Editors’ Picks for February 2018

10 reviews handpicked from the February 2018 issue of Choice.

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The Card catalog: books, cards, and literary treasures, [by] Peter Devereaux. Chronicle Books, 2017. 224p index ISBN 9781452145402, $35.00; ISBN 9781452158587 ebook, contact publisher for price.

As Devereaux (“writer-editor” of this work, although he is oddly not listed as author on its title page) expresses it in his introduction, the Library of Congress celebrates “one of the most versatile and durable technologies in history: the library catalog—a road map for navigating this wilderness of books.” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden’s brief foreword is followed by five chapters in which Devereaux describes the origins of the card catalog (from “Cuneiforms to Playing Cards”), the concept of the Enlightenment-era catalog (covering “Revolution, Ruins, and Rebirth”), the “3-by-5 Solution” to constructing a library catalog, the edifice of the nation’s library, and a final chapter on the history of the catalog, from “Analog to Automation.” Each chapter and page is accompanied by black-and-white and color illustrations from the Library of Congress’s vast collections. The book concludes with a selected enumerative bibliography and a triple-columned index. The end papers contain illustrations of architectural drawings for various Library of Congress “fixtures, equipment, and finishes,” while the inside front cover includes the glued-in artifact of an actual borrowing sleeve. Nicely typeset with a cover slip, The Card Catalog is a trove of all things related to the eminent library catalog’s concept and existence as a remarkable piece of furniture—a monument to the physical collocation device and the human beings who sustained it. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through professionals/practitioners. —W. Baker, Northern Illinois University

The Chicago manual of style. 17th ed. Chicago, 2017. 1,144p bibl index ISBN 9780226287058, $70.00.

The respected style manual returns—updated seven years after the 16th edition (CH, Jan’11, 48-2398)—with more than 150 entries changed or added throughout the volume’s three major divisions: “The Publishing Process,” “Style and Usage,” and “Source Citations and Indexes.” The section on the publishing process now better addresses issues of electronic publishing such as metadata, DOIs, and format types, and legal issues of copyright and open access. Notable in the section on style and usage is a new 15-page section on syntax that expands the earlier sections on grammar and parts of speech. Changes in language use are reflected in the flexing of some older rules, such as use of the singular “they” and other gender-neutral singular pronouns. While the Chicago Manual of Style still discourages its broad use in formal writing, “in general, a person’s stated preference for a specific pronoun should be respected.” The section on citing sources is retitled from the earlier edition’s “Documentation,” a revision that exemplifies editorial changes to headings and text for improved keyword searching online. Updates in this section include discouraging the use of ibid. in favor of shortened citations, and expanding citation examples for electronic and social media, including apps.

Content in the online version (portions of which are freely accessible at chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html) mirrors the print; both recent editions appear on the Chicago website in their entirety, along with Style Q&A and Forum sections (the latter discussions open only to subscribers). The website has a clean and intuitive interface with ample hyperlinking within the volumes. The new edition online offers licensed individuals (but not institutional users) the added functionality to bookmark, make a note, save, or email a particular page as well as to create style sheets. Keyword search retrieves user notes and user style sheets and results from the discussion portions of the website, as well as entries in the manual itself.

Along with the Modern Language Association’s eighth edition of their MLA Handbook (CH, Dec’16, 54-1508), the American Psychological Association’s APA Style Central (CH, Apr’17, 54-3532), and The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law (CH, Jan’03, 40-2502), there is also Kate Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers (CH, Dec’13, 51-1807) to provide guidance suited to the needs of most undergraduates. The Chicago Manual of Style is the essential tool—significantly larger and much more broadly based compared to particular discipline-centric styles—that has (since 1906) guided editors, publishers, copy editors, and proofreaders, and continues to support the scholarship and writing of serious researchers in all fields of study. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-level undergraduates and above; professionals/practitioners. —M. F. Jones, Brevard College

Germain, Marie-Line. Narcissism at work: personality disorders of corporate leaders. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. 177p bibl index ISBN 9783319603292, $54.99; ISBN 9783319603308 ebook, $39.99.

There is recognizable development in psychology and human relations regarding the increase in those with an inflated sense of entitlement and self-worth. Whether due to parenting styles or psychological issues, the questions remain somewhat open ended, but what has become apparent to scholars is that narcissism is increasing in today’s society. In this new book, Germain (Western Carolina Univ.) delves into the experiences of those with narcissistic personality disorders (NPD) in various areas of business, management, and politics. She presents information regarding the development of NPD, the assessment of the disorder, and a thoughtful reflection on how those with NPD perceive themselves as leaders. In part 3 of her work, she highlights ways in which human resource consultants and organizational psychologists can assist those who find themselves in distress because of working with NPD. She provides case studies of well-known individuals, including Sarah Palin, Steve Jobs, Donald Trump, and two fictional characters, suggesting ways in which employees and coworkers can find ways to protect their work relationships, jobs, and careers. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students through professionals. —T. M. Mckenzie, Gonzaga University

Masuoka, Natalie. Multiracial identity and racial politics in the United States. Oxford, 2017. 260p bibl index ISBN 9780190657475, $99.00; ISBN 9780190657475 pbk, $27.95; ISBN 9780190690687 ebook, contact publisher for price.

This examination of multiracial identity helps fill a significant void in the study of ethnoracial politics. Using both interview and survey data, Masuoka (Tufts) probes the choice to identify with multiple racial groups, and how that identification shapes political attitudes. One major contribution is her stratification by ethnoracial group, enabling her to see that multiracial Asian Americans differ from other multiracial identifiers, while African Americans and Latino multiracials seem to have significant similarities in their political orientations. Another important contribution is her emphasis on those who choose to identify multiracially, rather than the more common approach of examining all who could be classified as multiracial based on ancestry alone. Masuoka observes that we have long had a large population that could be classified as multiracial but, to this day, only a few choose to identify that way. Multiracial identification, she argues, is a type of racial formation. Masuoka analyzes perceptions of Barack Obama’s racial classification, and the complex ways those perceptions interact with evaluations of Obama. One fascinating finding is that those who define Obama as mixed-race assess him differently than those who define him as black. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. —A. L. Aoki, Augsburg College

Mazzocco, Philip J. The psychology of racial colorblindness: a critical review. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. 205p bibl indexes ISBN 9781137599674, $99.99; ISBN 9781137593023 ebook, contact publisher for price.

Challenging a common lay perception that racial colorblindness is and should be the “dominant” ideology regarding race relations in the United States, Mazzocco (The Ohio State Univ.) argues that colorblindness is a social ideology that is damaging to racial minorities. Using psychological research, and focusing on white validation of the ideology, the author examines both individuals’ and institutional “support for colorblindness.” Based on a review of how colorblindness has been conceptualized and measured in the psychological literature, Mazzocco presents a “four-variety model” that integrates existing findings on the topic. A comprehensive summary of “contemporary racial inequalities” and “racial stratification” leads into a discussion of whites’ perceptions, ignorance, and explanations of these inequalities. The last third of the book centers on the “consequences of colorblind practices” for topics such as the individual level (e.g., classification, differences, etc.); “interracial interactions”; policies in education, law, and business; and additional factors that relate to “endorsement of colorblind sentiments.” Written in a clear and well-defined manner, the book is an essential resource for academic readers interested in racial colorblindness. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above; researchers and faculty. —I. I. Katzarska-Miller, Transylvania University

Riggs, Christina. Egypt: lost civilizations. Reaktion Books, 2017. 216p bibl index ISBN 9781780237268, $25.00; ISBN 9781780237749 ebook, contact pubisher for price.

With this book, Riggs (Univ. of East Anglia, UK) admirably achieves the objectives of the publisher’s “Lost Civilizations” series, which looks at the rise and fall of a civilization and assesses its artistic and cultural legacy, and explains why it remains relevant for readers today. The author begins by examining Sigmund Freud’s well-known fascination with Egypt in the context of Western culture’s view of Thoth, the god of writing and knowledge. Next comes a very concise overview of Egyptian history from the predynastic era to Alexander the Great, relating it to Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt. Subsequent chapters focus on hieroglyphs, the Nile, the use of Egyptian motifs, popular images of Cleopatra and mummies, Afrocentrism, and Egyptian archaeology and popular culture. Riggs concludes that ancient Egypt has been gone for two thousand years, and so is lost. While many remains from ancient Egypt have survived, she asserts that each culture, society, or generation interprets them differently. There is no real ancient Egypt left to be known, only how people today and in the past have imagined it. For those seeking a brief introduction, Riggs’s book, including its chronology and bibliography, is perfect. Summing Up: Essential. All public and academic levels/libraries. —R. Fritze, Athens State University

Rivers lost, rivers regained: rethinking city-river relations, ed. by Martin Knoll, Uwe Lübken, and Dieter Schott. Pittsburgh, 2017. 413p index ISBN 9780822944591, $45.95.

Humans have settled alongside rivers since the beginning of civilization. Rivers provide transportation, water for agriculture and domestic use, and waste disposal. Unfortunately, as cities grew, increased demands for these services created a harmful effect on the rivers. Furthermore, humans structurally modified rivers through channelization and entombment, so the connection that cities once had with rivers as part of the natural environment was lost. Nowadays, rivers all over the world are highly stressed systems. The editors of the work under review use case studies from rivers around the world to present a thorough account of “city-river relations.” The book covers the deterioration and destruction of rivers and details the “resilience” of rivers and their surprising and quick recovery once humans stop stressing them. The book is an enjoyable, detailed account of urban history as it relates to the surrounding natural environment. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. —E. Gomezdelcampo, Bowling Green State University

Studies in forensic biohistory: anthropological perspectives, ed. by Christopher M. Stojanowski and William N. Duncan. Cambridge, 2017. 338p bibl index (Cambridge studies in biological and evolutionary anthropology, 75) ISBN 9781107073548, $79.99; ISBN 9781316944301 ebook, $64.00.

This slim volume presents a series of engaging case studies of forensic investigations into the lives and deaths of famous historical figures. The 14 chapters are written by leading anthropologists, forensic scientists, and human rights scholars. Monarchs are, of course, of enduring fascination, and King Richard the Lionheart, King Henry IV of France, Richard III, and the Egyptian pharaohs all make an appearance. Other figures include Robespierre, the Grauballe bog man, Ötzi the Tyrolean Iceman, Robert Kennicott (explorer of Alaska with the Smithsonian Institution), and Francisco de Paula de Marin (19th-century advisor to King Kamehameha I of Hawai’i). A range of sophisticated forensic methods and techniques are used to analyze the skeletons and bodies in order to gain fresh insights into the events and circumstances leading up to the individual’s death. The book succeeds in presenting an excellent review of the biohistorical evidence that can be gleaned from contemporary forensic studies. Equally importantly, the book offers a thoughtful commentary on the theoretical, ethical, legal, and political implications of forensic investigations of historical events and people. For anthropology and history collections. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. —T. Harrison, New York University

Townsend, Mary. The woman question in Plato’s Republic. Lexington Books, 2017. 223p bibl index ISBN 9781498542692, $95.00; ISBN 9781498542708 ebook, $90.00.

In this remarkable book, Townsend (visiting professor, classics, Loyola Univ., New Orleans) takes on the task of providing a detailed analysis of the “woman question” in Plato’s Republic and, specifically, Plato’s proposal that the best of the women share in all of the tasks of the guardians and philosopher rulers of the perfectly just city-state. The proposal is considered laughable (thus labeled the “First Wave”), not only by the interlocutors in the dialogue but by most readers through the centuries. Townsend’s approach differs from most accounts of Plato’s text in two ways: first, she takes his proposal as serious, albeit with elements of humor, satire, and irony; second, she weaves into the discussion a rich account not only of the lives of “ordinary women” in ancient Greece but also of the paradigms of womanly “divinity” of the goddesses of Greek mythology (Athena, Bendis, Artemis, and others), many of whom are dramatic characters in Plato’s dialogues. In taking this descriptive approach, Townsend is able to paint a more complete picture of women in Plato’s Republic and explain why Plato thought women were crucial for the successful rule of philosophy itself. Excellent notes and bibliography. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers. —P. A. Streveler, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Wagner-Martin, Linda. Hemingway’s wars: public and private battles. Georgia, 2017. 250p bibl index ISBN 9780826221254, $40.00; ISBN 9780826273796 ebook, contact publisher for price.

Wagner-Martin (Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) has been publishing on Hemingway for 40 years. Her previous work includes Ernest Hemingway: A Literary Life (CH, Feb’08, 45-3088). The present book synthesizes that lifetime of research and writing. Though perfectly aware of the newest lines of Hemingway research, Wagner-Martin brings front and center all the physical and psychological trauma Hemingway suffered during his times of war, the bullfight, big-game fishing and hunting, and his series of uncommon, head-smashing automobile and airplane accidents. She contextualizes all this by referencing his conflictive family—domineering mother, passive father, four sisters, and one brother and the suicides of paternal grandfather, father, a sister, and his brother, not to mention his own. Wagner-Martin paints a life of private and public wars that had no armistices, took no prisoners, and were increasingly “fought” under the influence of prodigious amounts of alcohol. Already in the late 1930s, when Hemingway was not yet in his 40s, those who knew him best understood that all was not right in his head and in his relations with and treatment of others. This book, like no other study of Hemingway, makes clear the pressures that made him need to experience firsthand the dangerous activities that were the subjects of his writing. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. —S. Miller, Texas A&M University