Last Updated April 13, 2016
The War on Slums in the Southwest, by Robert Fairbanks, was reviewed in the Winter 2016 issue of New Mexico Historical Review. The review read, "[A] thoroughly researched and thoughtful study.... The War on Slums in the Southwest is an outstanding book.... The primary research is exceptional.... The book is a great scholarly achievement that should be the definitive work on slum clearance and public housing in the Southwest for years to come."
The book was also reviewed in Planning Perspectives, Volume 31, Issue 2, 2016. The review read, "In this meticulously researched, comparative survey from the New Deal to the Great Society, Robert Fairbanks examines movements for public housing and central-city redevelopment in Texas's three largest cities, plus Phoenix and Albuquerque..... Fairbanks's work stands as an antidote to ill-founded generalizations about southwestern urban politics."
Navigating Gendered Terrain, by Kelly Dittmar, was reviewed (along with another title) in the Journal of Women, Politics, and Policy, Volume 37, Issue 1, 2016. The review read, "[W]hile it is still true that when women run, women win, Dittmar convincingly shows that this is because gender is still an integral part of campaign strategy.... The book [is a] much needed contribution to our understanding of messaging, strategy, and the role of gender. The data compiled by [Dittmar] is remarkable... [A] 'must read' for any graduate course on women and politics. Moreover, [a] valuable work for practitioners and scholars of women and politics as well as those who study elections, political psychology, and media."
Navigating Gendered Terrain was also reviewed in the September 2015 issue of Contemporary Sociology. The review read, "Dittmar goes beyond an analysis of voters' perceptions to explore how campaigns deal with gender stereotypes and how gender's effect is mediated by contextual factors. This study reveals an important next step, not only in understanding gender inequalities in all levels of American politics, but in identifying several avenues for making real and significant changes in a gendered political landscape."
Harilyn Rousso's Don't Call Me Inspirational, was reviewed in Vol 5, No. 1 (2016) issue of The Canadian Journal of Disability Studies. The review read, "[E]ngages with both the personal and the political.... Don't Call Me Inspirational provides the reader with a generously candid narrative of how the author became politicized as a feminist and disability activist.... [T]his memoir offers greater nuance, and could instead be characterized as a behind the scenes look at what it might be like to achieve neoliberal successes while negotiating the social position of disability. Her story, in contrast with the disability memoir trope, may not be as tidy, may instead be more fragmented and fraught, and is certainly not inspirational; but it rings far more honest."
Last Updated April 6, 2016
Illness or Deviance, by Jennifer Murphy, was reviewed in Volume 15 Issue 4 of the Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions. The review read, "[A] timely book.... Murphy has a level of expertise that makes her qualified to write this book and critique drug courts, drug treatment, and how the two strategies intersect with each other.... [Her] approach to research informative and rigorous."
Framing the Audience, by Isadora Anderson Helfgott, was reviewed in the April 2016 issue of Choice. The review read, "Historians will love this publication; it is a formidable piece of research and scholarship. No archive of American art went unvisited, no oral history unheard, and no obscure book or magazine from the era unread. It is, and surely will remain, a definitive source for the social history of the period for some time to come.... [I]t is a vital resource for anyone concerned with this complex era. Summing Up: Recommended."
Last Updated March 30, 2016
God Talk, by Paul Djupe and Brian Calfano, was reviewed in the March 2016 issue of Perspectives on Politics. The review read, "Djupe and Calfano's research highlights a new way of thinking about religious influence.... There are many things to like about this book, including eight chapters each reporting separate sets of elegantly designed experiments, but I suspect its lasting influence in the field will be an urgent call for theoretical revision and methodological pluralism.... This is a great book for religion and politics scholars, it will lead to much discussion in seminars, and will surely stimulate greater use of the Psychological and Social Network approaches."
Sex and the Founding Fathers, by Thomas Foster, was reviewed in the Spring 2016 issue of the Journal of the Early Republic. The review read, "Foster adds another layer of complexity to this historical commonplace: We cannot really know and understand the Founders if we simply romanticize their private lives in ways that continue to make them palatable to our own sensibilities.... Foster usefully describes an evolution in our collective consciousness about sexuality that has shaped our memory of the private lives of the Founders over time.... [T]he book is a fascinating exercise in historiography—and a story of what our collective memory of the founders tells us about ourselves—instead of a close reading of historiographical claims against eighteenth-century ideologies of gender and practices of sexuality.... Foster tells this story very well."
Last Updated March 23, 2016
American Studies, Vol. 54, No. 4 reviewed a trio of Temple University Press titles:
• The review of Just Queer Folks, by Colin Johnson, read "Because Johnson anticipates readers' critiques and honest questions, this fascinating book serves as a much-needed and comprehensively researched introduction to the rural turn in queer studies. It deftly synthesizes previous work, concretizes key debates with clear examples and prose, breathes life into archival and anecdotal evidence, and provides a vivid tour of how queer practices—not identities—were gradually rather than automatically disdained. The anti-identitarian impulse allows for a complex narrative history that avoids anachronistically labeling people gay while encouraging readers to recognize an always-already queer America. Just Queer Folks thus paves the way for scholars not only to seek out lived experiences of queers in unexpected times and places—a project that can result in slumming and voyeurism. It also sets the stage for continued inquiry into when and how nonnormative sexual practices and gender expressions became unqueered by moral reforms, conservative campaigns, economic structures, and discursive formations that use 'the rural' to their political advantage."
• The review of The NFL, edited by Thomas Oates and Zack Furness, read, "Oates and Furness, offers readers twelve provocative and well-researched chapters on ethical and social problems found within the National Football League.... Therefore, readers of this collection will be faced with a decision: (a) criticism, cynicism, and despair about the current state of the NFL, or (b) careful analysis, realistic hopefulness, and a reparative attitude toward how high-quality scholarship will bring about a potentially healthier and more reasonable future for the NFL."
• The review of "I Hear America Singing," by Rachel Clare Donaldson, read, "Donaldson has made at least three important and intelligent choices about how to examine her subject. Rather than focusing on commercial success or other measures of popularity, Donaldson approaches the folk revival from the top down. She analyzes the work of a variety of leaders who shaped the way folk music was defined, collected, and disseminated. In turn, Donaldson's focus on folklorists, anthropologists, and other organized leaders in the field, allows her to expand the chronology of the folk revival. She identifies the roots of the revival in the first decades of the twentieth century and explores its full emergence in the 1930s. Finally, by taking seriously the motivations of a diverse—and often divergent—group of leaders, Donaldson can identify the core philosophy underneath their work. Taken together, these choices allow Donaldson to argue that the folk music revival is important as a window not only into American popular culture, but also into the formation of American national identity. Donaldson's work provides a new context for understanding the significance of American folk music."