Book Reviews

This category contains 44 posts

Book Review : SELECTED LETTERS OF LANGSTON HUGHES. Edited by Arnold Rampersad and David Roessel with Christa Fratantoro. New York: Alfred A. Knopf Publisher. 2015.

SELECTED LETTERS OF LANGSTON HUGHES. Edited by Arnold Rampersad and David Roessel with Christa Fratantoro. New York: Alfred A. Knopf Publisher. 2015.   Assembling a collection of correspondence can be as loose as what Richard Wright once said about anthology-making: get a pot of glue and a pair of sharp scissors, and cut and paste … Continue reading

book review: OKLAHOMO: LESSONS IN UNQUEERING AMERICA

OKLAHOMO: Lessons in Unqueering America. By Carol Mason. 2015.   Sally Kern is a six-term member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and she does not like homosexuals. In fact, in 2008, Kern stated publicly that she considers homosexuality to be “the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam.” According … Continue reading

book review: BOXCAR POLITICS: THE HOBO IN U.S. CULTURE AND LITERATURE, 1869-1956

BOXCAR POLITICS: The Hobo in U.S. Culture and Literature, 1869–1956. By John Lennon. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. 2014. John Lennon’s insightful new work, Boxcar Politics, claims that “hoboing was not just a mode of travel” for U.S. transient workers in the years between the completion of the intercontinental railroad and the signing of the … Continue reading

book review: A WORLD MORE CONCRETE: REAL ESTATE AND THE REMAKING OF JIM CROW SOUTH FLORIDA

A WORLD MORE CONCRETE: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida. By N.D B. Connolly. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2014. With its emphasis on Miami, Florida, this timely work is an important addition to a number of books focusing on the relationships between urban planning and African American communities throughout the … Continue reading

book review-BOOKS THAT COOK: THE MAKING OF A MODERN LITERARY MEAL

BOOKS THAT COOK: The Making of a Modern Literary Meal. Edited by Jennifer Cognard-Black and Melissa A. Goldthwaite. New York: New York University Press. 2014.   Books that Cook is a savory concoction of prose, poetics, and recipes that narrate U.S. history and memory through the optic of the cookbook since the eighteenth century. Through … Continue reading

book review- BECOMING BELAFONTE: BLACK ARTIST, PUBLIC RADICAL

BECOMING BELAFONTE: Black Artist, Public Radical. By Judith Smith. Austin: University of Texas Press. 2014.   Harry Belafonte was well known to Americans in the fifties and sixties, both as a musician and as a Hollywood film star. And for more than a half-century, Belafonte has made headlines for his activism on behalf of diverse … Continue reading

Book Review-THOMAS JEFFERSON’S ETHICS AND THE POLITICS OF HUMAN PROGRESS: THE MORALITY OF A SLAVE HOLDER (2013)

THOMAS JEFFERSON’S ETHICS AND THE POLITICS OF HUMAN PROGRESS: The Morality of a Slave Holder. By Ari Helo. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2013. Ari Helo’s Thomas Jefferson’s Ethics and the Politics of Human Progress: The Morality of a Slave Holder is a thorough and complex contribution to Jeffersonian scholarship. Helo is primarily concerned with … Continue reading

Book Review—WE SELL DRUGS: The Alchemy of US Empire by Suzanna Reiss (2014)

Suzanna Reiss, in We Sell Drugs, presents a novel and compelling argument about our changing notion of the war on drugs. She argues that the war is not, and never has been, actually about “drugs” at all. Instead, the drug war has long been centered on policing the boundaries between the licit and illicit and exercising increasingly international systems of control, whether that applies to people and their behavior, substances and their use, or the actions that governments and corporations take to preserve their grasp on profit and power. Continue reading

Book Review—ISLAM IS A FOREIGN COUNTRY: American Muslims and the Global Crisis of Authority by Zareena Grewal (2014)

“For one thing, Grewal’s book mines the genre of autoethnography more successfully than any I have read in years, and bears comparison to gold standards such as The Woman Warrior and Borderlands/La Frontera…” Continue reading

Book Review—THE PUNISHMENT IMPERATIVE (2014) and DOWN IN THE CHAPEL (2013)

DOWN IN THE CHAPEL: Religious Life in an American Prison. By Joshua Dubler. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. 2013. THE PUNISHMENT IMPERATIVE: The Rise and Failure of Mass Incarceration in America, by Todd R. Clear and Natasha A. Frost. New York: New York University Press. 2014. Two recent books agree that American prisons lost … Continue reading

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