Top 20 OAT Titles of 2019 (part 1 #11-20)

Here are the #11-20 of most popular titles in our 2019 Outstanding Academic Titles list, based on the number of page views recorded for each review.

20. Impeachment : what everyone needs to know
Gerhardt, Michael J. Oxford, 2018

The subtitle—What Everyone Needs to Know—is descriptive of the book’s scope. This is particularly relevant in the current political climate, in which Trump’s political adversaries regularly threaten to impeach him. Gerhardt (UNC-Chapel Hill) leaves no stone unturned. The political, constitutional, legal, procedural, and historical dynamics of the impeachment process are addressed. Moreover, impeachment in the states and international examples are brought into the mix. This is not a slight accomplishment in a relatively brief book. There are numerous insights into the impeachment process, e.g., it is a legal and political proceeding; the grounds for impeachment, i.e., what are high crimes and misdemeanors; and who may be impeached.
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19. The rise of neoliberal feminism
Rottenberg, Catherine. Oxford, 2018

This compelling book details the emergence of a new feminist ideal that is less concerned with social justice than with individual women’s ability to balance home and work. This scathing critique of what Rottenberg (Univ. of London, UK) terms neoliberal feminism is presented through careful analyses of contemporary manifestos, such as Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In (CH, Dec’13, 51-2183), Ann-Marie Slaughter’s Unfinished Business (Random House, 2016), Megyn Kelly’s Settle for More (Harper Luxe, 2016), and Ivanka Trump’s Women Who Work (Portfolio, 2017). To analyze these texts, Rottenberg draws on the theoretical work of Wendy Brown and others to frame neoliberalism as not only a set of economic practices but also a recasting of humans as “capital enhancing subjects.”
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18. Pan–African American literature: signifyin(g) immigrants in the twenty-first century
Li, Stephanie. Rutgers, 2018

In writing this book, Li (Indiana Univ., Bloomington) had two interrelated goals: to explore the intertextual relationship between new pan–African American writers and the African American literary tradition and to advance the idea that the dominant 21st-century narrative is that of state-sanctioned violence against the black body. In her powerful introduction, Li interrogates Toni Morrison’s assertion that immigrants to the US must learn racial estrangement to complete their assimilation. The view of the black body as alien has powerful ramifications for new African immigrants. In the book’s five chapters, Li explores how recently immigrated African writers—Dinaw Mengestu, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Yaa Gyasi, Helen Oyeyemi, NoViolet Bulawayo, et al.—mediate race in their encounters with the US.
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17. Technology trap: capital, labor, and power in the age of automation
Frey, Carl Benedikt. Princeton, 2019

In Technology Trap Frey (Technology and Employment Program, Univ. of Oxford, UK) provides an invaluable examination of automation, labor, and capital from the preindustrial period to the present. Key to the discussion is one question: When do workers embrace technology and when do they reject it? In the introduction Frey clarifies what labor-saving technologies are and how they impact workers: “The extent to which labor-saving technologies will cause dislocation depends on whether they are enabling or replacing. Replacing technologies render jobs and skills redundant.
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16. A seat at the table: congresswomen’s perspectives on why their presence matters
Dittmar, Kelly. by Kelly Dittmar, Kira Sanbonmatsu, and Susan J. Carroll Oxford, 2018

This book is required reading for anyone interested in the evolution of Congress and how members perceive their roles as representatives in a polarized era. The qualitative methodology helps to provide a holistic understanding of how congresswomen navigate and make a difference in a male-dominated institution. Through interviews with more than 75 percent of the women who served in the 114th Congress (2015–17), the authors successfully give voice to the multifaceted identities of congresswomen. While these qualitative data bring the experiences and perceptions of congresswomen to life, the conclusions emerge from a deep understanding of scholarship on women and politics.
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15. You’ll see this message when it is too late: the legal and economic aftermath of cybersecurity breaches
Wolff, Josephine. MIT, 2018

This is the kind of book whose cogent organization and clear writing sticks with you. The book distinguishes among three motives for cybersecurity breaches: financial gain, espionage, and revenge. Wolff (Rochester Institute of Technology) devotes multiple chapters to each kind of breach. Hackers who seek financial gain are easiest to catch, because it takes an elaborate organization and additional crimes to exploit credit cards and other information pilfered in an attack. Hackers motivated by espionage are the most difficult to catch. Once they have the information they seek, they are gone. Revenge attackers intentionally disrupt and damage the reputation of the computer systems they attack, and occasionally boast about the disruption.
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14. Man out: men on the sidelines of American life
Yarrow, Andrew L. Brookings, 2018

Yarrow (senior fellow, Progressive Policy Institute) gives voice to the nearly 25 million men who are on what he considers “the sidelines of America,” missing from much of mainstream daily life in their communities. Who these men are, how this happened, and what can be done to change it are the focal points of this timely, well-written, thoroughly researched exposé. Through a variety of methods—e.g., comments posted on an interactive website; in-person/telephone/online interviews with men of all races/ethnicities, social classes, and ages and with women and parents of young men; discussions with myriad professionals, practitioners, scholars, and advocates; and content analysis of media reports and historical works—Yarrow extends analysis of this phenomenon beyond traditional “sidelined” men (i.e., incarcerated African American men and un/underemployed white working-class men) to men of all backgrounds who find themselves out of the mainstream.
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13. Playful entepreneur: how to adapt and thrive in uncertain times
Dodgson, Mark. by Mark Dodgson and David M. Gann Yale, 2018

Dodgson (Univ. of Queensland Business School) and Gann (Imperial College Business School, UK) embark on a fascinating exploration of how entrepreneurs and innovators use playful work to create impact for their organizations while facing high levels of uncertainty. The authors center their book around four identified behaviors that are common among playful entrepreneurs. Those behaviors are grace, craft, fortitude, and ambition, and the authors devote a chapter to each. In addition they illustrate how entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs in leading ventures (e.g., IDEO, Airbnb) use intelligent play to innovate through experimentation and collaboration.
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12. American environmental leaders: from Colonial times to the present
ed. by Anne Becher and Joseph Richey Grey House, 2018

The third edition of American Environmental Leaders: From Colonial Times to the Present offers comprehensive updates to the second edition ( CH, Jul’09, 46-5955). This two-volume set now includes 399 profiles of individuals, both historical and contemporary, who have had an impact on American environmental challenges. Every effort was made to include a diverse group: activists, philosophers, toxicologists, naturalists, artists, physicians, sociologists, authors, politicians, entrepreneurs, and more. In addition to the most well-known figures, this book deliberately incorporates less familiar names of those who have worked behind the scenes in some aspect of environmental work.
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11. The Politics of Autism
Siegel, Bryna. Oxford, 2018

Of all of the books written in the last decade about special education policy reform, this represents the best of the best. Siegel, with a long, distinguished career working with children on the autism spectrum and their families, has authored the definitive book about where autism has been, where it is now, and where it should go in the future. Unlike many other texts of late that tend merely to lament over educational policies that do not work or throw rocks at the entire special education system in general, Siegel dissects those flawed policies and practices and offers numerous practical, commonsense remedies for those ills.
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