Editors’ Picks for November 2017

10 reviews handpicked from the latest issue of Choice.

editors' picks november 2017

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The Cambridge handbook of the psychology of prejudice, ed. by Chris G. Sibley and Fiona Kate Barlow. Cambridge, 2016 (c2017). 671p bibl index ISBN 9781107098336, $175.00; ISBN 9781316889770 ebook, $140.00.

Sibley and Barlow’s edited The Cambridge Handbook of the Psychology of Prejudice is an important and timely collection of research. Including both historical and contemporary theory and research findings, the text is segmented into three parts: “General Theoretical Perspectives,” “Prejudice in Specific Domains,” and “Prejudice Reduction and Analysis in Applied Contexts.” Contributions are provided by global scholars from multiple disciplines, bringing contemporary societies into focus with this continuously “growing body of research.” The goal of this volume is to examine prejudice and its role in discrimination, societal and political struggles, and our underlying biases across diverse cultures. Thoroughly researched and documented, the book could easily serve as a text for courses that concentrate on prejudice. The extensive references at the end of each chapter will assist with further research. This work is essential for collections dealing with social psychology and the topic of prejudice and discrimination in all forms. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above; faculty and professionals. —J. Bailey, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute

Conway, Kelly A. Tiffany’s glass mosaics, by Kelly A. Conway and Lindsy Parrott; with contributions by Morgan T. Albahary et al. Corning Museum of Glass, 2017. 272p index ISBN 9780872902107, $75.00.

Lamps and windows come to mind when one thinks about Tiffany glass, but between the 1880s and 1930s the firm also produced extraordinary glass mosaics under the direction of Louis Comfort Tiffany. The mosaics are, of course, fireproof and they resist decay and withstand fading, but Tiffany’s success was due to his dramatic use of color, innovative glass production techniques, and close collaboration with several gifted designers, some of whom are featured in this volume. Glass with specific qualities was unavailable, so the company produced its own. A single piece could include varying translucency, shading, and gradations of color. Wavy textured glass was crafted to simulate drapery and water. Streaked and patterned glass of varying thicknesses offered even more possibilities. Design inspiration and the steps involved to bring a piece from concept to fruition are discussed. Specialized glass cutting and tile setting methods allow the reader to more fully appreciate the talent and skill involved. A variety of exquisite sacred and secular ceilings, walls, floors, and objects are documented in color photographs (all with detailed captions), black-and-white period images, and accessible scholarly essays. Attention to detail, love of color, and innovation assure Tiffany’s place in history. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. —C. A. Ventura, Tennessee Technological University

FitzGerald, Frances. The Evangelicals: the struggle to shape America. Simon & Schuster, 2017. 740p bibl index ISBN 9781439131336, $35.00; ISBN 9781439143155 ebook, contact publisher for price.

In her brief, summary/introduction to The Evangelicals, FitzGerald (a prize-winning journalist and author) writes that to “understand the Christian Right,” one must understand “white Evangelical movements.” The author devotes three chapters to an exploration of the 18th- and 19th-century roots of Evangelicalism. In the balance of the book (chapters 4–17), she focuses on the 20th century, providing a thoughtful examination of the rise, development, and ultimate transformation of the Christian Right. She gives particular attention to key Evangelical figures such as Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, and Francis Schaeffer. In contrast to other interpreters of the Evangelical subculture, FitzGerald includes the voices of those within the Evangelical movement who opposed the work and values of the religious Right. Although the book is intimidating in length, committed readers will be rewarded with an impressive, clear, and authoritative description of a once-powerful force in US culture and politics. This reviewer was left hoping for a revised version that adds a chapter on the impact of the Trump presidency on the movement. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers. —L. H. Hoyle, Campbell University

Hitchcock’s moral gaze, ed. by R. Barton Palmer, Homer B. Pettey, and Steven M. Sanders. SUNY Press, 2017. 331p bibl index ISBN 9781438463858, $90.00; ISBN 9781438463865 ebook, contact publisher for price.

One of the most revered and celebrated of all motion picture directors, Alfred Hitchcock has been the subject of innumerable studies, both popular and scholarly. Hitchcock’s Moral Gaze proves that one can find a multitude of sophisticated philosophical concerns at the heart of Hitchcock’s most celebrated films. Palmer (literature, Clemson Univ.), Pettey (film and literature, Univ. of Arizona), and Sanders (emer., philosophy, Bridgewater State Univ.) group the essays in four sections: “Skepticism,” “Immorality,” “Moralizing,” and “Moral Acts.” Their goal is to introduce “new and compelling perspectives on Hitchcock, who worked through a ‘moral lens’” that “continue[s] to provoke complex and appreciative responses.” This volume serves as a superb example of the rewards to be reaped by applying philosophical inquiries to cinema. These astute, erudite, and rigorous analyses of the morality at the center of Hitchcock’s cinema feature new considerations of such neglected Hitchcock films as The Paradine Case, Under Capricorn, Torn Curtain, and Frenzy. Particularly strong essays include Steven Sanders’s “Hitchcock’s Immoralists,” Sidney Gottlieb’s “Hitchcock the Amoralist,” and Jerold Abrams’s “Hitchcock and the Philosophical End of Film,” all of which should be required reading for film studies students and scholars. This is an indispensable contribution to Hitchcock studies. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. —S. B. Skelton, Kansas State University

Incarcerated women: a history of struggles, oppression, and resistance in American prisons, ed. by Erica Rhodes Hayden and Theresa R. Jach. Lexington Books, 2017. 186p bibl index ISBN 9781498542111, $90.00; ISBN 9781498542128 ebook, $89.99.

This anthology examines the experiences of women in prisons in the US since the early 19th century. The first part of the book, which focuses on the early to mid-19th century, examines several themes, including how incarceration shaped motherhood, the experiences of slaves and formers slaves in the prison system, and efforts to resist the anonymizing effects of prison life in the post-Civil War period. The second part shifts its focus to the Progressive Era, chronicling both prison abuses and acts of resistance. The last part of the book highlights women’s prison experiences in the 20th and 21st centuries, paying particular attention to the regulation of female prisoners’ behavior, sexuality, and mothering choices as well as the politics of imprisoned women’s writing. The collection demonstrates not only the importance of gender but also race, class, geography, and other factors in shaping women’s prison experiences, providing much insight into how women’s experiences differed from men’s and how they differed from each other. Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduate collections and above. —L. M. Puaca, Christopher Newport University

LeMay, Michael C. The American political party system: a reference handbook. ABC-CLIO, 2017. 368p bibl index ISBN 9781440854118, $60.00; ISBN 9781440854125 ebook, contact publisher for price.

LeMay succeeds in authoring a monumental compendium of scholarship and punditry on the American two-party system, including material on the latest presidential election. He delineates six periods of party development, each marked by what he refers to as a “transformative” president. He devotes much attention to the era of hyper-partisanship in which voters and parties are “ideologically consistent.” He parts with some newer work by asserting that primary voters put ideology ahead of pragmatism rather than placing a high priority on winning. Then again, he explains the appeal of “outsiders,” specifically Trump and Sanders. LeMay sees gerrymandered congressional districts as keeping officeholders “pure” lest they jeopardize their reelection chances. Like Sides and Vavreck in The Gamble (Princeton, 2013), LeMay challenges the role of money in presidential elections: case in point—the Clinton versus Trump matchup. Nonetheless, there is a lengthy section on political action committees, super PACs, and party committees in addition to a chapter on major players in party politics. This work belongs at every reference desk; it is a veritable treasure trove of resources. Summing Up: Essential. All readership levels. —M. J. Blumberg, California University of Pennsylvania

Linnebo, Øystein. Philosophy of mathematics. Princeton, 2017. 203p bibl index ISBN 9780691161402, $29.95; ISBN 9781400885244 ebook, contact publisher for price.

Linnebo’s slender volume is an admirable addition to the many existing books on the philosophy of mathematics. It is clear, concise, and well written. The thread of Gottlob Frege’s contribution looms large, while earlier philosophers are generally not included. Even though Bertrand Russell is well covered, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Immanuel Kant are only briefly mentioned. All the salient schools of mathematical thought—logicism, formalism, deductivism, intuitionism, empiricism, and nominalism—are discussed. Additional chapters on mathematical intuition, abstraction, and structuralism round out the book. Only a modest mathematical background is required, and the requisite philosophical concepts are explained. The philosophical issues particular to mathematics, such as Platonism, synthetic and analytic statements, and epistemic and ontological problems, are considered in each context. All in all, this is an excellent introduction to the philosophy of mathematics and should be seriously considered by any individual interested in the subject. Other suggested readings include Mary Tiles’s Mathematics and the Image of Reason (CH, May’92, 29-5176) and Mark Steiner’s The Applicability of Mathematics as a Philosophical Problem (CH, Sep’99, 37-0372). Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above. —R. L. Pour, Emory and Henry College

Martin, Victoria. Transdisciplinarity revealed: what librarians need to know. Libraries Unlimited, 2017. 211p bibl index ISBN 9781440843471 pbk, $85.00; ISBN 9781440843488 ebook, contact publisher for price.

As posited by Martin (Salisbury Univ.)—a scholarly communications librarian and author of Demystifying eResearch (2014)—transdisciplinary research brings together participants from diverse academic disciplines and nonacademic fields and draws on multiple methodologies to investigate and solve real-world problems. Martin provides a thoughtful background to transdisciplinarity, defining the concept and contextualizing it historically and within disciplinary, cross-disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and multi-disciplinary research (helpfully contrasting such perspectives). She addresses librarians’ understanding of the concept by pointing to their opportunities for collaborating in and supporting transdisciplinary research through building and organizing collections, redesigning pedagogy, and developing boundary-crossing mind-sets. Martin presents a thorough review of the literature (each paragraph is jammed with references) and provides an annotated bibliography of essential texts and nearly 30 pages of references. A quick search through various subject databases shows widespread use of the concept, making Martin’s book a timely resource. With transdisciplinarity’s focus on applied research and real-world problems, her book speaks to the urgency felt by many academic librarians and practitioners within and outside academia who are in positions to address what they see as the consequences of increased poverty, environmental degradation, and the dismantling of hard-won social policies. Martin’s book will stimulate interest and provide an excellent grounding in the principles and practice of transdisciplinary inquiry among scholars and practitioners alike; the audience for her treatise is broader than the professional readers she aims to reach. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through professionals/practitioners. —R. Stuhr, University of Pennsylvania

Newfield, Christopher. The great mistake: how we wrecked public universities and how we can fix them. Johns Hopkins, 2016. 430p index ISBN 9781421421629, $32.95; ISBN 9781421421636 ebook, $32.95.

The Great Mistake is a lucid, thorough analysis of the decline of American public universities over the last two generations. By many measures, Newfield shows, the public university is in crisis, a crisis of concept as much as a crisis of management and finance. Drawing on political and economic analysis, as well as his long experience in faculty leadership, Newfield identifies an eight-step cycle of devolution rooted, fundamentally, in America’s deliberate abandonment of the public purposes (and demonstrable public benefits) of state universities. Throughout the analysis, he challenges popular myths about higher education finance: that chasing research grants is highly profitable, that public universities are wasteful and inefficient, that tuition hikes result directly from state cuts, and (most important) that the benefits of public higher education are primarily private. The book’s prose is lively and accessible, incorporating parents’ and students’ perspectives as well as research by prominent scholars. Though the conclusion’s blueprint for change is not as straightforward as readers might hope, the book’s call to arms is convincing. This is an important, timely book. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. —B. Justice, Rutgers University

Peters, Margaret E. Trading barriers: immigration and the remaking of globalization. Princeton, 2017. 321p bibl index ISBN 9780691174471, $95.00; ISBN 9780691174488 pbk, $35.00; ISBN 9781400885374 ebook, contact publisher for price.

Trading Barriers is an ambitious book that challenges the political economy of migration. In contrast to the common explanations that need for workers drives immigration and competition over limited jobs gives rise to anti-immigrant sentiment, Peters posits that people have overlooked the role of the firm in shaping immigration debates and outcomes. She reminds readers that firms can produce with low-cost labor at home or abroad. The ability to move offshore and changes in technology change the political behavior of firms. Business is a powerful interest group because it demands labor, but if it moves its operations offshore, business no longer calls for workers. Further, as technology improves and drives out labor, business again has no need to make political demands. The result of trade openness, firm mobility, and technological advances is a vacuum, leaving only anti-immigration forces in the political fray. Policy makers responded to those demanding change: anti-immigration forces. Peters makes her case examining the US and then applies her theory to two very different cases in Singapore and the Netherlands. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals. —R. A. Harper, York College