Editors’ Picks for September 2017

10 reviews handpicked from the latest issue of Choice.

editors picks covers september 2017

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Campbell, Kenneth L. A history of the British Isles: prehistory to the present. Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. 468p index ISBN 9781474216678, $112.00; ISBN 9781474216685 pbk, $29.95; ISBN 9781474216692 ebook, contact publisher for price.

It is ironic that good, recent, comprehensive histories of Britain are so hard to find, when the minutiae of British history have provided topics for thousands of publications over the past 20 years. Campbell (Monmouth Univ.) addresses this scarcity splendidly in his clear and lively text, incorporating traditional and recent scholarship with a deft hand that avoids the burden of dry prose. In one section, the author explains that the geographic mobility traditionally considered one of the consequences of the 14th-century Black Death actually had begun before the outbreak of the epidemic, as had political discontent among the population, also traditionally attributed to the plague’s aftermath. He points out that the psychological effects of the plague had a significant impact on the interdependence of survivors. Instead of loosening the bonds of community, the experience of the Black Death strengthened connections, even where people moved to other places, creating what Campbell refers to as “networks of village relationships.” In essence, the Black Death only hastened changes that would have occurred eventually. Excellent. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries. —E. J. Jenkins, Arkansas Tech University

Impacts of climate change on allergens and allergic diseases, ed. by Paul J. Beggs. Cambridge, 2016. 193p bibl index ISBN 9781107048935, $125.00; ISBN 9781316786420 ebook, $100.00.

Beggs (Macquarie Univ., Australia) has edited what will likely become a seminal work in environmental health—a volume that details the impact of climate change on allergens. By addressing relationships between a changing global climate and allergens, this book offers readers a thorough assessment of the allergen landscape and projections of future paradigms. Contributors also discuss strategies and approaches to mitigating the effect of allergen paradigms precipitated by climate change. Beggs’s compilation is incisive and straightforward, making the book an invaluable contribution to health and environmental health literacy, and useful to clinicians and patients. Through chapters on the role of indoor and outdoor pollution and health risks, allergic diseases, and implications for future actions in a world destined for radical climate change, the text achieves one of the most coherent analyses of climate change and allergens and allergic disease today. The book is useful for any individual teaching or practicing in the health sciences or in public health, as well as those in the field of environmental science. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above; faculty and professionals. —L. H. Taylor Jr., Oregon Health & Science University

Jolivétte, Andrew. Indian blood: HIV and colonial trauma in San Francisco’s two-spirit community. Washington, 2016. 157p bibl index ISBN 9780295998077, $90.00; ISBN 9780295998503 pbk, $25.00; ISBN 9780295998497 ebook, contact publisher for price.

Jolivétte (American Indian studies, San Francisco State Univ.) qualitatively examines the experiences of HIV-positive members of San Francisco’s Native American mixed-race gay men and transgendered community. Using surveys, focus groups, and community discussion forums, the author constructs a literary narrative about marginalization, discrimination, and coping with HIV. Applying a model of colonial trauma lays the foundation of a psychosocial nexus of interconnected variables that result in high-risk sexual behavior. The author contends that current at-risk behaviors among two-spirit individuals are rooted historically in intergenerational trauma, cultural dissolution, mixed-race cognitive dissonance, sexual violence, and gender and racial discrimination. Addressing these variables, each chapter documents the ways each psychosocial factor relates to other components, producing an interlocking system of trauma and oppression. The result, the author argues, is an intervention model that positions this marginalized population at the research center, creating an effective public health approach grounded in justice and self-determination. A welcome addition to the small but growing health literature about gay and transgendered mixed-race Native men, the work stands as a significant contribution that will certainly initiate further discussion, debate, and empirical investigations. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All academic levels/libraries. —G. R. Campbell, The University of Montana

Kashatus, William C. Suicide squeeze: Taylor Hooton, Rob Garibaldi, and the fight against teenage steroid abuse. Temple, 2017. 229p index ISBN 9781439914380, $35.00; ISBN 9781439914403 ebook, $35.00.

Kashatus, a historian, educator, and amateur baseball coach, investigates the tragic stories of two extremely talented young male student-athletes, Taylor Hooton and Rob Garibaldi, who abused anabolic steroids, supplements, and other appearance and performance-enhancing drugs (APEDs) to get bigger and stronger, and become better baseball players. Inspired by major league sluggers like Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez, and Barry Bonds, these teens added weight and muscle strength, but their personalities and behavior drastically changed. There were warning signs, but their parents and coaches did not recognize nor suspect steroid abuse; the concerned parents eventually did get psychiatric help for their sons, but the medical profession was unfamiliar with withdrawal treatment for the combination of APEDs with antidepressants and/or other medications. Hooton and Garibaldi’s parents each testified before Congress and worked to educate parents, coaches, teachers, students, legislators, Major League Baseball, etc., to try to prevent the teen misuse of APEDs that led to their sons’ suicides. Kashatus thoroughly reviews student-use surveys, testing issues, and signs and symptoms of APED use and dependence, and makes important recommendations for parents, school administrators, legislators, and law enforcement. This work is strongly recommended for an array of readers. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. —E. R. Paterson, SUNY College at Cortland

Krause, Peter. Rebel power: why national movements compete, fight, and win. Cornell, 2017. 248p index ISBN 9781501708558, $89.95; ISBN 9781501708565 pbk, $24.95.

Krause sets out to explain why some nationalist movements succeed and others fail, based on fieldwork on no less than four case studies: Israel, Palestine, Algeria, and Northern Ireland. He argues that the key factor in explaining why groups initiate violence, and why some succeed, is movement structure. The key to success is the emergence of a single hegemonic organization that exercises leadership over the nationalist movement. Krause examines the evolution of rival groups over decades of nationalist struggle in each of the four cases. Competition for power between rival factions fatally weakened the Palestinian movement, while the Algerians and Israelis achieved strategic breakthroughs in periods when a hegemonic group had emerged. Empirically rich and logically rigorous, Krause’s original approach will attract a lot of attention from scholars of nationalism and insurgency. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —P. Rutland, Wesleyan University

Margalit, Avishai. On betrayal. Harvard, 2017. 332p index ISBN 9780674048263, $26.95.

A distinguished philosopher well known for his work on social and ethical issues, Margalit (Hebrew Univ., Jerusalem) tackles the notion of betrayal in a down-to-earth yet scholarly manner. To do so he draws on religious, literary, and philosophical texts, historical events, and case examples (e.g., Bernard Madoff). In the context of close or “thick” relationships, adultery is presented as the paradigmatic example, just as treason is paradigmatic in a social and political context. The analyses are carried out carefully, with a keen awareness of changing historical and social contexts. For example, the author discusses how adultery has come to be judged less severely and more as a private matter in modern Western societies. In discussing treason, he shows a thorough grasp of history, taking the reader from the early Greeks, through WW II, and on to contemporary events in the Middle East, especially in Israel. Though there is little discussion of psychological studies of betrayal aside from consideration of Freud’s views, this a remarkable study of an important human phenomenon. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers. —S. Halling, Seattle University

Pfitzinger, Scott. Composer genealogies: a compendium of composers, their teachers, and their students. Rowman & Littlefield, 2017. 613p bibl ISBN 9781442272248, $150.00; ISBN 9781442272255 ebook, $149.99.

This unique reference tool by Pfitzinger (Univ. of Wisconsin–La Crosse) consists entirely of an alphabetical list of more than 17,300 composers’ teachers and notable students, giving dates and country of origin (and for some, primary countries of association). The entry for American composer John Knowles Paine (1839–1906), for example, lists three teachers and 16 students; one can readily discover here that his teachers were German and his students mostly American—some of whom achieved modest renown. Other composers’ entries show more teachers and, in many cases, dozens more students; those for Aaron Copland and Howard Hanson feature extensive listings of students. These social network and genealogical connections are important insofar as they trace the special influence composers can have on their students through time. Coverage is limited to composers of classical works (or in some cases, stretching the definition to include “cross-over” composers such as Herbie Hancock). Some known primarily for their stature in performance rather than composition also appear in these pages. The internationally known Austrian pianist Artur Schnabel (1884–1951), for instance, is shown to have had two teachers and no fewer than 20 students in composition, some of whom were also performers. An essential addition for all libraries maintaining comprehensive music collections. Summing Up: Essential. Undergraduates through professionals/practitioners; general readers. —J. E. Druesedow Jr., Duke University

The SAGE encyclopedia of marriage, family, and couples counseling, ed. by Jon Carlson and Shannon B. Dermer. SAGE Reference, 2017. 4v bibl index ISBN 9781483369556, $650.00; ISBN 9781483369549 ebook, contact publisher for price.

This sweeping, authoritative encyclopedia edited by Carlson (Adler Univ.) and Dermer (Governors State Univ.) brings together a broad range of concepts and disciplinary literature from the fields of social work, psychology, counseling, and marriage and family therapy. The four-volume set contains more than 500 alphabetically arranged, signed entries by nearly 400 experts in the field, each offering references to further readings. All of the volumes contain a comprehensive alphabetical list of entries and a reader’s guide with entries arranged by subject. Volume 1 includes the list of contributors. Back matter in volume 4 features an excellent 20-page overview entitled “The History of Marriage, Family, and Couples Therapy,” as well as a resource guide of professional associations and organizations, selected readings (not an exhaustive list of further readings extracted from the entries), and a detailed index.

The uniqueness, range, and scope of the subject matter set this reference work apart from others. It covers more content than complementary handbooks, such as The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Couples and Family Relationships (CH, Sep’12, 50-0362) or the Handbook of Couples Therapy, ed. by Cathy A. Malchiodi (2003). The entries are written to be accessible to readers at all levels, and the price is reasonable considering the wealth of information offered. Overall, there few shortcomings, although “The History of Marriage, Family, and Couples Therapy” could be in a more prominent spot as it acts as an informative introduction and a history of the field, and the list of contributors would be more useful if it were cross-referenced with entry titles and provided disciplinary affiliations. This encyclopedia is a must-have for academic libraries with marriage, family, and couples-counseling programs. The user-friendly ebook version is available via the SAGE Knowledge (CH, Mar’13, 50-3587) platform. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Beginning students through researchers/faculty; practicing professionals. —N. Nero, Princeton University

Taranto, Stacie. Kitchen table politics: conservative women and family values in New York. Pennsylvania, 2017. 286p index ISBN 9780812248975, $55.00; ISBN 9780812293852 ebook, $55.00.

Taranto (Ramapo) examines why middle-class, Catholic, Democratic women in the four downstate counties around New York City became politically active and increasingly conservative. Her first two chapters describe the movement of five staunchly Catholic families from the city boroughs. In the 1970s, their beliefs were threatened by the legalization of abortion in New York and the positions espoused by the National Organization for Women. Chapter 4 describes how the proposed Equal Rights Amendment stimulated increased grassroots political activism by these suburban housewives. Ellen McCormack’s right-to-life candidacy in the 1976 Democratic presidential primary produced three delegates to that year’s convention and strengthened local political organizations based on the importance of motherhood, homemaking, and the nuclear family. These values “provoked a visceral and raw” response to modern feminism and encouraged movement toward the Republican Party. Statewide, Rockefeller’s exit as a moderate governor and D’Amato’s defeat of the liberal Javits for the Senate moved the Republican Party to the Right and made it especially attractive to middle-class, Catholic, suburban housewives. This is an exceptionally useful analysis of late-20th-century political dynamics that have continued to play an important role on the American political scene. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. —R. Heineman, Alfred University

Zwerdling, Alex. The rise of the memoir. Oxford, 2017. 238p bibl index ISBN 9780198755784, $90.00; ISBN 9780191816918 ebook, contact publisher for price.

Zwerdling (emer., English, Univ. of California, Berkeley) uses case studies of major authors to explore the roots of the recent explosion of memoir as a “separate, independent literary form—not ancillary but primary, with its own interconnected history and classic works that repay close attention,” as he writes in the introduction. Despite the surprise that Zwerdling is surprised by this discovery, his close reading of the memoirs of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Edmund Gosse, Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, Vladimir Nabokov, Primo Levi, and Maxine Hong Kingston offers an intriguing view of the difficulties of self-invention through memoir. Drafts (often over many decades), correspondence, and other evidence reveal the often-tortured writing processes, as authors discover—each in his/her own very different way—a “new” mode of writing through which to explore issues of self-fashioning within and against family dynamics, reputation, and cultural expectations. Each chapter will be valuable to readers interested in the particular writer, and the whole will be provocative for students of the genre. As Zwerdling observes, memoir has become so diverse that it defies attempts to label fundamental traits. This study reaffirms this difficulty in that the author offers no overall conclusion—unless it is that any writer compelled to venture into memoir must to a large degree reinvent the genre. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. —M. F. McClure, Virginia State University