Friday, April 18, 2014

Shaping Our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and its Politics

Michael Barone. Shaping Our Nation (2013, Crown Forum).

"From the Scots-Irish influxes of the eighteenth century to the Ellis Island migrations of the early twentieth and Hispanic and Asian ones of the last four decades, people have moved to America partly in order to make a better living—but more important, to create new communities in which they could thrive and live as they wanted. Barone examines how the founders' formula of limited government, civic equality, and tolerance of religious and cultural diversity has provided a ready and useful template for not only coping with these new cultural influences, but for prospering as a nation with cultural variety."
Shaping our Nation book jacket

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

For Discrimination: Race, Affirmative Action, and the Law

Randall Kennedy (Harvard Law School). For Discrimination (Pantheon Books, 2013).

"This is arguably the most clearheaded defense of affirmative action ever written. Kennedy's incisive analysis includes a compelling critique of a range of arguments by legal experts and social scientists on the pros and cons of affirmative action. In clear prose For Discrimination advances powerful arguments for sensibly defined affirmative action. This thoughtful book is a must-read for all Americans devoted to addressing past and current injustice."
—Prof. William Julius Wilson, Harvard University

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government

David K. Johnson (University of South Florida). The Lavender Scare (The University of Chicago Press, 2004).  

"Warning of a spreading homosexual menace, McCarthy and his Republican allies introduced 'moral values' into the American political arsenal and helped win back the White House after twenty years of Democratic control. Drawing on newly declassified documents and interviews with former government officials, Johnson chronicles how the myth that homosexuals threatened national security ruined thousands of lives and pushed many to suicide."
The Lavender Scare book jacket

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Civic Constitution: Civic Visions and Struggles in the Path toward Constitutional Democracy

Elizabeth Beaumont (University of Minnesota). The Civic Constitution (Oxford University Press, 2014).

"The role of the Constitution in American political history is contentious not simply because of battles over meaning. Equally important is precisely who participated in contests over meaning. In The Civic Constitution, Elizabeth Beaumont . . . traces the efforts of citizens to reinvent constitutional democracy during four crucial eras: the revolutionaries of the 1770s and 1780s; the civic founders of state republics and the national Constitution in the early national period; abolitionists during the antebellum and Civil War eras; and, finally, suffragists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Throughout, she argues that these groups should be recognized as founders and co-founders of the U.S. Constitution."
—From publisher's website

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Global War for Internet Governance

Laura DeNardis (American University). The Global War for Internet Governance (Yale University Press, 2014).

"The Internet has transformed the manner in which information is exchanged and business is conducted, arguably more than any other communication development in the past century. Despite its wide reach and powerful global influence, it is a medium uncontrolled by any one centralized system, organization, or governing body, a reality that has given rise to all manner of free-speech issues and cybersecurity concerns. The conflicts surrounding Internet governance are the new spaces where political and economic power is unfolding in the twenty-first century."

The Global War for Internet Governance book jacket