Editors’ Picks for September 2018

10 reviews handpicked from the latest issue of Choice.

Abrams, Jeanne E. First Ladies of the republic: Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, and the creation of an iconic American role. New York University, 2018. 312p bibl index ISBN 9781479886531, $28.95; ISBN 9781479863075 ebook, contact publisher for price.

Abrams contributes a substantive study of the first three (precedent-setting) First Ladies (a term not coined until the mid-19th century). With their disparate backgrounds and personalities these women helped shape an undefined, unpaid, sometimes overlooked position into a position of influence and consequence. Personal connections abounded among the three—although Abigail and Dolley never met, Abigail and Martha developed a lasting friendship, and Martha may have encouraged Dolley’s marriage to Madison. Abrams skillfully reinterprets surviving correspondence, building on the work of historians such as Catherine Allgor, Holly Shulman, and Rosemarie Zagarri. The author points out that the three First Ladies were politically pragmatic historical agents acting within the limited public and private dimensions then accorded even well-placed women. All three left traditional domestic roles out of necessity. All three had stronger relationships with their spouses than with their own children and enjoyed long marriages. The author corrects earlier historians’ hopeful interpretations by pointing out that neither Abigail nor Dolley was a precursor to modern feminism. Although the often-admirable Abigail opposed the institution of slavery as incompatible with US liberty, she reflected her time with her sometimes patronizing and racist attitudes. Earnest, balanced, insightful, well researched, and browsable, this is a rich source of information. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. —F. J. Augustyn Jr., Library of Congress

Adalet, Begüm. Hotels and highways: the construction of modernization theory in Cold War Turkey. Stanford, 2018. 286p bibl index ISBN 9781503604292, $90.00; ISBN 9781503605541 pbk, $29.95; ISBN 9781503605558 ebook, contact publisher for price.

Do not be fooled by the title of this insightful study linking high-level theory (i.e., “modernization” theory) to crucial post-1945 Cold War political realities (namely, modern Turkish political development plus American foreign policy goals). Who knew that modernization theory played a real-world role in shaping Turkish development and “democracy” during and after the Cold War? And who suspected that far-flung “modernizing, civilizing and democratizing tasks” were assigned to Turkish highway construction during the Cold War, or that the Hilton Hotel in Turkey was built as a “bulwark against the threatening march of Communism.” Adalet’s deeply researched work regards modernization theory (e.g., Rustow, Lerner, et al.) as shaping the “central components” of US Cold War policy in the region. Wide-ranging chapters deal with modernization theory, sociological methods (e.g., survey research), and the role of highways and hotels in shaping modern Turkey. While the term “modernization” seems one more academic theory, Adalet sees it as a tool in the US political tool kit. On multiple levels, this is an important study of how the link of “theory” to “practice” serves key political interests. Must reading across several disciplines. Summing Up: Essential. Graduate students through faculty. —H. Steck, emeritus, SUNY College at Cortland

APA handbook of the psychology of women: v.1: History, theory, and battlegrounds; v.2: Perspectives on women’s private and public lives, ed. by Cheryl B. Travis and Jacquelyn W. White. American Psychological Association, 2017 (c2018). 2v bibl index ISBN 9781433827921, $395.00.

This 2-volume set, the 26th installment in APA’s “Handbooks in Psychology” series, is the first handbook to exclusively address the psychology of women. This work should be considered the authoritative reference on the psychology of women, reviewing the theory, science, and practice. In the first volume (History, Theory and Battlegrounds), various authors describe the emergence of the field with a careful analysis of the history of feminist constructs and scholarship, feminist critiques of existing scholarship, and innovative methodologies—overall, a rich representation of the history of psychology as it was influenced by the women’s movement and feminism. The authors are leaders in this development, or very close to the first generation of feminist scholars. The second volume (Perspectives on Women’s Private and Public Lives) presents thorough summaries of research on well-being, gender and sexual orientation, aggression in intimate relationships, clinical perspectives in therapy, stereotyping in health care, research bias, leadership, career challenges, global issues, and human rights. This handbook demonstrates the extensive scholarship on women’s experience and feminist theories as it applies to research, training, and practice. Its publication marks a significant shift in the field of psychology over the last 50 years, as researchers and clinicians have developed a new schema for understanding the psychology of women, and ultimately for all human beings. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals. —D. L. Loers, Akoan Consulting

Eigen, Edward. On accident: episodes in architecture and landscape, ed. by Chelsea Spencer. MIT, 2018. 373p index ISBN 9780262534840 pbk, $26.95; ISBN 9780262344364 ebook, $18.95.

Accidents happen. Some are inconsequential, some dramatic. Some are worth pursuing, which Eigen (Harvard Graduate School of Design) does in this astonishing contribution to the MIT “Writing Architecture” series. “The impulse to narrate,” writes Eigen, “is anything but accidental.” Accidents provide him with unusual narratives on Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles Perrault, John Wood the Elder, Benjamin Delessert, J. M. W. Turner’s sketches of the burning of the Houses of Parliament, rainfall records, and web-based learning. Hedging does not promise much foothold on the High Line, but hedge funds do in exploring the financial maneuvers that established its funding and creation. The unexplained, if brief, disappearance of Trenton architect William Slack in 1898 is tied to Linus W. Kline’s extended essay “The Migratory Impulse vs. Love of Home” (1898). Seemingly random accidents of history, catalog entries, forgotten books, and historical anecdotes open up architectural questions, generally unanswered but also unasked. Eigen’s invention and his writing and references are—to borrow Polonius’s advice to Laertes in Hamlet—“by indirection [to] find directions out.” And new directions are what this collection of essays, all previously published but here completely revised, provide for readers who respect good writing and the absence of jargon. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. —J. D. Hunt, emeritus, University Of Pennsylvania

Ethics and practice in science communication, ed. by Susanna Priest, Jean Goodwin, and Michael F. Dahlstrom. Chicago, 2018. 305p bibl index ISBN 9780226540603, $120.00; ISBN 9780226497815 pbk, $40.00; ISBN 9780226497952 ebook, $40.00.

This interdisciplinary compilation, edited by communication scholars Priest, Goodwin, and Dahlstrom, is expertly organized into three categories, offering a strong theoretical grounding, applications in professional practice, and finally case studies with real-world, topical examples. The specific policy focus of many of the chapters will be invaluable to action-oriented science communicators as well as those who are learning about the significance of this field of study. Concerns for free speech and critical science literacy, as we read in Priest’s chapter, resonate as significant problems that lack a straightforward solution. There are several crossovers from these topics into the open access and open science rhetoric. More timely than ever, this work is of the utmost importance as rapid-paced communication and miscommunication seem to influence public perceptions of policy. As more universities strive to demonstrate the value and impact of their work with external stakeholders, such as through internet resources like The Conversation, we are likely to see increased attention paid to communicating science. Expertly researched and highly readable, this multidisciplinary take is a work of remarkable value. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals. —J. Clemons, University at Buffalo

Pyne, Stephen J. The interior West: a fire survey. Arizona, 2018. 191p index (To the last smoke, 6) ISBN 9780816537709 pbk, $14.95; ISBN 9780816538256 ebook, $9.95.

This sixth volume in Pyne’s fire survey series (vol. 5, CH, Sep’17, 55-0205) adds to the depth and breadth of previous volumes, but it also stands alone as a significant contribution. This is an incredibly readable account of the history of fire, human activity, and landscape change in the Rocky Mountain and Great Basin regions in the western US. Landscape reports from the initial 19th-century USGS surveys, fire history and science, and Pyne’s experiences as a wild land firefighter and scholar connect ecological conditions and fire events to the realities of environmental transition. The format is a narrated road trip presented in five chapters, with a prologue and an epilogue. Focusing mainly on Colorado, Utah, and Nevada, it is especially remarkable for its analysis of events in which longstanding conditions can create sudden megafires. Implications of case studies are generalized to provide regional insights. The pyrogeography of the region reflects cultural and land use changes, including Native Americans’ use of fire; the rise of extractive industry, grazing, and agriculture; and the development of the wild land–urban interface. An invaluable resource for students of fire and residents of the West. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/collections, particularly in the Rocky Mountain/Great Basin regions. —E. J. Delaney, formerly, National Park Service

Rhodes, Gary Don. The birth of the American horror film. Edinburgh University Press, 2018. 420p index ISBN 9781474430852, $140.00; ISBN 9781474430869 pbk, $28.76; ISBN 9781474430883 ebook, $28.76.

In a remarkable work of historical research, Rhodes (Queen’s Univ., Belfast, Northern Ireland) provides what must certainly be the definitive study of the origins of the horror film genre. First, he traces the manifestations of “horror-themed” material well back into the 18th century, considering literature, theater, graphic arts, freak shows, lurid news stories—anything likely to raise a thrill of horror. He then turns to early cinema—the peep shows, the nickelodeons—covering its development from 1895 to 1915. Most popular of the horror figures were witches, ghosts, and devils, but almost all future familiar frights were represented—vampires, werewolves, mummies, monsters, mad scientists, mesmerists, somnambulists, aliens, sinister “others.” The only horror missing from the period was the zombie. Rhodes also enumerates the films based on the works of Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and—especially—Edgar Allan Poe. The sheer volume of films produced is astonishing. Most are lost, of course, but Rhodes does a magnificent job of resurrecting them, using advertising copy, publicity stills, trade magazines, and film criticism to recuperate plots and some notion of style. By its nature, the book is not an easy read: lists of films become tedious. The book is lavishly illustrated. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —W. A. Vincent, Michigan State University

Shmelter, Richard J. The Los Angeles Dodgers encyclopedia. McFarland, 2018. 328p bibl index ISBN 9780786473403 pbk, $49.95; ISBN 9781476628264 ebook, contact publisher for price.

Shmelter, an independent sports historian, has created a comprehensive reference work about a legendary sports team. Organized into seven sections, it covers the players and managers affiliated with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1958–2016. An excellent introduction traces the team from its roots in Brooklyn and the origins of its name (“Trolley Dodgers”). The first section covers each year of the team’s existence in Los Angeles, detailing league rankings, attendance, seasons and playoffs reviews, player transactions, regular season individual statistics, league leaders, All-Star Game selections, and award winners. The following section focuses on individuals, profiling 42 prominent players. Following this is a comprehensive roster, which lists all the players who were with the team since its relocation to Los Angeles and their year(s) of service. The next section profiles the Los Angeles team’s ten managers. Next comes a discussion of the executives who helped build the teams over the years. The following section features essays on famed broadcaster Vin Scully and on “Dodger Dogs.” The final section provides both batting and pitching records from 1958–2016. This is a well-conceived and concise compendium of all things related to this iconic baseball team and an invaluable reference for all libraries. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/collections. —L. Kong, California State University, San Bernardino

Summers, D. J. The business of cannabis: new policies for the new marijuana industry. Praeger, 2018. 171p index ISBN 9781440857867, $37.00; ISBN 9781440857874 ebook, contact publisher for price.

This book is an essential primer on the current state of the marijuana industry. It goes through the complicated history and legal and political framework within which the industry sits. There is huge potential in investing in cannabis as well as massive risk and uncertainty, and this book is an excellent aid in understanding the full picture that surrounds cannabis. With the legalization of cannabis for recreational use in Colorado, Washington, and other states, cannabis is a hot topic. The Business of Cannabis goes into some depth to explain the legal, political, social, and medical environment that governs this industry and related industries. There is real opportunity to enter a relatively untapped market, but some of the regulatory framework that exists mitigates much of this opportunity. This book is an essential work for the present moment that gives insight into the possibilities and pitfalls of entering the marijuana business and the forces at work in the US that constrain the potential of cannabis as a product. It is a great book for any library but especially those in states that have legalized or are considering legalizing marijuana. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through professionals. —A. Dantes, Art Institute of Chicago

Taylor, Joan E. What did Jesus look like?. Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2018. 269p bibl index ISBN 9780567671509, $24.95; ISBN 9780567671516 ebook, contact publisher for price.

In this beautifully written, lavishly artistic, and appealing book, Taylor (King’s College London, UK) challenges readers to reappraise their mental picture of what Jesus looked like. The New Testament makes no claims regarding Jesus’s physical appearance, so Taylor takes on the task of reconstructing how Jesus was construed, visually, through the ages. She takes readers on a visual and historical tour from very early Christian and pagan art through the late Byzantine periods. Through her exposition and examination of Christian and pagan paintings and sculpture, she traces how the enigmatic Jesus of history developed to become the Christ of faith. Taylor has commanding knowledge of Christian iconography and pagan art, and her comparison of the similarities and differences between the two is enlightening. She concludes with a sociocultural and archaeological exploration of the known customs and material remains of Jewish findings from Judea and its environs that reveal what Jesus could have looked like. By tracing the artistic development of Jesus to the archaeological findings of the period, Taylor demolishes the customary and culturally recognized Jesus in favor of a more realistic picture of Jesus’s physical appearance. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —W. J. Pankey, William Rainey Harper College