Editors’ Picks for February 2022

10 reviews handpicked from the latest issue of Choice.

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Blockchain-enabled fog and edge computing: concepts, architectures and applications, ed. by Muhammad Maaz Rehan and Mubashir Rehmani. CRC Press, 2020. 320p bibl index ISBN 9780367457358, $94.95; ISBN 9781003034087 ebook, $94.95.

In recent years, there has been no shortage of excellent texts on blockchain technologies and their applications. The volume under review is another such superb resource. The book is organized in two parts: part 1 covers the Internet of Things (IoT), including smart-city applications and the Internet of Vehicles (IoV), and defines so-called edge and fog computing architectures. Generally speaking, the latter architectures need to operate outside typical cloud systems, a requirement that creates significant technical challenges. Part 2 focuses on explaining some of these challenges and discussing the key areas of cybersecurity and privacy. Architectures that require on-device computing resources are increasingly important and often necessary for implementation of cyber–physical system applications. As various contributors explain, in coming years progress in autonomous system development will continue to be rapid and may be expected to use increasingly powerful edge and fog architectures that must be independent of cloud systems in particular situations. The book is very well edited. All sections will be helpful to readers regardless of their level of technical knowledge. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. —J. Brzezinski, McHenry County College

Dodd, Bill. Solutions journalism: news at the intersection of hope, leadership, and expertise. Lexington Books, 2021. 190p bibl index ISBN 9781793618719, $95.00; ISBN 9781793618726 ebook, $45.00.

This is an intriguing case study using sociological field theory to see how “solutions journalism” and its commitment to democratic hope-spreading may benefit from engagement with political science, positive psychology, entrepreneurship, linguistics, and government. Content analysis of reporting on the 2014 vote to reform Tasmania’s economy—along with its cultural, educational, and health care outlets—exposes conventional journalism’s overreliance on the comments of government and business leaders who are mostly white and male, and who, in turn, default to shopworn metaphors drawn from navigation, construction, and child-rearing. Interviews with the editors of two newspapers in the Australian state combine with firsthand observations of newsroom decision-making to underscore disparities between “journalism as usual” and the goals embraced by solutions journalism. These include the aim to seed reality-based hope in news consumers by enlarging their view of governance and focusing on people and groups already experimenting with fresh ideas. Evidently what distinguishes solutions journalism as described in this book is not so much its reporting of solutions as how it gives space to more than just the “usual suspects” to propose solutions. Despite occasional typographical errors, this thoughtful work of scholarship offers guidance for students and practitioners committed to journalism that upholds democratic norms in an era of rising nationalism. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates. Graduate students, faculty, and professionals. General readers. —R. Pagano, Alaska Pacific University

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Eaton, Sarah Elaine. Plagiarism in higher education: tackling tough topics in academic integrity. Libraries Unlimited, 2021. 230p index ISBN 9781440874376 pbk, $70.00; ISBN 9781440874383 ebook, contact publisher for price.

Eaton (Univ. of Calgary, Canada) provides a thorough overview of current conversations surrounding plagiarism in higher education. In 12 evidenced-based chapters, she discusses recommendations for tackling such dilemmas as self-plagiarism, contract cheating, evaluation, and assessment as it relates to academic integrity, making this a valuable read for anyone with an interest in higher education. Eaton also touches on the impact of open education and open science, as well as decolonization and indigenization of academic integrity. While other books on academic integrity and plagiarism address some of the particulars of international students, she addresses a variety of difficult topics not often considered in those discussions. Eaton’s chapter dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion acknowledges systemic biases in higher education, especially as it relates to plagiarism. She states that “as we engage more deeply in this work, it will be important to include stakeholders from the affected groups in our dialogue and research” (p. 164). This is an excellent survey on current issues of plagiarism in higher education and would be a valuable read for researchers, faculty members, and students alike. Other professionals in higher education would also find this an informative review and reference work. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Advanced undergraduates through faculty; professionals. —C. R. Hilburger, State University of New York at Fredonia

Hinojosa, Felipe. Apostles of change: Latino radical politics, church occupations, and the fight to save the barrio. Texas, 2021. 238p bibl index ISBN 9781477321980, $45.00; ISBN 9781477322017 ebook, contact publisher for price.

Hinojosa (Texas A&M Univ.) examines the intersection of faith and politics during the Black and Brown Power movements, focusing on the struggles to save the barrios around unban spaces in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Houston. He argues that those barrios are the foundation of Latina/o/x history by providing a narrative of the Latina/o/x freedom movements. The book highlights the organizing of community members, organizers, and activists as they transformed churches into staging grounds to challenge poverty, racism, urban renewal, and police brutality. Those struggles paved the way for reformist politics within churches as religious reformers and Latina/o/x radicals clashed, collaborated, and negotiated space in their neighborhoods and churches. The author further highlights the local histories of such groups as the Young Lords, Católicos por La Raza, and the Mexican American Youth Organization as they navigated the radical politics of their barrios. In redefining the politics of faith, Hinojosa analyzes the histories of organizing from spaces of occupation to spaces of sanctuary within churches. Apostles of Change is a vital addition to the research on social movements within religious studies, Chicana/o/x studies, and Latina/o/x studies. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —L. H. Moreno, Bowling Green State University

Life magazine and the power of photography, ed. by Katherine A. Bussard and Kristen Gresh. Yale, 2020. 336p bibl index ISBN 9780300250886, $60.00.

This volume was published as a catalogue for a 2020 exhibition, and it does justice to its subject as well as to the exhibition. Benefiting from the recent opening of the Life magazine archives, photography curators Bussard (Princeton Univ. Art Museum) and Gresh (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) aspired to make this catalogue the definitive history of Life, and in this they succeeded. Life was the flagship publication in the US from the 1930s to the 1970s, a period when still photographs in published magazines were the dominant means of visual communication, and socially concerned photojournalism often informed the leading edge of creative photography. In keeping with the publication’s reputation, the book is massive, measuring 9” x 17”, weighing more than six pounds, and including 232 illustrations, many of them reproductions of pages or double-page spreads from the magazine. In addition it includes critical essays by 25 scholars on topics ranging from the founding and functioning of the magazine and how the magazine identified and processed its stories to how those stories impacted the culture of the day. The magazine’s treatment of women, race relations, and combat are featured through analysis of specific photographers and even of specific iconic photographs, but care has been taken to also identify less-known participants. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; professionals; general readers. —W. S. Johnson, independent scholar

Loveless, Tom. Between the state and the schoolhouse: understanding the failure of Common Core. Harvard Education Press, 2021. 224p index ISBN 9781682535905, $60.00; ISBN 9781682535912 pbk, $34.00.

Loveless, an education researcher, former senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and former representative of the US at the General Assembly of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, effectively examines the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) from its creation to its inadequate outcomes. CCSS was one of the most ambitious education reforms of the past century, promising to raise students’ success, prepare them for both college and careers, and close the achievement gap. Yet, according to the author, CCSS has had little positive impact on student learning over the past decade. Loveless informs policy makers, professors, school administrators, and teachers about the many layers between the state and the classroom, which hinder the effectiveness of any national standard approach. Providing a series of critical lessons that recognize the political and structural challenges of top-down reforms, he claims that top-down policies are unpredictable and vulnerable to the pendulum effect as new reforms are created. This is a must-read text for anyone desiring to understand the debate over the standards movement and the role of federal and state governments in education reform. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; professionals. —N. A. Powers, Northeastern Illinois University

Schlett, James. Frontier struggles: Rollo May and the little band of psychologists who saved humanism. Akron, 2021. 243p ISBN 9781629221304 pbk, $59.95; ISBN 9781629221311 ebook, contact publisher for price.

Most people recognize the important role clinical psychologists play in today’s mental health counseling. But as author and poet Schlett writes here, this role was not foreordained. Rather, psychologists waged a significant multiyear battle against the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in New York to gain the legal standing that would enable accredited psychologists to provide psychotherapy as independent professionals. This volume is strikingly effective in documenting the turf wars that ensued when psychiatrists tried (and failed) to keep psychology subordinate to and under the control of physicians in mental health treatment. The author shows that, as one would expect in a dynamic involving psychology, medicine, law, and politics, the path to legislation was not straightforward and the outcome was uncertain. Behind-the-scenes battles proliferated as the less powerful psychology community tried to overcome the resistance of the significant forces represented by the AMA and APA. This well-written, engaging book describes the birth of the profession of clinical psychology and the importance of the clash between psychoanalytic and humanistic perspectives as a critical subtext throughout the fight. Schlett very effectively shows how a small band of psychologists revolutionized the modern structure of mental health care. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates. Graduate students, faculty, and professionals. —B. C. Beins, Ithaca College

Tchumkam, Hervé. Precarious lives and marginal bodies in North Africa: homo expendibilis. Lexington Books, 2021. 194p bib index ISBN 9781793640758, $95.00; ISBN 9781793640765 ebook, $45.00.

Precarious Lives and Marginal Bodies in North Africa reformulates the idea of expendability and precariousness. Tchumkam (French and Francophone postcolonial studies, Southern Methodist Univ.) explores the concept of homo expendibilis—which posits marginalized civilians as merely disposable bodies that can be dominated, commodified, replicated, and eliminated at will by the governing authoritiesthrough the lens of an eclectic group of lesser-studied Maghrebian authors whose work encompasses numerous timely themes: migration, exclusion, biopolitics, othering, identity, and statelessness. Using a North African colonial framework, detailed sociological approaches, and an array of social scientists and philosophers (such as Giorgio Agamben, Judith Butler, Frantz Fanon, Michel Foucault, and Achille Mbembe), Tchumkam investigates how North African novelists reposition their characters from the precariousness of the periphery to the center. He particularly delineates how the marginalized counter their subordination through relentless resistance and claims to voice and visibility by relying on themselves to rectify injustices sustained at the hands of colonial systems and hegemonic governing states, thus disputing their perennial victimization as they forge new identities and a new definition of citizenship. This impressive, well-researched book would be valuable to students and educators alike in sociopolitical studies and Maghrebian literature. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Advanced undergraduates through faculty. —H. Bahri, The City University of New York, York College

Top secret Canada: understanding the Canadian intelligence and national security community, ed. by Stephanie Carvin, Thomas Juneau, and Craig Forcese. Toronto, 2021. 328p index ISBN 9781487525279 pbk, $36.95; ISBN 9781487536664 ebook, $36.95.

This edited volume, the first of its kind, is an examination of the Canadian government’s security agencies. One volume in the publisher’s “Public Management and Governance” series, its 17 chapters, all by subject-matter experts, are generally well written and accessible. Chapter endnotes provide a ready guide to the literature and past and present legislative bases for the security agencies covered. What is striking is how new some of the departments and organizations that deal with Canadian national security are. Many were created after 9/11 to deal with terrorism and cyber security, and most of the older agencies have received new mandates and greater funding to align with their new responsibilities. However, as various authors make clear, some are adrift, most notably Global Affairs Canada (underfunded and likely understaffed) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which struggles to juggle routine policing across most of Canada with national security tasks. Canada is a member of the “Five Eyes”—US, Australia, Britain, New Zealand, and Canada—that share intelligence. Canada is said to provide some ten thousand reports a year to its partners and in return receives 200,000 reports. This is an extremely valuable collection that should be essential reading for practitioners in Canada and abroad, and for legislators, journalists, and the interested public. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students, faculty, and professionals. General readers. —J. L. Granatstein, emeritus, York University

Waldman, Thomas. Vicarious warfare: American strategy and the illusion of war on the cheap. Bristol University Press, 2021. 320p bibl index ISBN 9781529206999, $42.95; ISBN 9781529207033, ebook, contact publisher for price.

Fighting wars “on the cheap” to avoid or minimize the costs of armed conflict while still aiming to win (or at least not lose) has deep historical roots and ample exemplars. Waldman (Macquarie Univ.) argues that contemporary US strategy and military practice have taken this approach to extremes, posing a host of serious risks if not outright dangers. “Black ops,” surrogate forces, the profusion of defense contractors, drones, precision-guided munitions delivered from afar, cyberwar, reluctance to put “boots on the ground,” the insulation of citizens and policy makers from the horrors and costs of war—these are some of the most obvious modalities of the “American way of war.” All this is well known and has generated a voluminous literature. Given this context, Waldman’s text offers an original synthesis of the evolution of this strategy, a critical and coherent analysis of its many facets, and thoughtful assessments and reflections on their practical, political, and moral hazards. The book should be required reading for students of war, policy makers, and military professionals. A strong candidate for acquisition by university libraries, defense educational institutions, and collections specializing in war and peace, security studies, and international affairs. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates. Graduate students, faculty, and professionals. General readers. —J. P. Smaldone, Georgetown University