Editors’ Picks for March 2018

10 reviews handpicked from the latest issue of Choice.

APA handbook of trauma psychology: v.1: Foundations in knowledge; v.2: Trauma practice, ed. by Steven N. Gold; associate editors Joan M. Cook and Constance J. Dalenberg. American Psychological Association, 2017. bibl index ISBN 9781433826535, $395.00.

The editors and contributors to the APA Handbook of Trauma Psychologythoroughly examine virtually every aspect of trauma that is of current interest to researchers and practitioners. Volume 1 (30 chapters) begins with the basics: how to define trauma, demographic and statistical considerations, and discussions of types of traumatic experiences that are likely to lead to long-term traumatic effects. With separate chapters dedicated to military trauma, natural disasters, and types of child abuse, readers are able to explore the similarities and differences in traumatic experiences and their outcomes. The strongest section of volume 1 is the chapter on complex trauma and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), providing a cross-topic conversation on trauma, personality disorders, trauma-related brain changes, and long-term developmental dysfunction. Volume 2 (Trauma Practice) contains 27 chapters dedicated to trauma therapy. A valuable chapter in volume 2 on the prevention of PTSD identifies risk factors, potential early intervention techniques, and direction for psychological first aid. This detailed resource will be invaluable to practitioners and researchers; it will also be of value to graduate students in psychology and counseling. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students, faculty, and professionals. —E. Fisher, Rock Valley College

Jefferson, Gail. Repairing the broken surface of talk: managing problems in speaking, hearing, and understanding in conversation, ed. Jörg Bergmann and Paul Drew. Oxford, 2017. 438p index ISBN 9780190697952, $99.00; ISBN 9780190697969 pbk, $39.95; ISBN 9780697983019 ebook, contact publisher for price.

This collection of writings is the latest published volume of Jefferson’s groundbreaking work in conversation analysis by editors Drew (Loughborough Univ., UK) and Bergmann (Bielefeld Univ., Germany). Contained within are previously unpublished manuscripts, previously unpublished lectures, and previously published key papers. An introduction by the editors firmly establishes Jefferson as a premier scholar and cofounder of the field of conversation analysis. The arrangement of the remaining chapters is intriguing and thought provoking. The reader is introduced to Jefferson’s provocative, unpublished findings on the utterance “uh.” Subsequent chapters, such as “What’s in a Nyem,” offer unique and interdisciplinary perspectives on talk analysis. Jefferson’s work has been built on by many writers who mostly serve to augment her ground-breaking theories. Rapley’s Doing Conversation, Discourse and Document Analysis(SAGE Publications, 2008) is one such book. The contribution of this volume is that it coalesces as a deep and textured analysis of intricate aspects of human interaction. It is both accessible and complicated; readers should have a vested interest in the subject matter before tackling this study. Scholars interested in conversation analysis, however, will find this volume absolutely essential. Summing Up: Essential. Graduate students through faculty. —K. L. Majocha, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Kornhaber, Donna. Wes Anderson. Illinois, 2017. 176p bibl index ISBN 9780252041181, $95.00; ISBN 9780252082726 pbk, $22.00; ISBN 9780252099755 ebook, $19.80.

With eight highly idiosyncratic feature films to his credit since 1996, director Wes Anderson displays a distinctive visual style and an ongoing fascination with individuals (and family members) who confront turmoil, emptiness, and loss in their lives. Anderson’s films have inspired numerous parodies, devoted fans, several academic studies, and even a richly illustrated coffee-table book, Matt Zoller Seitz’s The Wes Anderson Collection (2013). Less extravagant but more straightforward than Seitz’s book, this volume belongs to Illinois’s excellent “Contemporary Film Directors” series. Kornhaber (English, Univ. of Texas, Austin) focuses on Anderson as a collector and curator—as someone who strives not only to arrange and organize, but also to rearrange and repurpose. Following Anderson’s predilection, Kornhaber assembles the contents of the book into a “curio cabinet,” in which she categorizes the eight feature films according to three related themes: families coming together or breaking apart; isolated individuals seeking a different form of kinship; and pairs of protagonists who have forsaken the family completely. The result is a readable and insightful analysis of a vital contemporary filmmaker. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers. —J. I. Deutsch, George Washington University

Lebow, Richard Ned. Avoiding war, making peace. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. 241p index ISBN 9783319560922 pbk, $39.99; ISBN 9783319560939 ebook, $29.99.

This compact, accessible book pulls together a lifetime of work by Lebow, the distinguished critic of deterrence theory. The introduction and conclusion (totaling 84 pages) are freshly written, and the intervening five chapters are reprints of articles or chapters previously published (from 1989–2014). The counter-factual logic of deterrence was central to the Cold War based on a misreading of the 1938 Munich crisis and led to the disaster of Vietnam and the near-disaster of the Cuban missile crisis. Lebow attacks rationalist models, stressing the need to understand the specificity of the historical context and leader psychology: in the face of uncertainty, leaders don’t seek facts, they retreat into illusions. The quest for self-esteem (thumos) is more important than greed or fear as a cause of war. In place of deterrence, Lebow emphasizes the scope for a diplomacy of reassurance. This will be essential reading for any scholar of international security, especially relevant in light of North Korea’s nuclear brinksmanship. Summing Up: Essential. Graduate students through professionals. —P. Rutland, Wesleyan University

Levingston, Steven. Kennedy and King: the president, the pastor, and the battle over civil rights. Hachette Books, 2017. 511p bibl index ISBN 9780316267397, $28.00; ISBN 9780316267403 ebook, contact publisher for price.

The quiet, reserved Martin Luther King, Jr. worked tirelessly to bring the ebullient, extroverted John F. Kennedy to see civil rights as a moral crusade demanding the same urgency the president devoted to the economy and foreign affairs. Needing southern support, Kennedy moved cautiously, while King, the pastor, educator, and activist, chided him for not acting forcefully. King knew the press covered his every word and that the president would read about it. As government inaction caused King to move toward militant protest, he unsuccessfully urged Kennedy to accept a second emancipation proclamation. The violence in Albany, Georgia, and Birmingham, Alabama, along with the attempts to desegregate the universities of Alabama and Mississippi, brought into focus the division between states’ rights and federal power, forcing Kennedy to accept the moral imperative that brought on the civil rights bill. Though neither universally accepted nor always successful, together King and Kennedy altered the American landscape to create legislation moving the nation closer to the Declaration of Independence’s acknowledgement that all are created equal, “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” This book is a must read for understanding the civil rights movement. Summing Up: Essential. All public and academic levels/libraries. —D. R. Jamieson, Ashland University

Mullaney, Thomas S. The Chinese typewriter: a history. MIT, 2017. 481p bibl index ISBN 9780262036368, $34.95; ISBN 9780262340762 ebook, $24.95.

Combining expertise in both Chinese history and the history of technology, Mullaney (Stanford Univ.) spent over ten years conducting an extensive, international study to document the global history of modern Chinese information technology with a focus on the Chinese typewriter. As a character-based language employed by the world’s largest population, Chinese has long challenged inventors interested in developing a typewriter comparable to devices designed for alphabet-based languages. In preparing this penetrating work, the author consulted more than 50 archives, museums, and private and special collections in nearly 20 countries. The study details the experiments and the failures from the 1840s to the 1950s in advancing a workable Chinese typewriter; a planned sequel will extend the history into the information age of computing. This well-researched book offers excellent historical insights into and convincing interpretation of the writing cultures of non-alphabetic Chinese framed against the backdrop of prevailing alphabet universalism and the technological colonialism that China endured. The book is a fascinating read, and the author identifies archives and sources to aid further inquiry. Appendixes feature biographies of key historical persons and a character glossary, and notes and an exhaustive index complete the volume. The title will undoubtedly benefit East Asian studies and culture-history scholars and technology enthusiasts at all levels. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through professionals/practitioners; general readers. —K. T. Wei, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

SAGE Encyclopedia of political behavior, ed. by Fathali M. Moghaddam. SAGE Reference, 2017. 2v bibl index ISBN 9781483391168, $395.00; ISBN 9781483391151 ebook, contact publisher for price.

This timely, two-volume encyclopedia offers 365 signed, alphabetically organized entries by nearly 400 international contributors, each thoroughly cross-referenced with see also references. The contributors’ institutional affiliations are listed but not their disciplines or departments—a puzzling decision in such an interdisciplinary work. A helpful reader’s guide section groups the entries under 11 general themes ranging from cognitive processes to security and terrorism to voting behavior and political campaigns (with discussion of the 2016 presidential campaign prior to the election). The authors’ entries—most over 1,000 words in length, with some up to 3,000 words—provide a concise, clear briefing on their chosen concept along with suggestions for further reading. Editor Moghaddam (Georgetown Univ.), author of The Psychology of Democracy (CH, Aug’16, 53-5425) and other works on the cognitive dimensions of political phenomena, purposefully expands the topical scope beyond the expected subject matter (e.g., totalitarianism, social contract, pacifism, obedience) to more salient, less common topics in entries titled “Self-Help Ideology,” “Do No Harm as a Code of Action,” and “Dominant Power Politics.” Coverage ranges from theoretical discussion (“Group Relative Deprivation,” for instance) to more concrete, descriptive treatments (“United Nations Security Council”). The encyclopedia’s unifying theme is the numerous 21st-century threats to political democracy and the factors supporting civic and social openness. Overall, this title brings together an accessible set of essays as concise sources of information about the concepts, contexts, and practices that frame political behavior. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All libraries. All levels. —W. J. Rafter, West Virginia University Libraries

Schayegh, Cyrus. The Middle East and the making of the modern world. Harvard, 2017. 486p index ISBN 9780674088337, $49.95; ISBN 9780674981096 ebook, contact publisher for price.

Schayegh (Graduate Institute, Geneva) has created an insightful, timely study of the making of the modern Middle East. He traces the development of the Middle East from the 1830s to the 1940s, with a special focus on Bilad al-Sham (Greater Syria), by examining its sociospatial history or, in his words, “transpatialization.” This process, in which cities, regions, states, and global networks remade and transformed one another from the late Ottoman to the early nation-state period, is key to understanding the modern Middle East. Despite an introduction that at times may overwhelm some readers, the book as a whole presents the history of Bilad al-Sham and the making of the modern Middle East in a clear and readable manner. Divided chronologically, each chapter is preceded by a brief narrative story that acts as a useful guide for navigating the following section. The book’s greatest value is that it straddles the Ottoman and post-Ottoman periods. By looking at Bilad al-Sham through the lens of transpatialization, Schayegh provides a useful and innovative means of understanding the emergence of the nation-states of Syria, Lebanon, and Israel/Palestine and their diverse populations. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. —R. W. Zens, Le Moyne College

Thomas, Harry. Sissy!: the effeminate paradox in postwar US literature and culture. Alabama, 2017. 240p bibl index ISBN 9780817319632, $49.95; ISBN 9780817391485 ebook, $49.95.

Complicating Michael Kimmel’s “specter of the sissy” motif in American manhood, Thomas (Durham Academy) illuminates the flip side of masculinity through his discussion of “fascinating effeminacy.” Thomas begins with the dilemma of a culture that murders men for effeminacy but also promotes drag figures such as RuPaul on television. Moving from this contradiction, Thomas reads a variety of texts from James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room (1956) to Twilight and Angels in America to point up the paradox surrounding effeminate men in post–WW II American culture and to illuminate the contexts in which they sparkle or shine. Thomas argues that stereotypically, effeminate men are shunned but in fact they are treated as both objects of fascination and threats to the dominant order. He articulates the grotesque as the means by which effeminacy is most often portrayed, tying it to notions of hybridity that further the effeminate paradox in American culture. Thomas’s work provides a valuable corrective and adds to masculinity studies, reminding readers of the fluidity of gender categories and the importance of refusing to reify rigid gender binaries or to accept heteronormative visions of the world. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —D. E. Magill, Longwood University

Wilk, Christopher. Plywood: a material story. Thames & Hudson, 2017. 240p bibl index ISBN 9780500519400, $45.00.

Wilk, keeper of furniture, textiles, and fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, created this book to coordinate with a 2017 exhibition at the museum. The book begins with information pertaining to the basics of plywood: its composition, history, and manufacture. In the insightful and interesting chapter “‘Plywood Flies and Fights’ (1911–1945),” there is a discussion of the application of plywood technology to aircraft design and construction, including the Mosquito (one of the fastest airplanes of World War II—faster than any other bomber, until the advent of jet aircraft). There is also a discussion of Howard Hughes’s giant airplane (the “Spruce Goose”), which was made using birch and balsa wood in a manner similar to the Mosquito. The use of plywood in residential construction, boat building, and cars is examined. The concluding chapter, “The Fall and Rise of Plywood (1960s–today)” offers updates on the uses of plywood and its promising future. This is a well-written and well-researched book with excellent photographs and graphics. It presents an important and often neglected material in terms of its history, properties, and multitude of applications. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. —A. M. Strauss, Vanderbilt University