Saturday, August 31, 2013

Frederick Errington, Tatsuro Fujikura, & Deborah Gewertz's "The Noodle Narratives"

Frederick Errington is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut. Deborah Gewertz is G. Henry Whitcomb 1874 Professor of Anthropology at Amherst College. Tatsuro Fujikura is Professor at the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies at Kyoto University. Their new book is The Noodle Narratives: The Global Rise of an Industrial Food into the Twenty-First Century.

Gewertz applied the “Page 99 Test” to The Noodle Narratives and reported the following:
If someone thumbed through The Noodle Narratives at Amherst Books (my bookstore), and paused to read page 99, I would imagine some confusion, but some curiosity as well. The reader would find a discussion of how Papua New Guineans regard instant (ramen) noodles, learning that many laud their culinary flexibility and applaud their inexpensive availability. One middle-aged Papua New Guinean went so far as to say “If noodles weren’t available, there would be no hope.” In addition, this page argues that Papua New Guineans enjoy the connections instant noodles forge between themselves and others elsewhere. They know that all sorts of people eat them, including (some think) Queen Elizabeth and President Obama whose facsimiles are shown eating instant noodles in local advertisements.

A reader’s confusion would derive from the unexpected trip to Papua New Guinea. A reader’s curiosity would derive from the realization that instant noodles connect him or her to Papua New Guineans.

The book is about such connections as they play out in the context of the global, industrial food system. According to the World Instant Noodle Association, 95.39 billion packets and cups of instant noodles were sold worldwide during 2010 to a considerable range of markets. Almost everyone eats or has eaten them, albeit for different reasons and in different amounts. Thus, the book is a study of capitalist provisioning demonstrating how rich and poor, living in diverse parts of the world, have become caught up in the global phenomenon of instant noodles.

To this end, we begin by discussing why human beings are hard-wired to like these salty, MSG-laden, oily, and (sometimes) sugary instant noodles. And then we turn to their careers in three distinct markets: Japan, where they were invented and where they receive their greatest embellishment; the US, where they remain a mere “commodity,” with the largest market segments comprised of college students (whose parents are nostalgic for them), the incarcerated (for whom they provide a “taste of freedom”), and the impoverished (who are dubbed “heavy users” by noodle companies); and Papua New Guinea, where they are transforming the poor into consumers of mass-produced items. Finally, in the last two chapters, we enter the laboratories of food scientists, who bring us the likes of instant noodles, and evaluate the claim recently made by the CEO of Nissin foods (and the son of the inventor of instant noodles) that “instant noodles will save the world.”
Learn more about The Noodle Narratives at the University of California Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Susan Bordo's "The Creation of Anne Boleyn"

Susan Bordo, Otis A. Singletary Professor in the Humanities at University of Kentucky, is the author of Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body, a book that is still widely read and assigned in classes today. During speaking tours for that book, she encountered many young men who asked, "What about us?" The result was The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private. Her work has been translated into many languages and frequently reprinted in collections and writing textbooks. A popular public speaker, Bordo lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and daughter, and teaches humanities and gender studies at the University of Kentucky.

Bordo applied the “Page 99 Test” to her latest book, The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen, and reported the following:
Page 99 of The Creation of Anne Boleyn takes us right to the heart of Anne’s downfall: The times, to anachronistically poach from Bob Dylan, were a ‘changing. Yes, Anne had failed to produce a son for Henry VIII, and yes, Thomas Cromwell had his own reasons to plot against her. Yes, she had many enemies at court, and yes, there was Jane Seymour waiting in the wings, with the promise of greater obedience than feisty Anne and fresher eggs for the incubation of a royal heir. None of these factors, however, could have sent Anne to the scaffold had the charges of adultery and treason seemed utterly preposterous to the Tudor jury, for the Tudors were great believers in “the law,” and it was important to Henry that the “appearance of justice,” at the very least, seem to have been done. What helped make that travesty possible, I believe, was a cultural change in the interpretation of courtly banter, which Anne engaged in—innocently but as it turned out, fatally:
Anne was trained in traditions of courtly love within which flirtatiousness, far from being suspect, was a requirement of the court lady. But it must never go too far; the trick was to just go to the edge and then back off (without, of course, hurting the gentleman’s feelings). Purity was required, but provocative banter was not just accepted, it was expected. Especially in the French court [where Anne had spent much of her young adulthood—sb], a relaxed atmosphere was the norm in conversations between men and women. As the Middle Ages segued into the Renaissance and then into the Reformation, however, conversations that would have been seen as entirely innocent may have begun to be viewed differently. In an earlier chapter, I looked at the change from Capellanus’s version of courtly love, still rooted in Plato, that cautions young men to turn their backs on carnal pleasure…to Castiglione, with his cynical advice for the most effective ways to overcome the resistance of their female prey. If actual behavior followed ideology, then by the time Cromwell mounted his conspiracy against Anne, people may have been disposed to believe things, based on the exchanges with the men she was charged with, that would have been dismissed as ridiculous forty years earlier. (pp. 99-100)
UK edition
Even in Henry’s courtship of her, Anne got caught in the net of changing romantic conventions. Henry had been raised on tales of King Arthur’s round table, virtuous knights, maidens in distress and chivalrous deeds. Nobility, generosity, mercy, justice, and the power of true love were the stuff of his boyish fantasies. However, by 1526, when Henry began to pursue Anne, Arthurian chivalry, a deeply spiritualized ideal, was well on its way to being transformed into the political “art” of courtly behavior, aimed at creating the right impression, even if deceptive, to achieve ones ends. In his letters to Anne, Henry gives her the impression that she is his Guinevere, and he her loyal servant: “I beseech you,” “if it pleases you,” “begging you,” “fear of wearying you,” “your loyal servant”, “to serve you only.” Etc. etc. Deeply felt emotion, or a pleasurable fiction, designed to woo and win?

Henry was in love, yes. But he was never the helpless swain that he makes himself out to be in his letters. And although he believed in Arthurian honor, which served and protected women as one of its highest goals, he could never have done what Arthur (in the legend) had done: stand nobly and patiently by while his best knight and his wife engaged in a long affair. Anne, almost certainly innocent of all charges, had every reason to believe Henry would spare her in the end, as Arthur did with Guinevere. But Henry lived in a time when kingly authority—not “knighthood”—was in flower. So while Guinevere, who actually had a sexual relation with another man, was saved by Arthur, Anne Boleyn—guilty of nothing more than a bit of courtly banter—was sent to the scaffold, and Henry never looked back.
Learn more about the book and author at the official The Creation of Anne Boleyn website and blog, and at the UK publisher's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Creation of Anne Boleyn.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

William J. Turkel's "Spark from the Deep"

William J. Turkel is an associate professor of history at the University of Western Ontario and is author of The Archive of Place: Unearthing the Pasts of the Chilcotin Plateau.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Spark from the Deep: How Shocking Experiments with Strongly Electric Fish Powered Scientific Discovery, and reported the following:
In 1803, a satirical poem called Terrible Tractoration became popular in London. Published as an octavo pamphlet, it was attributed to "Christopher Caustic, MD" but was actually the work of Thomas Green Fessenden. Fessenden had been paid to promote the metallic tractors of the American physician Elisha Perkins. These were metal rods that were passed over a patient's body to draw off imagined electrical fluids and thus relieve pain. Cures attributed to the tractors were decried at the time by other physicians as an instance of already-discredited animal magnetism, and are now usually read as an example of the placebo effect.

In the poem, the effectiveness of Perkins' tractors was said to be supported by the demonstrations of the Italian researcher Giovanni Aldini, who was caricatured as using electricity to "make dead people cut droll capers."
To raise a dead dog he was able,
Though laid in quarters on a table,
And led him, yelping, round the town,
With two legs up, and two legs down. [from page 99]
In fact, Aldini's exploits had been in the papers for many months, and were, if anything, milder in parodic form than they were in the flesh. In public demonstrations he used powerful electric batteries to shock the cadavers of recently executed criminals: making their eyes and jaws quiver, fists clench, legs rise in the air, and so on, in response to electrification of mouth, ear and rectum. By showing that the bodies of people and other animals responded to this treatment in exactly the same way, by showing just how mechanical the responses of both living and dead subjects really were, Aldini's demonstrations elided boundaries between human, animal and machine.

We now spend our entire lives surrounded by electrical and electronic technologies, and they seem to us to have relatively little to do with the domain of the living. We might describe a computer, battery or light bulb as 'dead', but that is just a metaphor. An ibis is a proper subject for natural history; an iPad is not.

Electricity was not always so lifeless, however. For most of the human career, the only reliable and repeatable way to experience an electric shock was by handling one of the strongly electric fish: the African electric catfish, the marine torpedo or the South American electric eel. People were familiar with each of these animals long before writing was developed. They used the shock of electric fish therapeutically, and tried to find ways to harness it. In the 1600s the shock of strongly electric fish was still considered to be an occult force, like the attraction between iron and lodestone. With the creation of the Leyden jar in the mid-1700s, people had an artifact that could shock exactly like an electric fish. When Volta announced his electric battery in 1800, he described it as an 'artificial electric organ'. Electric currents could be used to harm and heal, to resuscitate, to reanimate, perhaps even to bestow life on inert matter. Spark from the Deep tells the story of how our long experience with strongly electric fish stimulated us to discover and colonize electric worlds of our own.
Learn more about Spark from the Deep at the Johns Hopkins University Press website and William J. Turkel's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 26, 2013

Anthony Gierzynski's (with Kathryn Eddy) "Harry Potter and the Millennials"

Anthony Gierzynski (Jack) is a professor of political science at the University of Vermont and the Director of the James M. Jeffords Center's Vermont Legislative Research Service. He has published three other books in addition to Harry Potter and the Millennials: Saving American Elections: A Diagnosis and Prescription for a Healthier Democracy (2010), Money Rules: Financing Elections in America (2000), and Legislative Party Campaign Committees in the American States (1992), as well as a number of articles in peer-reviewed journals. Kathryn Eddy is a writer (currently for the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus) who lives in Montpelier, Vermont.

Gierzynski applied the “Page 99 Test” to their new book, Harry Potter and the Millennials: Research Methods and the Politics of the Muggle Generation, and reported the following:
Page 99 is in the appendix to the book. The first thing that tells you is that the book is a short one. The second thing it says is that the technical material has been relegated to the appendix in order to make the book highly readable for most all audiences while at the same time showing that the principle conclusions are based on sophisticated research. The page contains the core statistical analysis that bolsters the case that the Harry Potter series affected the attitudes of Millennial fans of the series on a number of political attitudes--including such attitudes as those relating to political tolerance, diversity, the use of violence and deadly force, skepticism, authority, ideology, and vote choices in the 2008 election. The regression analysis results presented on the page show even when controlling for other factors that could explain why Harry Potter fans were different from nonfans--such as whether fans were avid readers before they read the HP series as well as political and demographic characteristics--the relationship between being a fan and the political attitudes found throughout the series remained significant.
Learn more about the book and authors at the official Harry Potter and the Millennials website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Jacob N. Shapiro's "The Terrorist's Dilemma"

Jacob N. Shapiro is assistant professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University and co-directs the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, The Terrorist's Dilemma: Managing Violent Covert Organizations, and reported the following:
The pagination gods must be smiling on me as page 99 really nicely encapsulates key arguments in The Terrorist’s Dilemma.

I argue that terrorist organizations face many of the same managerial requirements as business firms and government bureaucracies. They too need to make sure their employees follow procedure, do what their bosses want them to, and don’t take advantage of their positions for personal enrichment. Yet the standard managerial tools that we all use---tracking spreadsheets, expense reports, and so on---are risky to hang onto if one is trying to manage a secret army. If I misplace my expense report, it’s no big deal. If a terrorist operative does, he or she is risking death or imprisonment and may compromise the whole group.

Page 99 comes at the end of a chapter that analyzes 109 internal documents from al-Qa’ida in Iraq. I quote a document which analyzes the group’s problems in 2006-7. After detailing a host of mistakes the author cites thirty-two specific ways that local leadership councils could do better, including:
7. To refrain from turning the state into a formal one and to ensure that the statehood is void of bureaucracy in all its administrative affairs.

8. To use the principle of greed and fear to hold all leaders and soldiers accountable for dereliction.

19. Make the soldiers adapt to honesty with their [Emirs] writing down any obstacle or problems in front of the accused ones and document[ing] the complainer’s issues and details to confirm its accuracy.
How the middle goal is to be accomplished without a modicum of bureaucracy to identify and track dereliction is unclear, especially when it comes to financial matters. The latter is a bureaucratic procedure that might help achieve number 8, but is inconsistent with number 7.

Page 99 thus encapsulates the core tension terrorists must deal with. On the one hand, they would like to have paperwork-free covert structures so that they can get on with the business of conducting spectacular attacks while minimizing their chances of being caught. On the other hand, it’s hard to manage any group of people without a bit of bureaucracy. That your workers are ideologically motivated killers doesn’t alter that fundamental truth.

Terrorist groups are thus inherently constrained. The paperwork and communications they need to manage anything beyond a handful of people create vulnerabilities that government forces can use against them.
Learn more about The Terrorist's Dilemma at the Princeton University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 23, 2013

Paul D. Miller's "Armed State Building"

Paul D. Miller is a political scientist in the National Security Research Division at the RAND Corporation. He served as Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan on the National Security Council staff from 2007 through September 2009. Prior to joining RAND, Miller was an assistant professor at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., at which he developed and directed the College of International Security Affairs' South and Central Asia Program. He also worked as an analyst in the Central Intelligence Agency's Office of South Asian Analysis, and served in Afghanistan as a military intelligence officer with the U.S. Army.

Miller applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Armed State Building: Confronting State Failure, 1898–2012, and reported the following:
Page 99 of my book draws out lessons from the U.S. Interventions in Cuba from 1898 to 1909. It's a pretty good sample of how I try to apply my theory. But the heart of my book, which I hope any casual reader would skim, is chapters 3-5, where I develop a new definition of statehood, state failure, and state building. In my view, conventional views of statehood have been too shallow and one-dimensional. We have to appreciate the various aspects or dimensions of statehood, including security but also legitimacy, capacity, prosperity, and humanity. States can fail along any one of these dimensions, and thus strategies of state building must address the kind of state failure that has happened in failed states. Page 99 shows me trying to understand how and why the U.S. failed to do this in Cuba a century ago.
Learn more about Armed State Building at the Cornell University Press website.

Writers Read: Paul D. Miller.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 22, 2013

William Michael Schmidli's "The Fate of Freedom Elsewhere"

William Michael Schmidli is Assistant Professor of History at Bucknell University.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, The Fate of Freedom Elsewhere: Human Rights and U.S. Cold War Policy toward Argentina, and reported the following:
One of the main themes of my book is the competition in U.S. foreign policy between the idealist pursuit of moral imperatives such as human rights, and realist security goals rooted in self-interest and the maintenance of power. Over the course of the 1970s, I argue, the blossoming human rights movement—a loose coalition of grassroots organizers, lobbyists in Washington, and members of Congress—directly challenged longstanding U.S. support for illiberal, anticommunist regimes in the developing world, particularly in Latin America. This battle between Cold Warriors and human rightists reached its climax following Jimmy Carter’s successful 1976 presidential election bid. Carter did more to institutionalize human rights in U.S. foreign policy than any of his predecessors. This was most evident in U.S. policy toward Argentina, the book’s primary case study. Following a coup d’état in 1976, the Argentine military initiated a “counter-revolutionary” campaign resulting in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of tens of thousands of perceived subversives. Entering the Oval Office at the height of state-sanctioned violence, the Carter Administration oversaw a remarkably extensive U.S. effort to convince the military junta to curtail abuses.

Page 99 focuses on the Carter team’s effort in the months following the President’s inauguration to redirect U.S. policy toward Latin America away from unilateralism and interventionism. As Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, made clear, this was a break with U.S. policy dating back to the 19th century:
Underscoring the administration’s commitment to redefine U.S.-Latin American relations along a less interventionist framework, Brzezinski asserted, “In the past, it has done nothing more than lock us into a cycle of creating unrealistic expectations and then having to live with the subsequent disappointments.” The Monroe Doctrine, Brzezinski continued, “is no longer valid. It represents an imperialistic legacy which has embittered our relationships.” To promote healthier U.S.-Latin American relations, the National Security Adviser concluded, the United States needed to put its southern neighbors “on a more equal footing.”
Page 99 concludes with Carter’s address at the Organization of American States on April 14, in which the president affirmed his commitment to “three guiding policy principles for the hemisphere: U.S. nonintervention; a willingness to work with Latin American leaders on global economic issues; and a commitment to promoting human rights and an expansion of democracy throughout the region.”

While Carter’s lofty principles elated human rights advocates, turning them into actual policy initiatives would be no easy task. In subsequent chapters, I argue that human rights did emerge as the defining feature of U.S.-Argentine relations, marking a notable transition from the previous quarter-century of Cold War policy. Yet human rights decreased as a U.S. policy priority in the second-half of Carter’s presidency due to fierce resistance from U.S. business leaders to delayed or denied sales to Argentina on human rights grounds, combined with Carter’s increasingly hawkish stance in foreign affairs in response to a resurgence of tension with the Soviet Union.
Learn more about The Fate of Freedom Elsewhere at the Cornell University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Caroline E. Janney's "Remembering the Civil War"

Caroline E. Janney is associate professor of history at Purdue University and author of Burying the Dead but Not the Past: Ladies' Memorial Associations and the Lost Cause.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her latest book, Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation, and reported the following:
In 1868, Union veterans gathered for Memorial Day services at the graves of their fallen comrades to commemorate their victorious cause, which had saved the union and ended slavery. Two years earlier, former Confederates had initiated their own Memorial Days to defend their actions and explain defeat in what became known as the Lost Cause. From both north and south came voices of dissent, revealing that even three years after Appomattox, the memory and meaning of the Civil War remained fiercely contested.

In this glimpse into early memorial services, page 99 captures one of the book’s central themes: the bitterness evidenced by both sides after the war diminished with time but never entirely vanished. Well into the 1930s, many Union and Confederate veterans refused to join in what one dubbed the “blue-gray gush” of reconciliation. Contrary to popular notions fed by images of aged veterans shaking hands at battlefields like Gettysburg, many of the war generation denied that there was any redeeming value in their opponents’ cause. Instead, they nurtured deep feelings of resentment toward their former foes for decades.

The divergent roles Union and Confederate women played in postwar memory are likewise apparent in this passage. In the South it was women who undertook efforts to rebury the southern dead in Confederate cemeteries and inaugurated the tradition of Memorial Days, activities that would have been deemed treasonous had they been led by men. Confederate veterans gushed about their loyal, devoted, and sacrificing women, praising their feisty defense of the cause. Having no reason to fear charges of treason, Union veterans initiated the practice of Memorial Days. Union women participated by placing flowers on the grave and attending the services, but they were deemed far less essential to both the Union war effort and its postwar memory – a fact that became readily apparent by the late-1800s.

While page 99 reveals the divergent and competing nature of Civil War memory that lingered well into the twentieth century, there is one aspect of the book not present here: the ways in which African Americans remembered the war. Through veterans’ organizations, Emancipation Days, and monument dedications, black veterans and their families sought to cement the meaning of the war for future generations just as much as their white counterparts. As with whites, competing memories of the war emerged: should slavery be remembered? How should Lincoln be commemorated? The war’s legacy was just as complicated for them as for every other group of Americans. And as my book hopefully illustrates, it still is.
Learn more about Remembering the Civil War at the University of North Carolina Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 19, 2013

Carole Haber's "The Trials of Laura Fair"

Carole Haber is professor of history and dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Tulane University.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, The Trials of Laura Fair: Sex, Murder, and Insanity in the Victorian West, and reported the following:
The Trials of Laura Fair explores Laura Fair’s shooting of her married lover AP Crittenden in 1871 and the subsequent courtroom hearings held to determine her fate. Upon Crittenden’s death, Laura immediately attained national notoriety. The press published stories of her infamous past, often with their own imaginary salacious details. The nation was outraged; except for leading suffrage advocates who adamantly supported her, most of the public and the press demanded her death. Her explanation that she was temporarily insane when she fired the pistol due to a painful and irregular menstrual cycle appeared to most to be ludicrous at best. Thus, while the defense hoped to make her trials about the medical condition of menstruating women, the prosecution attempted to prove that she was nothing more than a loose woman whose reputation alone proved she should be hanged.

Page 99 situates the story in the first of the two trials. The defense has recalled to the witness stand Dr. John Trask. They hope he will convince the jury that serious “female problems” excused her murderous behavior. Trask has taken the stand following the extensive examination of their first medical expert, Dr. Benjamin Lyford. Unfortunately for the defense, Lyford did little but confuse the courtroom by his pretentious testimony and raised serious questions about whether he actually possessed any medical training or a degree. In addition, Lyford’s disdain for the court and his failure to return to the stand due to his own supposed medical problems hardly won over a skeptical press or public.

Thus, while Trask was able to explain Laura’s supposed symptoms in far more understandable terms, the state of the medical profession and the confusion over definitions of insanity negated much of the testimony. Although in the second trial, such issues would take center stage, as page 99 reveals, initially, the prosecution was able to dismiss such testimony and focus the hearing squarely on Laura’s “loose behavior” and ruined reputation.

So page 99 tells part of the story. Although the two trials eventually had radically different outcomes, the question of insanity and the impact of female physiology do play central parts in the drama. But the trials also became forums for discussing the leading issues of the day including free love, suffrage, the unwritten law, middle-class reputation, and the gendered nature of American courts. Moreover, as the final chapters of the book reveal, well after the final verdict, and even after her death, the story of Laura Fair was repeatedly told and reinterpreted. Over the course of a century, she became a colorful symbol on which to place ever-changing beliefs about the nature of ‘bold’ Victorian women who dared to claim their place in the American West.
Learn more about The Trials of Laura Fair at the University of North Carolina Press website.

Carole Haber is professor of history and dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Tulane University.

My Book, The Movie: The Trials of Laura Fair.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 17, 2013

William C. Chittick's "Divine Love"

William C. Chittick, professor of religious studies at Stony Brook University, is a leading translator and interpreter of classical Islamic texts. His books include The Sufi Path of Love and In Search of the Lost Heart.

Chittick applied the “Page 99 Test” to his latest book, Divine Love: Islamic Literature and the Path to God, and reported the following:
I began my study of things Islamic when I discovered Rumi in translation as an undergraduate fifty years ago. I wrote this book partly because the poet whom I had come to know over many years of study and research bears little resemblance to the one depicted in the popular translations. I thought it was time to bring out the rich tradition to which he belonged. The book provides a survey of writings on divine love in both Arabic and Persian up to the year 1200 (Rumi was born in 1207). It is divided into three parts: the origin of love, the life of love, and the goal of love. It has nine chapters, three in each part. Page 99 is found toward the end of Chapter 2, “The Story of Love.” The chapter describes how some Muslim theologians read the Qur’an as the account of an eternal love affair between God and man.

Most of the page is taken up by the continuation of a quote from Maybudi, who completed a ten-volume Persian commentary on the Qur’an in about 1130. He is explaining the inner meaning of the verse, “Mothers shall suckle their young two years completely” (Qur’an 2:233). He begins by saying, “The example given of utmost mercy is the mercy of mothers, but God’s mercy toward His servants is more than that, and His love is not like their love." Mercy (or compassion)—Arabic rahma—is a divine quality much discussed in the Qur’an. The word is derived from rahim, womb, and its basic meaning is a mother’s love for her child.

Part of page 99 is taken up by Maybudi’s account of a letter from God, titled “The Eternal Love,” that will be read out to people on the Day of Resurrection. It condemns those gathered there for their failure to live up to their divine calling, but then finishes with the words, “You did what you did, but I am ashamed to chastise you as is worthy for you. Instead I will do what is worthy for Me. Go, for I have forgiven you, so that you will know that I am I and you are you.” Maybudi remarks, “Indeed, if a beggar goes before a king, they do not ask him what he has brought. They ask him what he wants.”

The passage nicely sums up Chapter 2, and I suppose that its style and “quality” are representative of the book as a whole. It barely touches, however, on the various dimensions of divine and human love discussed in the other eight chapters.
Learn more about Divine Love at the Yale University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 15, 2013

T.R.C. Hutton's "Bloody Breathitt"

T.R.C. Hutton teaches American History at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He received his PhD from Vanderbilt University in 2009.

Hutton applied the “Page 99 Test” to Bloody Breathitt: Politics and Violence in the Appalachian South, his first book, and reported the following:
Page 99 contains a flurry of surnames, but I think the essential narrative shines through. It describes the prelude to a deadly confrontation, a street fight very similar to others that had taken place elsewhere during Reconstruction and after. Demographically speaking, Breathitt County, Kentucky did not resemble some of the more embattled corners of the South. It was overwhelmingly white-majority, and the prospect of black male suffrage that defined politics in Louisiana or South Carolina was absent. But local Civil War veterans, both black and white, knew that an 1878 election for county judge reflected a crisis of legitimacy dating from the war’s end, a common condition wherever former Unionists and Confederates lived in close quarters. When the newly-elected judge, a young neophyte named John Burnett favored by Unionist/Republicans (known locally as “Red Strings”), tried to convene court for a controversial murder case his friends and enemies crowded the streets ready for a gunfight.

From Page 99 (endnotes omitted):
The weeks leading up to the August election were fraught with threats of violence, causing former county judge David Butler to withdraw from contention. Though considered “lawless” by Democrats, William Strong influenced an angry Republican minority, particularly those provoked a few years earlier by Edward Strong’s land sale. A brush fire that singed at least fourteen square miles of pasture in the northern part of the county the previous spring made the “wildlands” that the former judge wished to sell that much more vital to drovers. Edward Strong sought out his cousin’s endorsement through a third party, but William Strong instead endorsed Burnett and promised “to help protect him, no matter who molested him.” The young newcomer, the first electoral challenge to Breathitt County’s Democratic rule in ten years, won the August election by eight votes.

Before his election, Hagins had deputized Burnett to arrest Jerry Little (quite possibly the same Jerry Little involved in the “Jett-Little feud”). Burnett was said to have acted with particular brutality in carrying out the arrest, and after Little’s subsequent acquittal, Little’s family remained angry. When Little’s uncle, Jason Little, was arrested for murdering his wife, newly elected Judge Burnett had him transferred more than one hundred miles away to Lexington. Local Democrats interpreted the arrest and removal as politically motivated affronts or, just as likely, used the controversy as a stalking horse against Burnett.

Jason Little’s return for trial during late November’s circuit court session turned into a referendum on John Burnett’s legitimacy as an elected judge. A confrontation between Civil War factions developed on Jackson’s main thoroughfare before he could be removed from the jailhouse. On one side, a mob led by Confederate veterans John Aikman and Alfred Gambrel amassed, threatening to release Little. On the other, William Strong, Henderson Kilburn, Hiram Freeman, and Freeman’s sons Daniel and William as well as a dozen other Red Strings who had come to town, according to Strong, to see that Burnett’s (and circuit court judge William Randall’s) court authority was respected. As Randall instructed the grand jury, the two groups faced off down the street from the courthouse.
Within a day the young judge was one of at least three fatalities. In the end, the county remained under conservative Confederate/Democratic rule, but only after it was made plain that their party’s control depended upon force. Friends and colleagues have suggested that this chapter seems to illustrate what may have happened in the South if it had been left to itself without any federal attempts at political restructuring (after all, regardless of the level of pro-Confederate sentiment in Kentucky after the war, the state was never subject to federal military occupation). In fact, I think it’s exemplary of what did happen all over the South as voters and politicians lost their stomach for the struggle.

This was not the first deadly act of political violence in the county’s history, and it would not be the last. However, Breathitt County’s cycle of violence was rarely acknowledged it as a political struggle. Journalists and politicians instead framed it as a series of low-stake affrays caused by retrograde biology and cultural vestigiality; the word “feud” was deceptively applied over and over again. The result was one we see the world over, time and time again: when the motivations for political violence are ignored, when killing for power is recognized as nothing more than “senseless” killing, oppressors usually have the advantage.
Learn more about Bloody Breathitt the University Press of Kentucky website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Justin Clemens's "Psychoanalysis is an Antiphilosophy"

Justin Clemens is Senior Lecturer in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his latest book, Psychoanalysis is an Antiphilosophy, and reported the following:
This book takes up the problems confronting psychoanalysis today under the rubric of ‘antiphilosophy.’ In a contemporary mental-health environment that is essentially governed by so-called Big Pharma, new developments in neuroscience, and a variety of cognitive therapies, is there anything left for psychoanalysis — an old-school psychology famous mainly as a ‘talking cure’ — to contribute? Perhaps unsurprisingly, my answer is: yes!

The key to my answer hinges on the singular relationship forged between science and literature by Sigmund Freud. Although the history of psychoanalysis has been marked by wild oscillations between attempts to make it stick as a hard-science and countervailing attempts to bill it as a humanistic, hermeneutic enterprise, I see these oscillations as, precisely, symptomatic of the fact that psychoanalysis is, strictly speaking, neither a science nor a hermeneutics, but a new kind of therapy that relies essentially on both science and hermeneutics.

The French philosopher Alain Badiou has pointed out that Plato created philosophy by means of a specific conceptual operation: Plato curbs the divisive, emotional poetic appeals that underpin regular political life in the Athenian city by recourse to the abstract, rigorous, and universal powers of mathematics. But if Plato injected mathematics into poetry to invent philosophy, Freud went precisely in the opposite direction in inventing psychoanalysis. In order to understand the peculiar structure of hysteria, Freud found ‘that local diagnosis and electrical reactions lead nowhere… whereas a detailed description of mental processes such as we are accustomed to find in the works of poets enables me, with the use of a few psychological formulas, to obtain at least some kind of insight into the course of that affection.’ This is the meaning, then, of antiphilosophy: a practice that injects the lessons of poetry into medicine, requiring a double attentiveness simultaneously to the requirements of the sciences (their observational, experimental, falsifiable aspects) and to the demands of art (their symbolic, experimental, affective aspects).

The book’s chapters track this double-requirement in the work of Freud, Jacques Lacan, the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben and others, with respect to psychoanalytic understandings of various psychopathological conditions, slavery and torture. Page 99 of this book turns out to be exemplary of my argument. In explicating Agamben’s work, I show how his account of the clinical category of melancholia renders it a form of political-poetic action in extremis as well as a kind of affront to scientific knowledge in particular.
Learn more about Psychoanalysis is an Antiphilosophy at the Oxford University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Trevor Herbert & Helen Barlow's "Music & the British Military in the Long Nineteenth Century"

Trevor Herbert was born in south Wales. He played trombone with many leading London orchestras and chamber and period instrument groups before joining the staff of the Open University, where he is now Professor of Music. He has published prolifically on the history, repertoire and performance cultures of brass instruments. He is also the author of numerous articles for the world's leading reference works.

Helen Barlow was born in India and grew up in south Wales. She is a Research Fellow in Music at the Open University (UK), and her work focuses on literature and iconography as sources for music history. In addition to her published papers, she has written entries for several major reference works including the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Herbert applied the “Page 99 Test” to their new book, Music & the British Military in the Long Nineteenth Century, and reported the following:
Page 99 stops a little short of capturing the story, but it hints at the breadth of evidence that makes it: news of a brilliant German musician to take charge of an elite band of a household regiment, a single sheet of paper plotting the creation of a sophisticated band of music in Scotland, an image of a hand-written part-book found in the depths of Wales, and more news - this time of the forming of a band in Hardy’s county Dorset. The headline story is that it was not the rise of romantic opera or the symphony that caused the music profession and the commercial infrastructures that underpinned it to increase exponentially in the nineteenth century, but the demands of aristocratic army officers who, in a single generation, established the British military as the largest single employer of musically literate musicians that the world had known. The tale could be told in similar terms for most western countries, but in Britain it had a special edge. Ordinary soldiers, many of them the rural poor and recruits from workhouses and orphanages, were rapidly trained as instrumentalists to enhance military display and (perhaps more important) to enliven the social prospects of officers. The expansion was as widespread as it was rapid. Later in the nineteenth century the British state fully comprehended the potency of music as a means of communication and the intoxicating effect it had on a populace when matched with military colour and precision: it became a powerful device for diplomacy and influence at home and in the empire. However, lurking in these pages is another story. Bands of music – expert ensembles all of them – travelled with their soldiers to the many killing fields of the period: India, Afghanistan, South Africa. There they serenaded men whose destinies could be measured only in days or sometimes even hours. They played to them - tunes sacred and profane - and sometimes they died with them. The journals of soldiers tell of the remarkable effect of the music in those desolate times.

But it started in the late eighteenth century with the recruitment of inspirational German musicians who traversed the kingdom to initiate this most remarkable musical project.

From Page 99:
[C F Eley] had been employed along with a group of German musicians in May 1785 as bandmaster of the Coldstream Guards. He was a clarinettist but was better known outside military circles as a cellist and author of an instruction book for the bassoon. Eley and others with a high status in London’s royal band circles had influence which spread further (Fig. 4.3). A letter written in 1805 by the commanding officer of the Royal Artillery band hints how fashions in instrumentation ere disseminated:
The General has asked for a description of the Band of Music which appeared at the Palace, so that the eight request ... sundry new instruments in the place of those which are old and worn out. I have obtained [a list of] these from Mr Eisenherdt the Master of the Band.... The band of Music has 26 musicians, counting the drummers, etc. 3 Trombones, 2 Trumpets, 2 French Horns, 2 Bassoons, 1 Serpents & 1 Bass Horn instead of the Serpent.
Less than a year later, a similar imitation appears to have been under way in Scotland. A single sheet of paper dated 27 September 1806 and preserved in the National War Museum of Scotland lists an impressive range of instruments and other musical accoutrements that Eley was asked to acquire by His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester for the band of the 3rd Guards. The considerable cost of £230 18s. 3d. is indicative of the elaborate instructions he received. Some years later, in 1833, when the Dorset Militia was establishing a new band, their Colonel looked first to the instrumentation of the neighbouring Wiltshire Militia band, which had ‘nine Brass Instruments, one
Learn more about Music & the British Military in the Long Nineteenth Century at the Oxford University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 12, 2013

Richard H. Smith's "The Joy of Pain"

Richard H. Smith is a social psychologist who studies social emotions at the University of Kentucky. He has a degree in English Literature from Brown University and a Ph. D. in experimental social psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2008 he edited the book: Envy: Theory and Research.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his recent book, The Joy of Pain: Schadenfreude and the Dark Side of Human Nature, and reported the following:
Page 99 focuses on the reality TV show, To Catch a Predator, a popular show that still lives on in reruns and on YouTube. Predator fits the main theme of my book because it is a good example of how people’s tendencies to find pleasure in the misfortunes of others can be exploited. Using a chat line, the producers of this show lure men to show up at a site in which they expect to meet an underage girl or boy. The host of the show, Chris Hansen, makes a surprise entrance instead and proceeds to question these men about their intentions, usually catching them in one lie after another. After the prosecutorial exchange has run its course, Hansen uses a variation of this line (which has become the source of much parody on various other shows):

“I have to tell you that I am Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC and we are doing a story about computer predators who try to meet teens online for sex.”

Cameramen appear from around corners, and “humilitainment” is now in full throttle. As Steve Winn of Slate Magazine put it, the show has a “queasily transfixing” appeal. Why? My thinking is that the producers have selected a fringe slice of humanity that gives almost any viewer a potent “downward comparison” thus providing a dependable, and pleasing, self-esteem boost. Also, since child predators are so reviled, and, in this instance, their behavior so unforced and intentional (the sting features of the show notwithstanding), the humiliation of these men seems utterly deserved --- hence schadenfreude, guilt-free. Oscar Wilde noted that, “on an occasion of this kind it becomes more than a moral duty to speak one’s mind. It becomes a pleasure,” but I let readers be the judge about whether Predator crosses ethical lines.

In other parts of the book, largely using current psychological research and theory, I analyze examples of schadenfreude-causing events – from the exposing of an embarrassing vice of a self-righteous politician, a rival sports team suffering a humiliating loss, to when an envied friend suffers a small setback. In one chapter I suggest that understanding the nature of schadenfreude, especially when inspired by envy, may help explain the brutal treatment of the Jews by the Nazis. Finally, although I don’t think there is any way of eliminating the emotion, I suggest some ways to minimize its prevalence and intensity.
Learn more about The Joy of Pain at the Oxford University Press website.

Rosanna Smith did the illustrations for the book. She graduated with a degree in Art from Yale University in 2010. She is currently getting her Ph.D. in Organizations and Management at Yale University where she is studying perceptions of creativity.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Peter Westwick & Peter Neushul's "The World in the Curl"

Peter Westwick is an assistant research professor of history at the University of Southern California, the director of the Aerospace History Project at the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, and the author or editor of three books.

Peter Neushul is a visiting senior associate researcher in the Department of History at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He has written extensively on defense industries, history of oceanography, and on environmental history.

They applied the “Page 99 Test” to their new book, The World in the Curl: An Unconventional History of Surfing, and reported the following:
Page 99 of our book tells the story of Bob Simmons, perhaps the most important figure in surfboard design in the 20th century. During World War II, Simmons was a mechanical engineering student at Caltech and moonlighting at Douglas Aircraft. Caltech during the war became one of the world’s leading centers for hydrodynamics, thanks especially to a wartime project on air-dropped torpedoes, which required complex theory and experiments on lift and drag, turbulent flow, and boundary layer effects. Simmons was right in the middle of all this, since his hydraulics professor ran the Hydrodynamics Lab and his employer, Douglas, got all the Caltech research reports as the main producer of torpedo bombers. Simmons was also exposed to new aviation materials, especially polystyrene foam, polyester resin, and fiberglass. These connections with wartime hydrodynamics and defense industry enabled Simmons to revolutionize surfboard design, using new materials to make much lighter boards with radical new shapes: 30-pound foam-and-fiberglass fun machines instead of unwieldy 75-pound redwood logs.

The Page 99 theory works well here. This page in our book demonstrates the surprising connections between surfing and the modern world—in this case, connections with military R&D and advanced science and technology. (Few people think of Caltech when they think about surfing, but several seminal figures in surf history came out of there, including Walter Munk, the father of surf forecasting, and Hugh Bradner, inventor of the wetsuit, in addition to Simmons.) These connections with the defense industry and research universities help explain why surfing—a premodern, Polynesian pastime—became so identified with California. Simmons’s contributions made surfing more accessible and more fun, and encouraged Californians to take up the sport by the thousands. The postwar surf boom, represented later by Gidget and the Beach Boys, occurred in California because California was home to places like Caltech and Douglas Aircraft.

Surfing has an image of a romantic, spiritual pursuit, an individual communion with nature, and a subversive counterculture. Our book shows that surfing is bound up with the military-industrial complex and many other features of the modern world, from colonialism and capitalism to globalization and gender roles. Bob Simmons from our page 99 is just one example.
Learn more about The World in the Curl at the publisher's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 9, 2013

Paul G. Harris's "What's Wrong with Climate Politics and How to Fix It"

Paul G. Harris is author/editor of many books on climate change and global environmental politics. He is the Chair Professor of Global and Environmental Studies at the Hong Kong Institute of Education.

Harris applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, What's Wrong with Climate Politics and How to Fix It, and reported the following:
If politics is anything useful, it’s about getting things done. This is true both within nations and among them. Debates and diplomacy are useful starting points, but there isn’t much point to them if they don’t solve problems or make the world a better place. Sadly, when it comes to climate politics, so far all that has resulted from a quarter-century of negotiations is a series of ongoing discussions that, while better than nothing (because the problem might be even worse without them), have failed to prevent growing pollution of the atmosphere. Things will get much worse before they get better, not least because millions of people in the world’s poorer countries are joining people from the West in becoming world-class consumers and polluters. Notably, millions of Chinese are beating Americans at their own game: “shop ’til you drop.”

What explains this failure of climate politics? The answer is complex, but page 99 of What’s Wrong with Climate Politics and How to Fix It identifies one of the most important answers: you and me. More specifically, page 99 tells us that what’s most wrong with climate politics is, to an enormous degree, the disproportionate consumption -- and thus pollution -- of the world’s affluent people. Together, we are ruining the earth’s climate system, in the process bringing hardship to our children and grandchildren, and great suffering and even death to millions of the world’s poor. The farther one looks into the future, the wider and deeper the suffering will be.

One way of looking at this is that climate change is the greatest injustice that humans have ever committed, both on themselves and other species. But let’s be clear: the greatest injustice is caused by a minority of people – the world’s affluent. To put this in context, page 99 quotes from another book, Do Good Lives Have to Cost the Earth?: “by the time a typical British family sits down to its evening meal on 3 January, they will already have been responsible for a volume of greenhouse gases being pumped into the global commons of the atmosphere equivalent to that produced by a similar-sized Tanzanian family in a year.” The typical American family would do even more harm, as would of course the typical rich family almost anywhere. As page 99 reveals, “globally the amount of greenhouse gas pollution from one person can vary by a factor of one thousand, depending on that person’s level of consumption.”

So what’s wrong with climate politics is what’s wrong with many things: the world’s most affluent people are living high on the hog while the world’s poorest suffer the consequences. That’s wrong, but as the other pages of What’s Wrong with Climate Politics and How to Fix It show, it’s not only bad for the poor. It’s also bad for the affluent polluters themselves. We spend far too much time working, spending and consuming stuff, and far too little time doing and consuming the things that make us happy: spending time with friends and family, eating healthy food and giving service to our communities. Our lives of excess are not a route to happiness any more than a life of poverty is going to satisfy the world’s poor. Simpler lives for us, and healthier lives for them, together point the way toward greater human happiness and, incidentally, finally doing something big to limit future climate change.
Learn more about What's Wrong with Climate Politics and How to Fix It at the John Wiley & Sons website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Robert C. Roberts's "Emotions in the Moral Life"

Robert C. Roberts is Distinguished Professor of Ethics at Baylor University.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Emotions in the Moral Life, and reported the following:
Page 99 occurs in a chapter devoted to emotional truth — the idea that what emotions tell us about the situations of our life can actually be true. Of course, it can also be false, so the questions of that chapter are, 1) How do we tell which emotions are true and which ones false? and 2) What do we and the world have to be like, such that emotions can be true or false? The first question is epistemological, the second metaphysical. This chapter is the third of three that are about the epistemic value of emotions.

The epistemic value of emotions is one of several ways that emotions contribute to the moral life. It comes into play in a scenario like the following: Two white persons are watching a documentary on the history of the civil rights movement in the latter half of the twentieth century in the USA. The video shows the horrors experienced by blacks in Mississippi and Alabama in the 1950s and 1960s, but also documents the real progress that some parts of the black community have made over the last six decades. One of the watchers responds to the clips of church bombings, mourning of the victims, and fire-hosing of the crowds by feeling such uncomfortable emotions as guilt, pity, and indignation; and he tracks with pleasant emotions of hope, joy, and gratitude the later clips of prosperous middleclass black households enjoying family fun. In contrast, the other watcher is amused by the sight of the protesters being scattered pell-mell by the powerful streams of water turned on them but feels nothing much in response to the later scenes of family happiness. Which of these two understands better the values that inhere in the situations presented in the video? I argue that emotions are a kind of perceptual state through which we can be acquainted with the values (positive and negative) that situations have. They thus play a crucial role in our epistemic wellbeing – our fitness to know and understand certain truths, and to deliberate rationally.

Other parts of Emotions in the Moral Life explore emotions’ roles in motivating action, in constituting our good and bad personal relationships, and in making for our happiness and unhappiness.
Learn more about Emotions in the Moral Life at the Cambridge University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Seth Holmes's "Fresh Food, Broken Bodies"

Seth M. Holmes is an anthropologist and physician. He received his PhD in Medical Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco, and his M.D. from the University of California, San Francisco. He is Martin Sisters Endowed Chair Assistant Professor of Public Health and Medical Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Holmes applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States, and reported the following:
In the photo on page 99 of my book, Fresh Food, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States (2013), garbage bags overflowing with crushed beer cans stand behind housing for workers at a berry farm in Washington. The housing -- called cabinas -- were a temporary home to a group of indigenous Mexican farm workers whom I accompanied as they worked on farms in the U.S., crossed the U.S./Mexico border, were detained by border patrol, and were homeless between harvests in California.

The photo is captioned "self medication." The image comes at the end of a passage describing the experiences of Crescencio, a young male farm worker who had suffered severe headaches for years, which he explained were triggered by anti-indigenous racial epithets and unfair treatment by supervisors on the job. He went to doctors for injections and pills and traditional healers in his home community for cleansing. But the only remedy that worked, he explained to me, was to drink 20 to 24 beers, a treatment he had to self-administer a few times in an average work week.

Nationally, migrant farmworkers are sicker than other groups of people. Much of this illness is caused by the political and economic forces that oblige people like Crescencio, to leave their own farms in order to live and labor in damaging conditions in an intricate social and economic hierarchy. Most farmworkers share the experience of having been driven from their home communities by poverty and the international policies affecting local economies. They experience risk and danger crossing the border, particularly under current U.S. policy which has intentionally routed migrants through some of the most treacherous terrain in the region. But for indigenous workers like Crescencio, this suffering is compounded by subtle forms of intentional and unintentional racism from white and non-indigenous Mexican farmworkers. The discrimination takes overt forms such as slurs and insults from farm supervisors and more subtle ones like the idea that indigenous workers are best suited to do harvesting work that involves crouching over because they are assumed to "like to work bent over" and are understood to be "lower to the ground."

In general, the book explores the ways in which global political and economic structures produce labor migration among indigenous Mexicans, the ways in which regional and local ethnic and immigration hierarchies affect the health and sickness of migrant farmworkers, and the ways in which such hierarchies become understood as natural in society and in health care. The book develops concepts such as Foucault's "clinical gaze" and Bourdieu's "symbolic violence" to answer these questions through the stories of several indigenous Mexican migrant farmworkers in southern Mexico, Central California, and rural Washington State. The photo from the story of Crescencio relates to all of these topics. Crescencio's headaches are produced by his labor position and the treatment he receives as an undocumented indigenous Mexican. His predicament is then, subtly, blamed on him through the ways in which society in general and health professionals specifically understand Mexicans, the body, and sickness.
Learn more about Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies at the University of California Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Douglas S. Massey et al, "Climbing Mount Laurel"

Douglas S. Massey is the Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University and director of its Office of Population Research. Len Albright is assistant professor of sociology at Northeastern University. Rebecca Casciano is the CEO of Rebecca Casciano, LLC. Elizabeth Derickson is a doctoral candidate in sociology at Princeton University. David N. Kinsey is lecturer of public and international affairs at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School and a partner in the planning consulting firm Kinsey & Hand.

Massey applied the “Page 99 Test” to their new book, Climbing Mount Laurel: The Struggle for Affordable Housing and Social Mobility in an American Suburb, and reported the following:
Climbing Mount Laurel examines how the opening of a celebrated affordable housing project in New Jersey affected the affluent suburban community around it and the lives of the disadvantaged families who were its first inhabitants. The development is celebrated in the sense that it opened only after a bitter, three-decade fight by local officials and community residents to prevent its construction. The struggle was finally settled by a controversial New Jersey Supreme Court decree articulating a new “Mount Laurel Doctrine” that prohibited municipalities from using zoning regulations to block the construction of affordable housing in their jurisdictions. Indeed, the court went on to assert that each municipality had an “affirmative obligation” to accommodate its fair share of the regional need for affordable housing.

Page 99 is the final paragraph of Chapter 5, which showed that, contrary to the dire prognostications of opponents before the fact, the opening of the project had absolutely no effect on tax burdens, crime rates, or home values in the surrounding community. The remaining chapters demonstrate how moving from rundown housing in poor inner city neighborhoods into attractive townhouses in an affluent white suburb improved the lives of the mostly black and Latino residents—dramatically lowering the degree of exposure to social disorder and violence, improving mental health, lowering the frequency of negative life events, raising rates of employment, increasing earnings, reducing welfare use, increasing parental involvement in education, raising hours of study by students, and greatly improving the academic quality, safety, and security of the schools they attended—all at no cost to nearby residents or New Jersey taxpayers.

In the paragraph my coauthors and I conclude that “to the extent that moving into a safe, quiet, affluent suburb provides project residents with new access to benefits and resources with which they can make their way out of poverty, affordable housing may constitute an important social mobility program capable of breaking the cycle of disadvantage they left behind in poor urban neighborhoods.” We hope that NJ Governor Chris Christie reads the book. Perhaps then he will cease his efforts to overturn the Mount Laurel Doctrine and defund affordable housing initiatives throughout the state.
Learn more about Climbing Mount Laurel at the Princeton University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 5, 2013

Justin Roberts's "Slavery and the Enlightenment in the British Atlantic, 1750–1807"

Justin Roberts is an Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he specializes in the study of slavery and the Atlantic World. He received his PhD from Johns Hopkins University.

Roberts applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Slavery and the Enlightenment in the British Atlantic, 1750-1807, and reported the following:
Page 99 is buried in the midst of the second chapter which is about the seasonal rhythms of agriculture and work routines on large slave plantations in the final decades before the abolition of the African slave trade. In these decades, planters drew on the ruthless rationalism and pragmatism of the British Enlightenment to “improve” their plantations. This section of chapter two is especially detailed and attentive to the kind of agricultural history that might be of most interest to specialists. Page 99 addresses some relatively dry material about the planters’ agricultural decisions but this kind of evidence, drawn from a massive collection of plantation accounts and correspondence, underscores two key points that are woven throughout this book. First, planters were business managers who tended to make calculated, profit maximizing and rational decisions about their plantations. There was nothing economically backwards about their business decisions. Plantation owners and their managers experimented often and adapted to changing market conditions. These decisions usually made plantations efficient and lucrative for the owners and productivity rates per slave rose consistently during this era of improvement but, at the same time, this improvement movement rarely benefited the enslaved. In most cases, the planters’ efforts to improve their estates meant more working hours and more rigorous methods of supervision and discipline for the enslaved Africans toiling in the fields. The second point is that work consumed the vast majority of slaves’ waking hours and we need to understand plantation management schemes and work routines if we want to understand the lives of the enslaved. They were, first and foremost, workers. How did slaves’ work? What were they made to do? When did they work? Who were they forced to work alongside and how did their daily jobs shape their communities? How did all this change over time? In the following chapters, my book examines the impact of these continually changing plantation management decisions and agricultural routines on the slaves’ bodies, their families and their communities in the early US and in the Caribbean.
Learn more about Slavery and the Enlightenment in the British Atlantic, 1750-1807 at the Cambridge University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 3, 2013

John V. Fleming's "The Dark Side of the Enlightenment"

John V. Fleming, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, taught humanistic studies at Princeton University for forty years. He is the author of The Anti-Communist Manifestos: Four Books That Shaped the Cold War.

Fleming applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, The Dark Side of the Enlightenment: Wizards, Alchemists, and Spiritual Seekers in the Age of Reason, and reported the following:
“The episode of the Convulsionists was necessarily political.”

I suppose that is the crystallizing sentence of page ninety-nine of The Dark Side of the Enlightenment–a page that, while perhaps falling slightly short of the distilled brilliance of page ninety-eight or the mellower wisdom of page one hundred, nonetheless achieves a useful transition in my account of the celebrated medical miracles at the Parisian church of Saint-Médard in the 1730s. The observation that our politics often become convulsive would be a cliché; I hope there is more originality in the claim that convulsions can be political. The convulsions in question on page ninety-nine were the strange bodily spasms, promiscuous writhings, and alarming holy rollings characteristic of the beneficiaries of the miracle cures effected at the tomb of a recently defunct deacon.

The chapter on the Convulsionists, in which the ninety-ninth page happens to fall, is one of two dealing with the annoying persistence of supernatural extravagances in the Age of Reason. The book as a whole has the ambition of broadening the reader’s view of the European Enlightenment by drawing attention to what I good-naturedly call its “dark side”. Students of the Enlightenment have generally preferred the carefully trimmed lawns and geometrical parterres of its intellectual garden, but if you are in search of the best mushrooms you may have to stray out into the weeds.

Other chapters include accounts of the Rosicrucians and their self-appointed mission of “the reformation of the whole, wide world” and of the complex social and intellectual role of Freemasonry, which spread through the elite centers of eighteenth-century Europe with astonishing speed. One chapter deals with the three principal occult pastimes of the enlightened—alchemy, magic, and kabbala.

I am one of those who continue to think that the indispensable part of history is story. About half the book, accordingly is given over to the biographies of two remarkable figures in whom the complexities and irresolutions of the Enlightenment are vibrant. “Count” Cagliostro, magician to the rich and famous, is one of history’s better-known con men. I claim he was more than that. The reader will perhaps never before have encountered Julie de Krüdener—whom I describe as a combination of Danielle Steel and Mother Teresa. Here is your chance to meet her.
Learn more about the book and author at John V. Fleming's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 2, 2013

Damon J. Phillips' "Shaping Jazz"

Damon J. Phillips is the James P. Gorman Professor of Business Strategy at Columbia University and a faculty affiliate of Columbia's Center for Jazz Studies and the Center for Organizational Innovation.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Shaping Jazz: Cities, Labels, and the Global Emergence of an Art Form, and reported the following:
Shaping Jazz seeks to understand how the context of production affected which tunes became jazz standards and the role of record companies in privileging certain songs over others. Rather than assuming that jazz standards are inherently “better” songs than those which are not standards, in Shaping Jazz I provide evidence that our understanding of “good jazz” is heavily influenced by sociological and economic forces.

In this light, page 99 summarizes one of my key findings, that the jazz music produced by record companies in the 1920s was influenced by strong anti-jazz pressure by the cultural elite. It turns out that jazz music was reviled by the cultural elite to the point of them pursuing anti-jazz legislation, issuing official health warnings against jazz, writing anti-jazz articles and editorials, and forming anti-jazz police units in cities such as Philadelphia and New York. On the preceding page (p. 98) I report analyses showing that the major record companies (called “Victorian-era firms”) were not only less innovative in the early 1920s, but also avoided recording black groups who resembled Louis Armstrong’s style of jazz. Page 99 culminates these analyses by reporting more results showing that “…the greater the anti-jazz pressure, the less innovative Victorian-era firms were.” In other words, innovativeness by the major record companies was lower when anti-jazz pressure increased. Moreover, these same companies “…responded to anti-jazz pressure by decreasing their production of black non-orchestras…” where “black non-orchestras” is my label for groups that resembled the early Louis Armstrong type of group.

This gets to one of the main points of Shaping Jazz, that jazz as we know it today is not the product of artistic production in a vacuum, rather it was shaped by the decisions and actions of record companies. To the extent that recordings represent the history of jazz, record companies helped to write that history, and we can’t really understand the trajectory of jazz, or the canon of jazz standards that represent jazz, unless we take a serious look at the commercial and cultural interests that affected what was recorded and marketed as jazz in the first place.
Learn more about Shaping Jazz at the Princeton University Press website and Damon J. Phillips' website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Paul D. Moreno's "The American State from the Civil War to the New Deal"

Paul D. Moreno is the William and Berniece Grewcock Chair in the American Constitution and is the Dean of Faculty at Hillsdale College. He has taught at Hillsdale College for thirteen years and has held visiting professorships at Princeton University and the University of Paris School of Law. He earned his doctorate under Herman Belz at the University of Maryland in 1994. Moreno is the author of From Direct Action to Affirmative Action: Fair Employment Law and Policy in America and Black Americans and Organized Labor: A New History.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his latest book, The American State from the Civil War to the New Deal: The Twilight of Constitutionalism and the Triumph of Progressivism, and reported the following:
I have never read a word written by Ford Madox Ford, though I have read about him, and always wondered why his parents couldn’t come up with a more original first name. But I appreciate his “page 99 test,” which works perfectly for me. On this page I discuss the case of Lochner v. New York, which is an excellent illustration of the entire thrust of my book—a revisionist account of the progressive and New Deal eras. For over a century progressives and New Dealers (who came to call themselves “liberals”) used this case to claim that the Supreme Court of this period routinely struck down legislation that would benefit the economically disadvantaged. Lochner concerned a New York law that limited the number of hours that bakers could work.

Progressive critics of the old constitutional order—law professors like Roscoe Pound and Edward S. Corwin, and politicians like Theodore Roosevelt—claimed that decisions like Lochner typified the turn-of-the-century Supreme Court. Former Justice David Souter claimed that the Lochner legend was “most familiar history” in 1995, and Justice Antonin Scalia echoed this argument a few weeks ago in his DOMA dissent.

More attentive scholars have come to see that Lochner was an aberration. Charles Warren observed this as early as 1913, but the Lochner legend has been very difficult to displace. As a matter of fact, the Court routinely accepted almost any pretext that state legislatures gave for exercising their “police power”—the power to legislate for the “safety, health, welfare and morals” of the people. More representative than Lochner was Plessy v. Ferguson, where the Court accepted Louisiana’s racial segregation law as a public-safety measure to prevent racial friction and race riots—indeed, the state claimed that the act would benefit African-Americans.

Still more recently, scholars have shown that the New York bakeshop act was an example of “class legislation”—an act not for the public good but for the benefit of a special interest or faction. Law professor David E. Bernstein in particular has shown that older, established, and unionized bakers got the state to enact it in order to limit the competition of newer, non-union immigrant bakers (southern and eastern Europeans and Jews in particular). The state was quite explicit on this point, telling the Court that “there have come to New York great numbers of foreigners with habits with must be changed.”

But Lochner is still best known for Oliver Wendell’s Holmes’ dissenting opinion, in which he accused the majority of reading its Social Darwinist laissez-faire economic preferences into the Constitution. This too is wonderfully ironic, because Holmes himself was the only justice on the Court influenced by Social Darwinism. His brethren rather were adhering to the older, classical and Lockean liberalism of the Founders.
Learn more about The American State from the Civil War to the New Deal at the Cambridge University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue