Brodzinsky and Adam Pertman. Oxford, 2011. 266p bibl indexes afp; ISBN 9780195322606, $37.95.
49-4765 HV875 2011-17400 CIP
This informative, authoritative collection of 11 essays by leading experts challenges the myth that lesbians and gay men are unfit to adopt and provides adoption professionals with best-practice standards. A number of contributions stand out. Annette R. Appell provides an overview of adoption law and concludes that the "overall trajectory for lesbian and gay adoption has been toward acceptance and accommodation rather than exclusion." Coeditor Brodzinsky's essay demonstrates that lesbians and gay men adopt children regularly and in large numbers. His research shows that although homophobic and heterosexist attitudes persist, the dominant trend is of "a growing willingness by adoption agencies to place children with lesbians and gays." Charlotte J. Patterson and Jennifer L. Wainwright's contribution, one of the best in the volume, demonstrates conclusively that children and adolescents who grow up with lesbian and gay parents are psychologically well adjusted and develop positively compared to others. This superbly successful collection shatters the misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding adoption by lesbians and gay men and should be widely disseminated among legislators, social workers, lawyers, judges, and the general public. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries. -- E. W. Carp, Pacific Lutheran University
Almeling, Rene. Sex cells: the medical market for eggs and sperm. California, 2011. 228p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780520270954, $60.00; ISBN 9780520270961 pbk, $24.95.
49-4520 HQ761 2011-8654 CIP
Sociologist Almeling (Yale) has written an engrossing and revealing account of how bodily goods are redefined as commodities, assigned an economic value, and marketed as products. Although the sale of human organs is illegal, sperm donors and egg donors are paid for their gametes. The author addresses this seeming inconsistency by drawing on sociological theories to examine how socially constructed definitions of biology and gender shape the market for bodily goods. While sperm and eggs contribute equally to the formation of a zygote, they are not assigned equal values as saleable commodities, nor are donors viewed similarly. The culturally determined gender expectations that lead to the definition of a sperm donor as performing a job, and an egg donor as giving a gift, are partly responsible for the marked differences in the experiences of the men and women who are chosen to donate. From her interviews with donors and recipients as well as with physicians and staffs of egg agencies and sperm banks, Almeling explores gamete donation from the perspectives of people who have experienced various parts of the process. A fascinating window into a part of modern technology that is well known, but not well understood. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. -- C. Apt, South Carolina State University
Arnold, Frank. What makes great leaders great: management lessons from icons who changed the world. McGraw-Hill, 2011. 297p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780071770514, $25.00; e-book ISBN 9780071772112 e-book, contact publisher for price.
49-4548 HD57 2011-29491 MARC
Starting with the premise that management know-how is the key to success, Arnold has crafted a practical book that identifies and describes significant management concepts. Using a three-factor framework--managing organizations, managing innovation, and managing people--he highlights the lives and accomplishments of more than 50 well-known leaders from business, science, and technology as well as the arts and the humanities (e.g., Coco Chanel, James Watt, Gustave Eiffel, Thomas Edison, Michelangelo, Hillary Clinton, and of course, Peter F. Drucker). He also links each individual's accomplishment to a specific management principle or practice. For example, Bill Gates's success at Microsoft highlights the significance of a simple business mission; Alfred P. Sloan Jr.'s work at General Motors demonstrates effective decision making; and Frederick W. Taylor's principles of scientific management address the value of being productive. Chapters conclude with "Action Points" and "Food for Thought," which prompt the reader to apply the management principle or practice. This book is valuable for undergraduate business students as it delineates well-known management concepts; demonstrates that management is a much-needed skill in all fields of endeavor; and provides opportunities for students to further their knowledge by pursuing further research. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels of undergraduate students as well as general readers and practitioners. -- M. J. Safferstone, University of Mary Washington
Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. Planned obsolescence: publishing, technology, and the future of the academy. New York University, 2011. 245p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780814727874, $75.00; ISBN 9780814727881 pbk, $23.00; e-book ISBN 9780814728963 e-book, contact publisher for price.
49-4188 Z286 2011-24719 CIP
In this insightful book, Fitzpatrick (Pomona College; director of scholarly communication, Modern Language Association) expands arguments she presented in The Anxiety of Obsolescence (CH, Jun'07, 44-5492) concerning the death of print culture. She asserts that scholarly communication is not so much dead as "undead"--fated to take untenable forms unless the business model of higher education is laid to rest. Scholars and publishers must revitalize their inherently collaborative enterprise for civic society to value their productions. Reconceiving higher education's "reputation economy" as a common good requires development of digitization models that ensure preservation and open (free) access based on open (interoperable) standards as well as peer-to-peer reviewing at the pre- and post-publication stages. As the manuscript for this book under- went traditional peer review, the book's contents were simultaneously opened to public comment through MediaCommons http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/. This experiment allowed Fitzpatrick to synthesize readers' feedback and offer an informative analysis of the social structures of scholarship. Fitzpatrick traces shifts in meaning of foundational Enlightenment-era concepts, e.g., peer review (from peer of the realm), imprimatur (authorization to publish), royalties (reference to property issues), and academic discipline (originally the power to censor books). Although the minuscule font size of the footnotes and bibliography saves printing costs at the expense of readability, the citations are models of style, reflecting the author's intelligent discussion of metadata, persistent URLs, and crowd-sourced knowledge. This primer on innovations in academic publishing is a must read for all participants: university administrators, faculty authors, librarians, publishers, technologists, and informed general readers. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. -- P. E. Sandstrom, emerita, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
Garon, Sheldon. Beyond our means: why America spends while the world saves. Princeton, 2012. 475p bibl index afp ISBN 0-691-13599-1, $29.95; ISBN 9780691135991, $29.95.
49-4569 HC79 2011-23955 CIP
"A penny saved is a penny earned," said Benjamin Franklin. No doubt Ben would be shocked at both the low saving rates of Americans and the tremendous amount of consumer debt today. Garon (Princeton Univ.) studies the differences in saving between people in various countries to understand why large disparities exist. Many people believe that culture predetermines saving behavior, but Garon argues this is largely incorrect. He finds that saving behavior is shaped by social policy more than anything else. Looking at countries with high saving rates, he found active programs to promote saving (especially small saving)--even among the youngest school-age children. In America since the mid-19th century, almost no policies have been initiated to promote small savings. Instead the US government has promoted consumption and the issuance of consumer credit. These decisions had real effects on the saving behavior of many Americans. Interestingly, in the US where social safety nets are small, savings are low, whereas in European countries where social safety nets are large, savings are high. Garon's study shows that institutional and historical factors explain this phenomenon much better than culture alone. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Students, upper-division undergraduate and up; faculty and researchers; professionals; general readers. -- R. H. Scott, Monmouth University
Invitation to World Literature. Internet Resource.
[Visited Jan'12] Designed to introduce world literature to general and inexperienced readers, this site provides a selective compilation of secondary material that supplements and explains 13 important literary works: The Epic of Gilgamesh, My Name Is Red, The Odyssey, The Bacchae, The Bhagavad Gita, The Tale of Genji, Journey to the West, Popul Vuh, Candide, Things Fall Apart, One Hundred Years of Solitude, The God of Small Things, and The Thousand and One Nights. Although in some cases copyright issues may have made reproducing the full text impossible, one cannot help but be disappointed (the site provides a link to a commercial site for those who wish to purchase the work itself). Nevertheless, the site, which is sponsored by the Annenberg Foundation and edited by David Damrosch (Harvard), presents excellent content. Though limited, the supplementary information is of high quality; the bibliographies, excerpts, and timelines provide useful historical and scholarly contexts for understanding the famous works. The interface is visually appealing, consistent, and organized. Clearly the core of the collection is lively, smart 30-minute films about each work. In these shorts, ensembles of leading artists and scholars read, comment on, and interpret the literary works. Well produced yet having a common touch, popular in emphasis yet intellectually focused, informative yet also entertaining, the little films have to the potential to charm a broad audience into falling in love with "world literature." Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates; general readers. -- C. B. Ewing, University of Illinois
Logan, Enid. "At this defining moment": Barack Obama's presidential candidacy and the new politics of race. New York University, 2011. 216p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780814752975, $75.00; ISBN 9780814752982 pbk, $23.00.
49-4744 JK526 2011-20456 CIP
Logan's exciting, informative book on the sea change taking place regarding race and elections in the US is timely and important to the conversation on race and politics in the 21st century. Logan (sociology, Univ. of Minnesota) uses law, history, politics, and sociological data to show the impact of the white-originated postracial and colorblind narrative. Logan's most powerful section of the book may be the discussion of what she terms "in defense of the white nation." Logan incorporates the impact of Sarah Palin on the national discourse regarding race and politics. The "real America" that many conservatives longed for is clearly presented by Logan as an exclusivist vision of the nation. It is a nation that defines individuals as either a patriot or not, hardworking or lazy, and basically "us" or "them." It is clear that Logan understands not simply the rhetoric used here by politicians but also the impact that such rhetoric has on future elections. Logan's political stance is not always clear, which allows the reader to feel that the information is objective. The book is best suited for laypeople, political junkies, and those generally interested in the connections between race and politics. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers, undergraduate students, and graduate students. -- A. R. S. Lorenz, Ramapo College
Mampilly, Zachariah Cherian. Rebel rulers: insurgent governance and civilian life during war. Cornell, 2011. 293p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780801449130, $45.00.
49-4716 DS489 2011-5004 CIP
Mampilly (Vassar College) examines an underexplored issue in international relations: how rebel groups govern territories that they control during insurgencies. Mampilly is specifically interested in three aspects of rebel governance. First, under what circumstances do rebels take seriously the task of providing governance to the population under their control? Second, how do insurgents adopt ruling practices and design civilian administrations? Third, how does the civilian population respond to the rebel government structure? The book develops a framework of rebel governance that begins with nine hypotheses about how insurgents ultimately govern in their territories. Mampilly tests his hypotheses using three cases for which he conducted extensive fieldwork. He explores the rule of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army, and the Rally for Congolese Democracy-Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The fieldwork (in war zones) is impressive. However, Mampilly himself identifies a potential weakness of this effort--the applicability of his framework to other cases. He attempts in the penultimate chapter to draw from other cases to address this, but the effort seems somewhat superficial. Nevertheless the book is an interesting and important contribution to the literature. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, research, and professional collections. -- J. Fields, University of Southern California
McKanan, Dan. Prophetic encounters: religion and the American radical tradition. Beacon Press, 2011. 326p index afp; ISBN 9780807013151, $34.95; e-book ISBN 9780807013168 e-book, $31.95.
49-4407 BL2525 2011-12350 CIP
In a time when political discourse sometimes seems dominated by the religious Right, it is refreshing to be reminded of the rich traditions of social critique grounded in the Left. Tracing the religious threads of the American radical tradition, or simply "the Left," McKanan (Harvard Divinity School) begins his definitive study with the reflection, "Everyone needs a history." From early labor movements, the abolition of slavery, temperance, utopianism, and women's suffrage in the 19th century to Prohibition, civil rights, pacifism, women's liberation, and gay rights in the 20th, McKanan discovers fascinating points of intersection between diverse voices for social change. He spotlights figures such as Frederick Douglass, John Brown, William Lloyd Garrison, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frances Willard, Dorothy Day, Saul Alinsky, Martin Luther King Jr., and Starhawk, all of whom bring their prophetic encounters with spiritual realities to bear on the political realm. Although McKanan laments that the American radical tradition may have ended with the fall of communism in 1989, he is hopeful that the Left might aspire to fulfill the promises of the radical tradition with visionary responses to global climate change. This excellent volume is a must for all academic libraries. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above. -- P. K. Steinfeld, Buena Vista University
The Medical Heritage Library. Internet Resource.
[Visited Jan'12] The Medical Heritage Library (MHL) is a digital collection of materials compiled collaboratively by many of the world's leading medical libraries. The collection, which consists of digitized rare medical books, presently has about 14,000 titles and offers thorough, authoritative, and up-to-date information. It is available through the Internet Archive (CH, Jan'05, 42-2534), a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 with the goal of offering researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public permanent access to historical collections that exist in digital format. MHL's funding comes from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and its Scholarly Advisory Committee comprises respected scientists and professors from leading organizations and universities.
The home page features a variety of search options: users may explore through the general Internet Archive search box at the top of the page or browse the MHL collection by subject, author, title, and date. Options include browsing the whole collection or choosing from a list of subject keywords, which are presented alphabetically with pointers to the volume number. The list changes and updates constantly as volumes are added to the library. Users may sort search results by date and relevance and group results by media type or collection. To stay current, users should subscribe to the MHL blog http://www.medicalheritage.org/. The website at this URL also features the valuable Tools for Digital Research, including Text Analysis and Visualization, Online Collections, Research Tools, Blogs and Other Resources, and Conferences and Organizations. Based on the quality of its content and currency, MHL is a most valuable resource. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above; general audiences. -- M. Slobodinsky, DeVry University North Brunswick
Meldahl, Keith Heyer. Rough-hewn land: a geologic journey from California to the Rocky Mountains. California, 2011. 296p bibl index; ISBN 9780520259355, $34.95.
49-4473 QE79 2011-26058 CIP
For a geologist, one of the most fascinating regions in the world is the westernmost quarter of North America, and the particular transect through California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado contains endless geological delights. This book is not so much a guide as a narrative of the deep history of this area. Meldahl (Mira Costa College; Hard Road West, CH, Apr'08, 45-4350) blends together contemporary history with tectonic forces to tell the story of the land and how it has affected the people on it (and vice versa). The work is divided into three parts. The first section is on California, with an emphasis on gold mining. The second covers the Basin and Range province, and the third, the Rocky Mountains themselves. There is more than enough detail here to satisfy a scientist, and enough color and philosophy for everyone else. The writing is superb--on the level of John McPhee and Edward Abbey. The science is as current as could be for the complexity of the topic, and the author often considers multiple explanatory hypotheses. There is equally good coverage of geomorphology and tectonics, as well as paleontology, petrology, and hydrology. An excellent teaching tool, with abundant literature resources and an attractive explanatory style. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. -- M. A. Wilson, College of Wooster
Nielsen, Michael. Reinventing discovery: the new era of networked science. Princeton, 2012. 264p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780691148908, $24.95.
49-4420 Q180 2011-20248 CIP
Quantum computation specialist Nielsen (formerly, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics) is an impassioned advocate for open science. In a modern networked world, how can science happen differently? Nielsen successfully communicates his vision in Reinventing Discovery. He begins with the benefits and methods for amplifying collective intelligence, the idea that a group of individuals collectively knows more than any one person. Online communities provide tremendous possibilities for modularized collaboration where participants contribute in ways that best utilize their expertise and time, small contributions are encouraged, and earlier work can be fruitfully extended. Preexisting patterns of online collective intelligence, like the Linux operating system development, the Galaxy Zoo, and the Polymath Project provide helpful examples of modularization and micro contributions. Nielsen also explains when amplifying collective intelligence will not succeed. A "shared praxis," a shared body of knowledge and techniques, is a required basis for success. Data mining Medline to find disease connections and crowdsourcing the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to discover new objects like the Sloan Great Wall are representative of the science possible by keeping research open, democratized, and freely available. Nielsen is frank about the challenges to open science, and he offers a plan for action. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Academic, general, and professional readers, all levels. -- M. Mounts, Dartmouth College
Nydegger, Rudy. Dealing with anxiety and related disorders: understanding, coping, and prevention. Praeger, 2012. 230p bibl index afp ISBN 0-313-38422-3, $48.00; ISBN 9780313384226, $48.00.
49-4758 RC531 2011-32438 CIP
Many people believe anxiety--that aversive state of vigilance, worry, and unpleasant arousal--is an inevitable (and regrettable) byproduct of contemporary living, the price one must pay for working and playing too hard. According to Nydegger (management and psychology, Union Graduate College and Union College), the problems anxiety poses are much worse than people realize: every year some 40 million Americans experience some anxiety disorder and, worse still, anxiety disorders are among the most commonly misdiagnosed and least treated of psychological problems. The family of anxiety disorders is large, including everything from a general feeling of anxiety to social phobias to obsessive-compulsive behaviors and post-traumatic stress disorders, among other possibilities. Written primarily for lay audiences, this tight, focused 12-chapter book introduces anxiety in its many guises; provides compelling cases of anxious individuals; reviews theories, physical reactions, and typologies; explores treatment options and suggestions for seeking help; and offers helpful discussions of somatoform and dissociative disorders. Threaded throughout the book is concrete advice and helpful reassurance on how to navigate anxiety's shoals. Successful treatment exists, usually via a combination of medication, therapy, and behavior change. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; graduate students; professionals; general readers. -- D. S. Dunn, Moravian College
Pennebaker, James W. The secret life of pronouns: what our words say about us. 1st U.S. ed. Bloomsbury, 2011. 352p bibl index afp; ISBN 9781608194803, $28.00.
49-4293 PE1261 2011-1289 CIP
Pennebaker (social psychology, Univ. of Texas) offers a breezy retelling of his academic work on the information provided by pronouns and other function words--he calls them "stealth words." For many years, the author and a legion of his students have been doing large-scale computer analysis of stealth words in a wide variety of texts and transcripts--from The Federal Papers to blogs. The research reveals how function-word use correlates with status, age, gender, emotional immediacy, and even truthfulness. Some results are what one might expect and some are surprising, and many of the experiments are quite ingenious. In the book's ten chapters, the author gives some background and recounts his studies of the stealth grammar of power, emotion, dissimulation, leadership, love, and community. He notes early on that the book may "disappoint or infuriate" serious linguists. In a way, he is right. The exposition often does a disservice to the research that underlies much of the work, and this reviewer found himself wanting things tied up more neatly. Still, the book makes one think about pronouns, auxiliaries, adverbs, and articles in a new way. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. -- E. L. Battistella, Southern Oregon University
A Political companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. by Alan M. Levine and Daniel S. Malachuk. University Press of Kentucky, 2011. 487p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780813134307, $40.00.
49-4728 PS1642 2011-21731 CIP
As part of the Kentucky press "Political Companions" series, Levine (American Univ.) and Malachuk (Western Illinois Univ.) have compiled a pathbreaking set of essays on the politics of Emerson. The introduction by the two editors situates four classic essays by Carey McWilliams, Judith Shklar, George Kateb, and Stanley Cavell that challenged earlier readings of Emerson as apolitical and hyper-individualistic. The three sets of essays that follow, most by younger scholars, often challenge these classic ones through a vigorous defense of Emerson's religiously infused transcendentalism, which powered his commitment both to moral equality and active citizenship. The entire range of Emerson's writings on philosophy, self-reliance, economy, religion, morality, and antislavery are canvassed, but in a way that addresses how readings of Emerson have also served as touchstones of American reform culture and, more recently, of shifting academic enthusiasms. The essays by Levine, Malachuk, and Shannon Mariotti in the section "The Stubborn Reality of Emerson's Transcendentalism" are especially strong. The quality and interconnectedness of the entire group of essays set a high standard for collections of this type, providing an excellent path into Emerson's (and America's) mind and spirit. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections. -- E. J. Eisenach, emeritus, University of Tulsa
Vamosi, Robert. When gadgets betray us: the dark side of our infatuation with new technologies. Basic Books, 2011. 222p bibl index; ISBN 9780465019588, $26.99.
49-4502 QA76 2010-43829 CIP
Vamosi (senior analyst, Mocana; contributing editor, PCWorld) writes regularly about computer security issues. Here he addresses an often-overlooked concern: the privacy and safety of the computerized devices on which people increasingly rely in all realms of everyday life. As microprocessors and data storage become cheaper, more of the items people use daily are becoming computerized or computer enhanced; however, there is a trade-off between convenience and security. Vamosi writes in an engaging style throughout the book. From the very first pages, which illustrate the faith people place in GPS devices (updated or not) and how dangerous such reliance can be, the book raises awareness of the downside of the implicit trust in mobile devices. Chapters cover such items as the amount of unprotected privacy data stored on mobile phones, the capability of cars to record driving habits (as shown in the recent investigation of Toyota), and the potential for eavesdropping that current connection protocols in smart phones and netbooks allow. The well-written work is valuable for all aficionados and users of modern gadgets and devices; it is an entertaining, highly informative read. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers, lower-division undergraduates, and professionals. -- T. D. Richardson, South University
Vann, Barry A. Puritan Islam: the geoexpansion of the Muslim world. Prometheus Books, 2011. 228p bibl index afp; ISBN 9781616145170, $26.00.
49-4607 BP163 2011-19047 CIP
One issue has dominated world affairs for the first decade of the 21st century, and that has been what political scientist Samuel P. Huntington called the "Clash of Civilizations"--in particular, relations between the Islamic and Western worlds. Thus, to suggest, as so often is expressed, that this book is "timely" would be accurate, but also trite and understated, for this book is perhaps the best geographical text produced on this subject since 2000. Too often, this clash is viewed as one of fundamentalist Islamic terrorism versus the rest of the world when, in fact, the clash is more subtle and nuanced and the cultural differences too profound for simplistic explanations. Vann (geography, Univ. of the Cumberlands) provides a subtle, nuanced study of Islam, and the world is better for it. Its strengths lie in the author's detailed knowledge of Islam and particularly the content of the Koran, but the inclusion of Islam in the US and the role of Islam in the Arab-Israeli conflict are especially worth reading. Puritan Islam is of utmost significance in finally taking the topic away from the emotional to where it needs to be--rational and explanatory discussion. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries. -- R. W. Benfield, Central Connecticut State University
Vlasic, Bill. Once upon a car: the fall and resurrection of America's big three auto makers--GM, Ford, and Chrysler. William Morrow, 2011. 394p index; ISBN 9780061845628, $26.99.
49-4583 HD9710 2011-20572 CIP
Vlasic, a reporter, previously for the Detroit News and since January 2008 for The New York Times, recounts the inside story of the collapse and restructuring of the big three US automakers. The account, based on more than a hundred interviews with industry insiders and government regulators, as well as on corporate documents, federal court records, SEC filings, and transcripts of hearings, speeches, and press conferences, begins in 2005 and continues to the present. The author paints a compelling picture of the intense competitive challenge that Toyota, in particular, represented, and he identifies the shortcomings of GM, Ford, and Chrysler as seen through the eyes of key players including executives, board members, investors, bankers, and regulators. Key events include Daimler's sale of Chrysler to Cerberus Capital Management; Ford's successful turnaround under Alan Mulally; the disastrous appearances of the auto executives requesting federal assistance before House and Senate committees; the federal loan assistance to GM and Chrysler under the TARP program; the bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler; and the long series of concessions negotiated with the autoworkers union. The book is very well written-entertaining and informative in equal measure. See related, Alex Taylor's Sixty to Zero (CH, Oct'10, 48-0979). Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels. -- R. C. Singleton, University of Puget Sound
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