Editors’ Picks for October 2017

10 reviews handpicked from the latest issue of Choice.

Colwell, Chip. Plundered skulls and stolen spirits: inside the fight to reclaim Native America’s culture. Chicago, 2017. 348p index ISBN 9780226298993, $30.00; ISBN 9780226299044 ebook, $18.00.

Museums and other institutions holding Native American collections have been working with NAGPRA—the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act—since its passage in 1990, with varying degrees of support, hostility, cooperation, and challenge. In this very accessible book, Denver Museum of Nature & Science curator Colwell discusses his and the museum’s work with Native communities and objects. Particularly significant is the discussion of Calusa remains held by the museum. Because of specific legal definitions and scant historical documentation, those remains originally were classified as “culturally unaffiliated”—essentially left in limbo, unconnected to the tribal entities of today. Colwell carefully works through what this meant for the museum and for the Native people seeking repatriation, as the law and its interpretations changed over time. (Those remains were eventually returned.) The narrative or storytelling form of writing will work for general readers and Native communities as well as for scholars and museum professionals. This powerful book will be of particular importance to those working in museum and tribal settings, but is highly appropriate for anyone interested in cultural heritage and the legal efforts to manage claims for Native patrimony. Summing Up: Essential. All public and academic levels/libraries. —F. W. Gleach, Cornell University

Dictionary of midwestern literature: v.2: Dimensions of the midwestern literary imagination, ed. by Philip A. Greasley. Indiana, 2016. 1,057p bibl index ISBN 9780253021045, $85.00; ISBN 9780253021168 ebook, $84.99.

The first volume (CH, Dec’01, 39-1919) of this projected three-volume series by Greasley (Univ. of Kentucky) began with a short essay on the origins and development of literature in the Midwest and devoted over 500 pages to author entries. Volume 2 is nearly double the size and intended to complement or supplement the earlier release, focusing on 35 essential works of fiction, nonfiction, drama, and poetry. Entries flesh out the great historical, racial, and ethnic context of this culturally complex region of the US, focusing on literary genres and publications as well as social movements. A few entries’ titles give an idea of the great range of its subject matter: “Immigrant and Migrant Literature,” “Arab American Literature,” “Regional Theatre,” “Printing and Publishing,” “The Little Review,” “Archetypes,” “Captivity Narratives,” “Farm Literature,” and “Architecture” (treating writers such as Helen Hooven Santmyer, who have insightfully conveyed the importance of place). Ranging from a few pages to 20 or more, Greasley’s entries are uniformly organized into sections (overview, history and significance, selected works, and further reading) with plentiful cross-references in upper-case font. There are fine black-and-white illustrations throughout and a voluminous index. This excellent—really, unique—resource belongs in all libraries collecting American literature, especially those supporting the study of Midwestern authors. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All libraries, all levels. —M. P. Tosko, University of Akron

The Handbook of science and technology studies, ed. by Ulrike Felt et al. 4th ed. MIT/Society for Social Studies of Science, 2016 (c2017). 1,190p bibl indexes ISBN 9780262035682, $75.00; ISBN 9780262338103 ebook, $53.00.

With roughly a decade between this fourth edition of The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies and the previous edition (CH, Jun’08, 45-5536), new scholars have had time to find their voices and provide a fresh perspective on a field moving forward. Many articles in this edition cite the beginnings of a new canon, created by those who were working on their PhDs when there were still only two editions. The new work starts with a subject absent from prior handbooks—a discussion of methods. The essays are then broken out into core themes in the field: knowledge, technology, science, and embeddedness. Key takeaways from the work revolve around reflexivity, the diaspora of the objects of study, ethics, governance, discourse, integration of methods and ideas from related disciplines, the plurality of voices, and activism. Unlike previous editions, the fourth makes a concerted effort to address scholars outside the field of science and technology studies. Aside from a few essays that fail to escape their own jargon, the book does an admirable job of making the field accessible, if with a slight loss of depth. Summing Up:Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above; researchers and faculty. —P. L. Kantor, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy

Kalba, Laura Anne. Color in the age of Impressionism: commerce, technology, and art. Pennsylvania State, 2017. 266p bibl index ISBN 9780271077000, $84.95.

In this beautifully conceived and written book, Kalba (Smith College) shows her depth of vision and understanding of the relationship between Impressionism and the technological advances that allowed Impressionism to have such a unique impact on society in the late 1800s and beyond. The examples are well chosen, and the book is a joy to experience. Kalba does not delve into the technological details of pigments and dyes at a molecular level (no chemical structures are shown or discussed), but the realities of the color/style relationships that evolved are clear. The discussion of not only fashion and art but also fascinating topics such as fireworks, posters, artificial flowers, and color photography show how pervasive the search for new colors and new ways to present/use them (e.g., Michel-Eugène Chevreul’s color theories) challenged and impacted not only Degas, Renoir, Monet, and their critics but all of France and indeed Europe. This study is a must have for its insightful contributions to the field. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. —J. Allison, The College of New Jersey

Kupchik, Aaron. The real school safety problem: the long-term consequences of harsh school punishment. California, 2016. 165p index ISBN 9780520284203 pbk, $29.95; ISBN 9780520959842 ebook, $29.95.

Over the past several decades, the attention given to school safety has escalated, particularly considering widely publicized school violence. The author offers a thoughtful discussion of the various actions school officials and politicians have implemented in the name of school safety. Though numerous tragic events have accelerated many of these actions, the author methodically analyzes the unforeseen, detrimental effects of overreactions and how these have impacted the lives of students, particularly those from diverse or impoverished backgrounds. Although the media spotlight has focused on the tragic events of large-scale school shootings, the author thoughtfully examines all acts that inhibit a safe school climate for all students. The nature of the discussion is both meaningful and engaging. However, the most compelling components of the text are the author’s analyses of various data. For example, though the analysis of disciplinary practices and its negative effects on students from African American or Latino backgrounds is anticipated, the review of data on the likelihood of their future civic and political participation as adults is impressive. This type of complicated insight on all issues of school safety elevates this text into a necessary read. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through practitioners. —G. Moreno, Northeastern Illinois University

Michney, Todd M. Surrogate suburbs: black upward mobility and neighborhood change in Cleveland, 1900–1980. North Carolina, 2017. 334p index ISBN 9781469631936, $85.00; ISBN 9781469631943 pbk, $34.95; ISBN 9781469631950 ebook, $33.99.

Tracing the movement of black middle-class migrants from Cleveland’s inner city to peripheral areas within the city, Michney (history and sociology, Georgia Institute of Technology) challenges the notion that all post-WW II African Americans were trapped in massive second ghettoes. Focusing on several of the city’s eastern and southeastern neighborhoods, he demonstrates that black Clevelanders with greater resources were able to obtain better living conditions and educational opportunities for their children. Although African Americans lived in peripheral areas well before 1940, most migrants after 1940 initially entered predominantly white residential neighborhoods. Unlike Detroit and Chicago, where white residents confronted newcomers with violence, these Cleveland neighborhoods remained largely undefended. While the transition from predominantly white to mixed to predominantly black neighborhoods occurred at different rates, dense networks of neighborhood organizations eased the process and confronted problems. Later, black residents adapted these organizations to maintain agency over their lives and neighborhoods. The study does not cover the middle-class black migration from the 1960s to independent suburbs nearby. Michney is sensitive to the complexity of social class in the African American community; his analysis of varied sources is a model for the study of neighborhood social change. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. —J. Borchert, Cleveland State University

The New criminal justice thinking, ed. by Sharon Dolovich and Alexandra Natapoff. New York University, 2017. 346p bibl index ISBN 9781479831548, $45.00; ISBN 9781479801800 ebook, contact publisher for price.

The American criminal justice system is in a state of meltdown; standard approaches have failed. Increasingly, influential scholars and practitioners are abandoning traditional approaches and thinking outside the box in diagnosing problems and offering new solutions. The editors of this book have assembled an all-star cast of interdisciplinary scholars, who present new and thoughtful perspectives on the enduring problems of criminal justice administration and mass incarceration. Together, they offer an array of provocative new approaches to diagnosing the ills of the American criminal process and ways of ameliorating its many problems. The volume does a superb job of covering the range of problems. Chapters include the analysis of crime policy in the administrative state, constitutional criminal procedure, prisoners’ rights, race and criminal justice administration, the many by-products of punishment, and other topics. Together, the contributors make a powerful case for a radical rethinking and restructuring of the American criminal process. This book can profitably be read by criminal justice practitioners, policy makers, and students at all levels. It is a necessary read. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals. —M. M. Feeley, University of California, Berkeley

Rieppel, Olivier. Turtles as hopeful monsters: origins and evolution. Indiana, 2017. 206p bibl index ISBN 9780253024756, $45.00; ISBN 9780253025074 ebook, $44.99.

Turtles as Hopeful Monsters is much more than a dry account of the origin of turtles. The text is about the origins of evolutionary novelty—a topic that manifests itself in several classical, historical, and ongoing debates in evolutionary theory. The traditional explanation for how evolution works is embedded in genetic variation and Darwinian natural selection, but the observed phylogeny (patterned relationships) in the fossil record often shows saltational origins of new body plans without morphological intermediates to ancestral forms. Rieppel, Rowe Family Curator of Evolutionary Biology at the Field Museum in Chicago, traces the historical origins of macroevolution (“hopeful monsters”) through a long line of principally German scientific thought, leading readers to a thorough understanding of a modern view of the results of change in regulatory gene expression during the evolution of the vertebrate skeleton. His most excellent description of development of the vertebrate skull enables readers to understand the seemingly esoteric aspects of the debate on the origin of turtles—a deliberation that is traced through pre-Darwinian biology to the present day. This wonderfully illustrated book should be on the shelf of any individual whose teaching even touches upon vertebrate paleontology. Summing Up: Essential. All readers. —P. K. Strother, Boston College

The SAGE encyclopedia of LGBTQ studies, ed. by Abbie E. Goldberg. SAGE Publishing, 2016. 3v bibl index ISBN 9781483371306, $595.00; ISBN 9781483371313 ebook, contact publisher for price.

These three volumes offer over 400 alphabetically arranged entries focused on LGBTQ experiences across the life cycle: intersections between various identities, such as race and abilities; institutions that affect the LQBTQ experience; and theoretical foundations for research. The editor, psychologist Goldberg (Clark Univ.)—author of Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children (CH, Mar’10, 47-4128)—explains in a very brief introduction the need for such an encyclopedia, how the editorial team determined what content to include and sought out the contributors, and what structure the work would take. The contributors’ signed entries are interdisciplinary in nature, covering wide-ranging topics such as body modification, cisgenderism, gaydar, lesbian “bed death,” wills and trusts, and work environments. Each volume begins with a list of entries and a reader’s guide arranged into 15 subdivisions, demonstrating how the topics are interrelated.

An extensive array of subject experts have contributed the signed articles, which average 1,000–3,000 words in length; each concludes with a bibliography for further reading and see also references directing the reader to other articles. A user seeking information about HIV/AIDS, for example, will discover numerous articles in the set about families’ social support for those with the disease and treatments of racial/ethnic disparities, as well as general health-related topics. An appendix includes a list of organizations along with a wealth of journals, books, and websites that relate to the overall themes. However, it is unclear how particular materials were selected for inclusion. An extensive index with see and see also references rounds out the work. The many unique topics that characterize this comprehensive resource—also available on the publisher’s SAGE Knowledge ebook platform (CH, Mar’13, 50-3587)—lend an unparalleled frankness and timeliness to the encyclopedia, which complements rather than replaces comparable works in library collections serving sex and gender studies programs or professionals. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All libraries. All levels. —E. M. Bosman, New Mexico State University Library

Women in game development: breaking the glass level-cap, ed. by Jennifer Brandes Hepler. CRC Press, 2016 (c2017). 223p bibl index ISBN 9781138947924 pbk, $35.96.

Hepler’s Women in Game Development is essentially a special interest discussion panel found at the Game Developer Conference in book form. The edited volume collects and presents experiences and career advice from a wide gamut of women involved in the video game industry, ranging from journalists to independent developers. Through their personal stories, the contributing authors acknowledge the gender inequality and the misogynistic attitudes and obstacles that women face in game development. Ultimately, the book is a call to action not only for women but for the industry as a whole to fight gender discrimination, workplace and internet harassment, and sexist video game content. This text is most strongly recommended for women hoping to enter or who are currently involved in the video game industry. Furthermore, it will be of interest to those individuals who are looking to learn more about gender issues and advocacy in relation to popular digital media. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. —A. Chen, Cogswell College