Editors’ Picks for January 2023

10 reviews handpicked from the latest issue of Choice.

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The book contends that Pakistan’s success in developing centrifuge technology for uranium enrichment was mostly due to Pakistani research and development, debunking the popular belief that success was based solely on A. Q. Khan’s theft of classified centrifuge design information from the Netherlands.

—M. E. Carranza, Texas A&M University–Kingsville

Ahmed, Mansoor. Pakistan’s pathway to the bomb. Georgetown University, Washington, USA, 2022. 304p bibl index ISBN 9781647122300, $134.95; ISBN 9781647122317 pbk, $44.95; ISBN 9781647122324 ebook, $44.95.

In this excellent book, Ahmed (Center for International Strategic Studies, Pakistan) challenges conventional wisdom about the evolution of Pakistan’s nuclear program, arguing that the country’s “nuclear elite” was already pursuing dual-use latent nuclear weapon capabilities in the 1960s, long before India’s 1974 nuclear test. Using primary and secondary sources, numerous interviews, and previously unseen documents, Ahmed describes in painstaking detail the intricate bureaucratic politics and changing coalitions shaping Pakistan’s path to developing nuclear weapons capability before the May 1998 nuclear tests. The book contends that Pakistan’s success in developing centrifuge technology for uranium enrichment was mostly due to Pakistani research and development, debunking the popular belief that success was based solely on A. Q. Khan’s theft of classified centrifuge design information from the Netherlands. Ahmed also describes the emergence of an autonomous enclave within Pakistan’s nuclear program enabling the rise of an illicit, private proliferation network. This important book is a useful addition to Feroz Khan’s Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb (CH, Jul’13, 50-6413) and Vipin Narang’s Seeking the Bomb: Strategies of Nuclear Proliferation (Princeton, 2022). Summing Up: Highly recommended. Advanced undergraduates through faculty and professionals. —M. E. Carranza, Texas A&M University–Kingsville


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Fortunately for those unfamiliar with the field of rhetoric, deTar carefully explains the terms and theories used in his study.

—R. W. Zens, Le Moyne College

deTar, Matthew. Figures that speak: the vocabulary of Turkish nationalism. Syracuse, 2022. 320p bibl index ISBN 9780815637400, $80.00; ISBN 9780815637264 pbk, $34.95; ISBN 9780815655275 ebook, $34.95.

The field of Turkish studies has grown tremendously over the past two decades with exciting new research touching on a vast array of topics from a diverse group of scholars. With Figures That Speak, deTar (Ohio Univ.) adds an exciting new voice and approach to the field. This work provides a new perspective on Turkish historiography by analyzing nationalism through Turkish rhetorical circulation. Focusing on five concepts that act as figures in modern Turkish speech—Atatürk, religion, military, the minority, and Europe—deTar examines each figure in specific moments in time, showing how each one is represented, signified, and circulated in popular discourse. Although scholars have widely examined the five concepts for decades, considering them and modern Turkish nationalism through a rhetorical lens is a refreshing approach that provides new insights into the history of the Turkish republic. Fortunately for those unfamiliar with the field of rhetoric, deTar carefully explains the terms and theories used in his study. Rhetoricians will also find great value in the addition of Turkish examples to their field. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Advanced undergraduates through faculty. —R. W. Zens, Le Moyne College


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Haney challenges the widely held stereotype that society has about deadbeat dads and shows how this stereotype influences police officers, lawyers, judges, policies, and laws, which in turn exacerbates inequalities in American society.

—C. A. Wernet, University of South Carolina Aiken

Haney, Lynne A. Prisons of debt: the afterlives of incarcerated fathers. California, 2022. 376p bibl index ISBN 9780520297258, $85.00; ISBN 9780520297265 pbk, $29.95; ISBN 9780520969681 ebook, $29.95.

This ethnographic study illuminates how the two largest state systems in the US, the criminal justice system and the child support system, intersect to leave many former prisoners with lifetime sentences of indebtedness. Haney (New York Univ.) shows how state bureaucracies seem to conspire against historically marginalized individuals, leaving indebted fathers beholden to the state and distanced from their children. She illustrates how systems of social exclusion and punishment operate by sharing the haunting stories of men who face the daunting task of navigating debt and a lack of gainful employment while under close surveillance by police. Haney challenges the widely held stereotype that society has about deadbeat dads and shows how this stereotype influences police officers, lawyers, judges, policies, and laws, which in turn exacerbates inequalities in American society. Haney points out that the current system not only harms these fathers but also has a devastating impact on their children and their children’s mothers, who need support. She also shows that even the most disadvantaged fathers can become exceptional caregivers if given the opportunity. This book uncovers structural inequalities and offers potential solutions. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers through faculty; professionals. —C. A. Wernet, University of South Carolina Aiken


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Unlike early work on homelessness and mental illness—research that focused predominantly on the impact of the deinstitutionalization movement —this work addresses mental health among the homeless in terms of social and economic determinants.

—R. E. Osborne, Texas State University

Homelessness and mental health, ed. by João Mauricio Castaldelli-Maia, Antonio Ventriglio, and Dinesh Bhugra. Oxford, 2022. 432p bibl index ISBN 9780198842668, $75.00; ISBN 9780192580276 ebook, contact publisher for price.

This volume edited by Castaldelli-Maia (FMABC Health University Center, Brazil), Ventriglio (Univ. of Foggia, Italy), and Bhugra (Kings College London) is not just another book on the topic of mental illness among homeless people. It is an international look at a global issue. More important, the work assesses the issues involved as bidirectional. This means that certain mental health issues may increase the likelihood an individual will become homeless, and the realities of a homeless life can foster and/or exacerbate mental health issues. Unlike early work on homelessness and mental illness—research that focused predominantly on the impact of the deinstitutionalization movement (see H. R. Lamb, “Deinstitutionalization and the Homeless Mentally Ill,” Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 35.9, 1984)—this work addresses mental health among the homeless in terms of social and economic determinants. They include poverty, unemployment, access to health care, migration, and urbanization. The result is a penetrating look at a widely distributed social ill. To illustrate the importance of this broad perspective, the concluding chapter notes, “[t]he close and cruel relationship between homelessness and mental illnesses needs to be approached both at clinical and policy levels in a joined-up manner (p. 391).” Crucially, the editors offer suggestions on how this can be accomplished in their jointly authored “Conclusions (chapter 27).” Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates. Graduate students, faculty, and professionals. General readers. —R. E. Osborne, Texas State University


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This is a story of the gradual adaptations German Jewish men and their families made in the face of increasing legal restrictions, defamation, and violence. Huebel tells it very well. This is crucial reading.

—M. A. Mengerink, Lamar University

Huebel, Sebastian. Fighter, worker, and family man: German-Jewish men and their gendered experiences in Nazi Germany, 1933–1941. Toronto, 2021 (c2022). 264p bibl index (German and European studies, 43) ISBN 9781487541231, $75.00; ISBN 9781487541248 pbk, $32.95; ISBN 9781487541262 ebook, $32.95.

This fascinating study fills an important gap in the historiography of the German Jewish experience from 1933 to 1941. By focusing on men’s experiences, Huebel (Univ. of the Fraser Valley, Canada; Alexander College, Canada) challenges previous claims about men’s gendered responses to Nazi persecution, which have generally painted them as passive victims. A careful analysis of memoirs reveals how German Jewish men reacted to attacks on their masculinity. The Nazi regime attempted to emasculate Jewish men as veterans, workers, fathers, and husbands, depriving them of opportunities to fulfill socially accepted gendered roles as soldiers and as providers for and protectors of their families. However, as Huebel points out, German Jewish men asserted their masculinity to the extent they could as the regime persecuted and defamed them. This resistance also created opportunities for German Jewish men to fulfill their roles as providers and protectors by creating closer emotional bonds with their wives and children. This is a story of the gradual adaptations German Jewish men and their families made in the face of increasing legal restrictions, defamation, and violence. Huebel tells it very well. This is crucial reading. Summing Up: Essential. Advanced undergraduates through faculty. —M. A. Mengerink, Lamar University


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Shambaugh wisely suggests changing the approach to Asian international relations from a country-by-country area studies strategy to a holistic analysis of the Indo-Pacific as a whole.

—S. C. Hart, William and Mary

International relations of Asia, ed. by David Shambaugh. Rowman & Littlefield, 2022. 514p bibl index ISBN 9781538162842, $130.00; ISBN 9781538162859 pbk, $49.00; ISBN 9781538162866 ebook, contact publisher for price.

Shambaugh (George Washington Univ.) revised and updated his popular edited collection on Asian international relations, which has served as an excellent student reference for many years. His masterful opus offers a nuanced approach to understanding the regional competition that forces many of Asia’s neighboring nations—China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and even Pakistan—to find ways to coexist peacefully. He identifies five particular variables, whose consequences most merit attention: China’s increasingly assertive “wolf warrior” diplomacy; the US-China power rivalry; the emergence of regional multilateralism; a dangerously nuclear Korean peninsula; and, most worrisome, Taiwan—a ticking time bomb. Ancillary problems to add to the mix range from Chinese adventurism in the South and East China Seas and the blossoming China-Russia partnership to aging populations in all the northeastern Asian countries, upcoming leadership changes in several states, and the potential for military accidents in a number of the region’s rivals. Shambaugh wisely suggests changing the approach to Asian international relations from a country-by-country area studies strategy to a holistic analysis of the Indo-Pacific as a whole. Summing Up: Essential. Undergraduates through faculty; professionals; general readers. —S. C. Hart, William and Mary


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Aftermath is a remarkably well-written book that deserves to be widely read.

—J. Fischel, emeritus, Millersville University

Jähner, Harald. Aftermath: life in the fallout of the Third Reich, 1945–1955, tr. by Shaun Whiteside. Knopf, 2022 (c2021). 416p bibl index ISBN 9780593319734, $30.00; ISBN 9780593319741 ebook, contact publisher for price.

This important contribution considers ordinary Germans’ responses to their defeat following WW II. After the war, the German population included nine million people who had been bombed out of their homes, millions of Wehrmacht soldiers returning from captivity as POWs, and 14 million refugees and exiles. As they sought to resurrect their former lives, many Germans viewed themselves as victims of the war—especially those women who were raped by Russian soldiers—given the vast hunger that followed and the black market that exploited their misery. What collective memory in postwar Germany did not examine, however, was the average German’s role in addressing the Holocaust. Drawing from abundant sources, Jähner, a cultural journalist and former editor of The Berlin Times, states “there was no room in many people’s thoughts and feelings for the murder of millions of German and European Jews.” He explains that this blind spot in historical memory was in part due to the survival instinct most Germans experienced, shutting out feelings of guilt when it came to the Jews; unsettling to anyone with faith in humanity. Aftermath is a remarkably well-written book that deserves to be widely read. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers through graduate students. —J. Fischel, emeritus, Millersville University


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Overall, this is an excellent book that can be a resource for readers of all educational levels interested in racial issues in US education.

J. Walker, Culver Stockton College

Race frames in education: structuring inequality and opportunity in a changing society, ed. by Sophia Rodriguez and Gilberto Q. Conchas. Teachers College Press, 2022. 288p bibl index ISBN 9780807766835, $135.00; ISBN 9780807766828 pbk, $44.95; ISBN 9780807780961 ebook, contact publisher for price.

This researched-based compilation of studies explores racial issues in education over the past decade. The book examines the cultural qualitative and quantitative data concerning racial bias in educational settings in the US. Collectively, the well-researched chapters provide readers with data and analysis concerning demographic issues prevalent in society and a variety of educational settings, including the experiences of undocumented youth and first-generation college students, barriers to educational opportunity, and racialization, among other topics. The book provides context and evidence for understanding that “inequity is intentional and the systems of inequity continue to benefit others” (p. 42), as Sarah Walters and Sara Diem write in chapter 2, “A Critical (Re)visioning of School Integration.” Potentially, this book could yield further investigations into the discriminatory practices prevalent in education and may lead others to pursue systemic change to prevent the proliferation of negative practices. Overall, this is an excellent book that can be a resource for readers of all educational levels interested in racial issues in US education. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers through faculty; professionals. —J. Walker, Culver Stockton College


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This work should be on every academic’s must-read list to advance current environmental dialogues.

—L. L. Lovern, Valdosta State University

Tanasescu, Mihnea. Ecocene politics. Open Book Publishers, 2022. 212p bibl index ISBN 9781800643154, $42.95; ISBN 9781800643147 pbk, $21.95; ISBN 9781800643178 ebook, contact publisher for price.

Ecocene Politics offers a unique and important critique of current ecological discussions and studies. This work uses non-Western knowledge to examine the foundational assumptions of Western knowledge itself and current discussions about the environment. Using alternative foundational assumptions, including multiplicity, relationality, reciprocity, and mutualism, this book offers an important phenomenological approach to ecology, politics, and ethics. Though its focus is on establishing a logical and systematic approach to Ecocene politics, this book has significant implications for other disciplines, including linguistics, cultural studies, and ethics. This is a powerful book, examining knowledge theories that traditional, Western thought can no longer marginalize. Though this book requires a background in philosophical epistemology and ontology, it represents a crucial global perspective and a dynamic alternative to the often stagnant traditional studies of ecology. For many, this book will open new avenues of study and activism with its challenges to established assumptions and ideologies. This work should be on every academic’s must-read list to advance current environmental dialogues. Summing Up: Essential. Advanced undergraduates through faculty and practitioners. —L. L. Lovern, Valdosta State University


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This book is a must-read for anyone interested in systemic inequality in work and occupations.

—M. Gatta, CUNY-Guttman

Twine, France Winddance. Geek girls: inequality and opportunity in Silicon Valley. New York University, 2022. 296p bibl index ISBN 9781479803828, $30.00; ISBN 9781479803835 ebook, contact publisher for price.

Geek Girls is a critical, significant sociological work on structural inequality in technology occupations. Drawing on her extensive ethnographic interviews and framing those experiences within an intersectional lens, Twine (Univ. of California, Santa Barbara) provides a multi-vocal account of the sexism and racism present in Silicon Valley and contributes a seminal book that will advance readers’ understanding of occupational inequality beyond the technology industry. Twine uses her deep ethnographic data from women across the spectrum of gender, racial, and ethnic identities and countries of origin to illustrate nuanced concepts—e.g., the glass wall, bonding capital, geek capital, and first- and second-generation technology workers—that reproduce systemic inequities pertaining to gender and race. The author carefully demonstrates how “myths,” such as leaky pipelines and meritocracy, can obscure the larger systemic inequality at play and how social capital and networks reinforce that same inequality. She also shares insights into ways to address this inequity based on her interviews with women in Silicon Valley. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in systemic inequality in work and occupations. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; professionals. —M. Gatta, CUNY-Guttman