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William Summerhill has just published Inglorious Revolution: Political Institutions, Sovereign Debt, and Financial Underdevelopment in Imperial Brazil (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015)

Government debt crises are a fact of political and economic life. The costs of government default are often severe. Nowhere has this been more clearly demonstrated than in Latin America. By the middle of the 19th century most Latin American states had become what modern scholars have labeled "serial defaulters."

William Summerhill shows that Imperial Brazil (1822-1889) was an exception. Much as they did in Britain more than a century before, the political institutions of constitutional monarchy provided an effective penalty for default in Brazil, which in turn credibly committed the government to repay its debts. Beginning in the 1820s bankers in London structured Brazil's loans in sterling, and merchants and slave traders in Rio de Janeiro were willing to lend in local currency. The parliament always budgeted funds to service its loans. The result was continuous access to capital markets. While most Spanish American governments repeatedly defaulted, Brazil's bondholders on both sides of the Atlantic always received their interest payments. This achievement constituted nothing less than a revolution in public finance.

Given Imperial Brazil's enviable record of government borrowing, it should have also experienced a broad-based revolution in private finance. Summerhill shows that it did not. Restrictive and arbitrary controls over incorporation, and regulatory barriers to entry by banks, created financial underdevelopment. The same political institutions that fostered credible public finance stymied innovation in private capital markets. In terms of its consequences for financial development, Brazil's rupture with absolutist government at independence was an inglorious revolution.


Brenda Stevenson has just published What is Slavery (New York: Wiley, 2015)

What is slavery? It seems a simple enough question. Despite the long history of the institution and its widespread use around the globe, many people still largely associate slavery, outside of the biblical references in the Old Testament, to the enslavement of Africans in America, particularly the United States. Slavery proved to be essential to the creation of the young nation’s agricultural and industrial economies and profoundly shaped its political and cultural landscapes, even until today.

What Is Slavery? focuses on the experience of enslaved black people in the United States from its early colonial period to the dawn of that destructive war that was as much about slavery as anything else. The book begins with a survey of slavery across time and place, from the ancient world to the beginning of the Atlantic slave trade and then describes the commerce in black laborers that ushered in market globalization and brought more than 12 million Africans to the Americas, before finally examining slavery in law and practice.

Robin Kelley has just published The Other Special Relationship: Race, Rights and Riots in Britain and the United States," (New York: Palgrave, 2015)

The close diplomatic, economic, and military ties that comprising the "special relationship" between the United States and Great Britain have received plenty of attention from historians over the years. Less frequently noted are the countries' shared experiences of empire, white supremacy, racial inequality, and neoliberalism - and the attendant struggles for civil rights and political reform that have marked their recent history. This state-of-the-field collection traces the contours of this other "special relationship," exploring its implications for our understanding of the development of an internationally interconnected civil rights movement. Here, scholars from a range of research fields contribute essays on a wide variety of themes, from solidarity protests to calypso culture to white supremacy.


Sanjay Subrahmanyam has just published Leçons Indiennes: Itinéraires d'un historien, Delhi, Lisbonne, Paris, Los Angeles (Paris: Alma, 2015)

Born in New Delhi in 1961 in a family of civil servants and intellectuals – his father was an influential specialist of strategic studies and defence – Sanjay Subrahmanyam received his university degrees there, first teaching economics before becoming well known for his work on the history of India between the 16th and the 18th centuries. It was from an Indian point of departure that he went on to the develop, in Europe and the US, an “early modern global history” – the title of his Chair at the Collège de France – of which he remains the most brilliant representative. In this book, Subrahmanyam brings together some twenty essays written between 1995 and 2012, intended for a larger public and not merely specialists. In these popular essays, one sees the historian as an observer of political and cultural life, always concerned not to propose a “universal” approach but to produce a multipolar set of perceptions. The reader is taken from the past to the present and back, whether in a discussion of France and its regions, or Salman Rushdie, or V.S. Naipaul. Alma has already published two of Subrahmanyam’s major books: Vasco de Gama (2012) et Comment être un étranger (2013).


Hunt, Writing HistoryLynn Hunt has just published Writing History in the Global Era. (W.W. Norton & Company, 2014)

Leading historian Lynn Hunt rethinks why history matters in today’s global world and how it should be written. George Orwell wrote that “history is written by the winners.” Even if that seems a bit too cut-and-dried, we can say that history is always written from a viewpoint but that viewpoints change, sometimes radically. The history of workers, women, and minorities challenged the once-unquestioned dominance of the tales of great leaders and military victories. Then, cultural studies—including feminism and queer studies—brought fresh perspectives, but those too have run their course.


With globalization emerging as a major economic, cultural, and political force, Lynn Hunt examines whether it can reinvigorate the telling of history. She hopes that scholars from East and West can collaborate in new ways and write wider-ranging works. At the same time, Hunt argues that we could better understand the effects of globalization in the past if we knew more about how individuals felt about the changes they were experiencing. She proposes a sweeping reevaluation of individuals’ active role and their place in society as the keys to understanding the way people and ideas interact. She also reveals how surprising new perspectives on society and the self—from environmental history, the history of human-animal interactions, and even neuroscience—offer promising new ways of thinking about the meaning and purpose of history in our time.


Sabean, KinshipKinship, Community, and Self: Essays in Honor of David Warren Sabean (Spektrum: Publications of the German Studies Association) (Berghahn Books, 2014) has been published.

David Warren Sabean was a pioneer in the historical-anthropological study of kinship, community, and selfhood in early modern and modern Europe. His career has helped shape the discipline of history through his supervision of dozens of graduate students and his influence on countless other scholars. This book collects wide-ranging essays demonstrating the impact of Sabean's work has on scholars of diverse time periods and regions, all revolving around the prominent issues that have framed his career: kinship, community, and self. The significance of David Warren Sabean's scholarship is reflected in original research contributed by former students and essays written by his contemporaries, demonstrating Sabean's impact on the discipline of history.


Stein, Sephardi LivesSarah Stein has just published Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700-1950. (Stanford University Press, 2014)

This ground-breaking documentary history contains over 150 primary sources originally written in 15 languages by or about Sephardi Jews—descendants of Jews who fled medieval Spain and Portugal settling in the western portions of the Ottoman Empire, including the Balkans, Anatolia, and Palestine. Reflecting Sephardi history in all its diversity, from the courtyard to the courthouse, spheres intimate, political, commercial, familial, and religious, these documents show life within these distinctive Jewish communities as well as between Jews, Muslims, and Christians.


Sephardi Lives offer readers an intimate view of how Sephardim experienced the major regional and world events of the modern era—natural disasters, violence and wars, the transition from empire to nation-states, and the Holocaust. This collection also provides a vivid exploration of the day-to-day lives of Sephardi women, men, boys, and girls in the Judeo-Spanish heartland of the Ottoman Balkans and Middle East, as well as the émigré centers Sephardim settled throughout the twentieth century, including North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. The selections are of a vast range, including private letters from family collections, rabbinical writings, documents of state, memoirs and diaries, court records, selections from the popular press, and scholarship.


Baldwin, Copyright WarsPeter Baldwin has just published The Copyright Wars: Three Centuries of Trans-Atlantic Battle. (Princeton University Press, 2014)

Today’s copyright wars can seem unprecedented. Sparked by the digital revolution that has made copyright—and its violation—a part of everyday life, fights over intellectual property have pitted creators, Hollywood, and governments against consumers, pirates, Silicon Valley, and open-access advocates. But while the digital generation can be forgiven for thinking the dispute between, for example, the publishing industry and Google is completely new, the copyright wars in fact stretch back three centuries—and their history is essential to understanding today’s battles. The Copyright Wars—the first major trans-Atlantic history of copyright from its origins to today—tells this important story.


Peter Baldwin explains why the copyright wars have always been driven by a fundamental tension. Should copyright assure authors and rights holders lasting claims, much like conventional property rights, as in Continental Europe? Or should copyright be primarily concerned with giving consumers cheap and easy access to a shared culture, as in Britain and America? The Copyright Wars describes how the Continental approach triumphed, dramatically increasing the claims of rights holders. The book also tells the widely forgotten story of how America went from being a leading copyright opponent and pirate in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to become the world’s intellectual property policeman in the late twentieth. As it became a net cultural exporter and its content industries saw their advantage in the Continental ideology of strong authors’ rights, the United States reversed position on copyright, weakening its commitment to the ideal of universal enlightenment—a history that reveals that today’s open-access advocates are heirs of a venerable American tradition.


Derby, The Dominican Republic ReaderRobin Derby has just published The Dominican Republic Reader: History, Culture, Politics. (Duke University Press, 2014)

Despite its significance in the history of Spanish colonialism, the Dominican Republic is familiar to most outsiders through only a few elements of its past and culture. Non-Dominicans may be aware that the country shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti and that it is where Christopher Columbus chose to build a colony. Some may know that the country produces talented baseball players and musicians; others that it is a prime destination for beach vacations. Little else about the Dominican Republic is common knowledge outside its borders. This Reader seeks to change that. It provides an introduction to the history, politics, and culture of the country, from precolonial times into the early twenty-first century. Among the volume's 118 selections are essays, speeches, journalism, songs, poems, legal documents, testimonials, and short stories, as well as several interviews conducted especially for this Reader.


Avila, The Folklore of the FreewayEric Avila has just published The Folklore of the Freeway - Race and Revolt in the Modernist City. (University of Minnesota Press, 2014)

When the interstate highway program connected America’s cities, it also divided them, cutting through and devastating countless communities—many of them minority urban neighborhoods lacking the political and economic power to resist the construction. Within the context of the 1960s and 1970s, Eric Avila maps the creative strategies devised by urban communities to document and protest the damage that highways wrought.


Juan Gómez-Quiñones has just published Making Aztlán: Ideology and Culture of the Chicana and Chicano Movement, 1966-1977." (University of New Mexico Press, 2014)

This book provides a long-needed overview of the Chicana and Chicano movement’s social history as it grew, flourished, and then slowly fragmented. The authors examine the movement’s origins in the 1960s and 1970s, showing how it evolved from a variety of organizations and activities united in their quest for basic equities for Mexican Americans in U.S. society. Within this matrix of agendas, objectives, strategies, approaches, ideologies, and identities, numerous electrifying moments stitched together the struggle for civil and human rights. Gómez-Quiñones and Irene Vásquez show how these convergences underscored tensions among diverse individuals and organizations at every level. Their narrative offers an assessment of U.S. society and the Mexican American community at a critical time, offering a unique understanding of its civic progress toward a more equitable social order.


Matsumoto, City Girls_thumbnailValerie Matsumoto has just published City Girls - The Nisei Social World in Los Angeles, 1920-1950. (Oxford University Press, 2014)

Even before wartime incarceration, Japanese Americans largely lived in separate cultural communities from their West Coast neighbors. Although the Nisei children, the American-born second generation, were U.S. citizens and were integrated in public schools, they were socially isolated in many ways from their peers. These young women found rapport in ethnocultural youth organizations, a forgotten world of female friendship and camaraderie that Valerie J. Matsumoto recovers in this book.


Stein, Saharan Jews and the Fate of French AlgeriaSarah Stein has just published Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria. (The University of Chicago Press, 2014)

The history of Algerian Jews has thus far been viewed from the perspective of communities on the northern coast, who became, to some extent, beneficiaries of colonialism. But to the south, in the Sahara, Jews faced a harsher colonial treatment. In Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria, Sarah Abrevaya Stein asks why the Jews of Algeria’s south were marginalized by French authorities, how they negotiated the sometimes brutal results, and what the reverberations have been in the postcolonial era.


Drawing on materials from thirty archives across six countries, Stein tells the story of colonial imposition on a desert community that had lived and traveled in the Sahara for centuries. She paints an intriguing historical picture—of an ancient community, trans-Saharan commerce, desert labor camps during World War II, anthropologist spies, battles over oil, and the struggle for Algerian sovereignty. Writing colonialism and decolonization into Jewish history and Jews into the French Saharan one, Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria is a fascinating exploration not of Jewish exceptionalism but of colonial power and its religious and cultural differentiations, which have indelibly shaped the modern world.


Terrall, Catching Nature in the ActMary Terrall has just published Catching Nature in the Act. (The University of Chicago Press, 2014)

Natural history in the eighteenth century was many things to many people—diversion, obsession, medically or economically useful knowledge, spectacle, evidence for God’s providence and wisdom, or even the foundation of all natural knowledge. Because natural history was pursued by such a variety of people around the globe, with practitioners sharing neither methods nor training, it has been characterized as a science of straightforward description, devoted to amassing observations as the raw material for classification and thus fundamentally distinct from experimental physical science. In Catching Nature in the Act, Mary Terrall revises this picture, revealing how eighteenth-century natural historians incorporated various experimental techniques and strategies into their practice.


Hirano, Politics of Dialogic ImaginationKatsuya Hirano has just published The Politics of Dialogic Imagination. (The University of Chicago Press, 2014)

In The Politics of Dialogic Imagination, Katsuya Hirano seeks to understand why, with its seemingly unrivaled power, the Tokugawa shogunate of early modern Japan tried so hard to regulate the ostensibly unimportant popular culture of Edo (present-day Tokyo)—including fashion, leisure activities, prints, and theater. He does so by examining the works of writers and artists who depicted and celebrated the culture of play and pleasure associated with Edo’s street entertainers, vagrants, actors, and prostitutes, whom Tokugawa authorities condemned to be detrimental to public mores, social order, and political economy.

Hirano uncovers a logic of politics within Edo’s cultural works that was extremely potent in exposing contradictions between the formal structure of the Tokugawa world and its rapidly changing realities. He goes on to look at the effects of this logic, examining policies enacted during the next era—the Meiji period—that mark a drastic reconfiguration of power and a new politics toward ordinary people under modernizing Japan. Deftly navigating Japan’s history and culture, The Politics of Dialogic Imagination provides a sophisticated account of a country in the process of radical transformation—and of the intensely creative culture that came out of it.


M. Jacob, The First Knowledge EconomyMargaret Jacob has just published The First Knowledge Economy: Human Capital and the European Economy, 1750-1850. (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

Ever since the Industrial Revolution, debate has raged about the sources of the new, sustained Western prosperity. Margaret Jacob here argues persuasively for the critical importance of knowledge in Europe's economic transformation during the period from 1750 to 1850, first in Britain and then in selected parts of Northern and Western Europe. This is a new history of economic development in which minds, books, lectures, and education become central. She shows how, armed with knowledge and know-how and inspired by the desire to get rich, entrepreneurs emerged within an industrial culture wedded to scientific knowledge and technology. She charts how, across a series of industries and nations, innovative engineers and entrepreneurs sought to make sense and a profit out of the world around them. Skilled hands matched minds steeped in the knowledge systems new to the eighteenth century to transform the economic destiny of Western Europe.


Jacob, In Praise of Ordinary PeopleMargaret Jacob and Catherine Secretan have just edited In Praise of Ordinary People: Early Modern Britain and the Dutch Republic. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

The discipline of social history has for many decades focused on the lives of so-called "ordinary" people. Less studied, however, has been the ways in which the perceptions and roles of these individuals changed over time - both in historical theory and practice. In particular, in Europe beginning in the sixteenth century, they were no longer simply ignored, feared, or denigrated by elites: they came to be seen, however cautiously, as having value through their skills and crafts, or in their ability to reason, or even in their contributions to anchoring the stability of the state. It is not accidental that these sorts of practices on the part of ordinary people became valorized more visibly in the English and Dutch contexts. After 1550 the Dutch Revolt cast ordinary people, particularly in urban settings, as participants on either the Catholic Spanish side or among the Dutch rebels and their reformed churches. Meanwhile, the English civil wars of the 1640s did something similar, and also produced a body of theoretical literature on the capacities of ordinary men and even women that became central to Western democratic thinking. In the fascinating array of studies gathered here, we see how the study of these participants' social identities imparts historical texture and enables us to understand early modernity with greater clarity.


Alpers, The Indian Ocean in World HistoryEdward Alpers has just published The Indian Ocean in World History. (Oxford University Press, 2013)

The Indian Ocean remains the least studied of the world's geographic regions. Yet there have been major cultural exchanges across its waters and around its shores from the third millennium B.C.E. to the present day. Historian Edward A. Alpers explores the complex issues involved in cultural exchange in the Indian Ocean Rim region over the course of this long period of time by combining a historical approach with the insights of anthropology, art history, ethnomusicology, and geography.

The Indian Ocean witnessed several significant diasporas during the past two millennia, including migrations of traders, indentured laborers, civil servants, sailors, and slaves throughout the entire basin. Persians and Arabs from the Gulf came to eastern Africa and Madagascar as traders and settlers, while Hadramis dispersed from south Yemen as traders and Muslim teachers to the Comoro Islands, Zanzibar, South India, and Indonesia. Southeast Asians migrated to Madagascar, and Chinese dispersed from Southeast Asia to the Mascarene Islands to South Africa.

Alpers also explores the cultural exchanges that diasporas cause, telling stories of identity and cultural transformation through language, popular religion, music, dance, art and architecture, and social organization. For example, architectural and decorative styles in eastern Africa, the Red Sea, the Hadramaut, the Persian Gulf, and western India reflect cultural interchanges in multiple directions. Similarly, the popular musical form of taarab in Zanzibar and coastal East Africa incorporates elements of Arab, Indian, and African musical traditions, while the characteristic frame drum (ravanne) of séga, the widespread Afro-Creole dance of the Mascarene and Seychelles Islands, probably owes its ultimate origins to Arabia by way of Mozambique.

The Indian Ocean in World History also discusses issues of trade and production that show the long history of exchange throughout the Indian Ocean world; politics and empire-building by both regional and European powers; and the role of religion and religious conversion, focusing mainly on Islam, but also mentioning Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. Using a broad geographic perspective, the book includes references to connections between the Indian Ocean world and the Americas. Moving into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Alpers looks at issues including the new configuration of colonial territorial boundaries after World War I, and the search for oil reserves.

Appleby, Shores of KnowledgeJoyce Appleby has just published Shores of Knowledge. (W. W. Norton & Company, 2013)

An engrossing history of the voyages of exploration that ignited curiosity about nature and gave birth to modern science.

When Columbus first returned to Spain from the Caribbean, he dazzled King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella with exotic parrots, tropical flowers, and bits of gold. Inspired by the promise of riches, countless seafarers poured out of the Iberian Peninsula and wider Europe in search of spices, treasure, and land. Many returned with strange tales of the New World.

Curiosity began to percolate through Europe as the New World’s people, animals, and plants ruptured prior assumptions about the biblical description of creation. The Church, long fearful of challenges to its authority, could no longer suppress the mantra “Dare to know!”

Noblemen began collecting cabinets of curiosities; soon others went from collecting to examining natural objects with fresh eyes. Observation led to experiments; competing conclusions triggered debates. The foundations for the natural sciences were laid as questions became more multifaceted and answers became more complex. Carl Linneaus developed a classification system and sent students around the globe looking for specimens. Museums, botanical gardens, and philosophical societies turned their attention to nature. National governments undertook explorations of the Pacific.

Historian Joyce Appleby vividly recounts the explorers’ triumphs and mishaps, including Magellan’s violent death in the Philippines; the miserable trek of the “new Argonauts” across the Andes on their mission to determine the true shape of the earth; and how two brilliant scientists, Alexander Humboldt and Charles Darwin, traveled to the Americas for evidence to confirm their hypotheses about the earth and its inhabitants. Drawing on detailed eyewitness accounts, Appleby also tells of the turmoil created in the all societies touched by the explorations.

This sweeping, global story imbues the Age of Discovery with fresh meaning, elegantly charting its stimulation of the natural sciences, which ultimately propelled Western Europe toward modernity.

Getty Publishes New Book on StalinismJ. Arch Getty has just published Practicing Stalinism: Bolsheviks, Boyars, and the Persistence of Tradition. (Yale University Press, 2013)

In old Russia, patron/client relations, "clan" politics, and a variety of other informal practices spanned the centuries. Government was understood to be patrimonial and personal rather than legal, and office holding was far less important than proximity to patrons. Working from heretofore unused documents from the Communist archives, J. Arch Getty shows how these political practices and traditions from old Russia have persisted throughout the twentieth-century Soviet Union and down to the present day.

Getty examines a number of case studies of political practices in the Stalin era and after. These include cults of personality, the transformation of Old Bolsheviks into noble grandees, the Communist Party's personnel selection system, and the rise of political clans ("family circles") after the 1917 Revolutions. Stalin's conflicts with these clans, and his eventual destruction of them, were key elements of the Great Purges of the 1930s. But although Stalin could destroy the competing clans, he could not destroy the historically embedded patron-client relationship, as a final chapter on political practice under Putin shows.

Lal, Oxford Anthology of the Modern Indian City Vol. 2Vinay Lal has just published The Oxford Anthology of the Modern Indian City: Making and Unmaking the City; Politics, Culture, and Life Forms (Oxford University Press, 2013)

The city of modern India is a web of identities, interests, and institutions. Perhaps the city everywhere gives the impression of being unfinished, as people come and go, talking of this and that, but in India the sense of a place on the make is overwhelming. Our colonial cities—Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras—helped redefine our very understanding of Indian culture; the villagers trooping into the city have further reshaped it in their image.

For all the beauty a city may hold, its character flows more from its street life and the intricate patterning of social networks. Some people claim the city as their own, and live as if they own it; some disown the city, and yet others are disowned by it. Violence appears to be present at every corner, and yet the city is the nexus of art, culture, and conviviality. The city is always full of surprises, having multiple selves, varying by day and by night. Together with its companion volume, The City in its Plenitude, this anthology— a collection of writings from across the genres of poetry, short stories, essays, and social commentaries drawn from English as well as the rich literature in Indian languages—is a tribute to the modern Indian city.

Lal, Oxford Anthology of the Modern Indian City Vol. 1Vinay Lal has just published The Oxford Anthology of the Modern Indian City: The City in its Plenitude (Oxford University Press, 2013)

Banaras, Bangalore, Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Lucknow . . . cities all, sharing certain characteristics, and yet so unlike each other. Cities are like the people they hold—loved and unloved, likely to attract some and repel others. Each has a character of its own: some are laidback, others more vibrant; a few have witnessed and endured a lot, others appear to have had a relatively mundane existence.

The city has a long history in India—from the urban civilization of the Indus Valley in 2500 bce to the megalopolis found in contemporary India. Taking the reader through an alluring maze of streets, lanes, memories, and much more, the writings in this volume allow her to gaze at the mosaic and imaginary of the city, look back at the city in colonial India, and reflect on the city and its streets as a work of architecture. Together with its companion volume, Making and Unmaking the City: Politics, Culture, and Life Forms, this collection pays tribute to the modern Indian city.

Stevenson, Contested Murder of Latasha HarlinsBrenda Stevenson has just published The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins (Oxford University Press, 2013)

Helicopters thwopped low over the city, filming blocks of burning cars and buildings, mobs breaking into storefronts, and the vicious beating of truck driver Reginald Denny. For a week in April 1992, Los Angeles transformed into a cityscape of rage, purportedly due to the exoneration of four policemen who had beaten Rodney King. It should be no surprise that such intense anger erupted from something deeper than a single incident.

In The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins, Brenda Stevenson tells the dramatic story of an earlier trial, a turning point on the road to the 1992 riot. On March 16, 1991, fifteen-year-old Latasha Harlins, an African American who lived locally, entered the Empire Liquor Market at 9172 South Figueroa Street in South Central Los Angeles. Behind the counter was a Korean woman named Soon Ja Du. Latasha walked to the refrigerator cases in the back, took a bottle of orange juice, put it in her backpack, and approached the cash register with two dollar bills in her hand-the price of the juice. Moments later she was face-down on the floor with a bullet hole in the back of her head, shot dead by Du. Joyce Karlin, a Jewish Superior Court judge appointed by Republican Governor Pete Wilson, presided over the resulting manslaughter trial. A jury convicted Du, but Karlin sentenced her only to probation, community service, and a $500 fine. The author meticulously reconstructs these events and their aftermath, showing how they set the stage for the explosion in 1992.

An accomplished historian at UCLA, Stevenson explores the lives of each of these three women-Harlins, Du, and Karlin-and their very different worlds in rich detail. Through the three women, she not only reveals the human reality and social repercussions of this triangular collision, she also provides a deep history of immigration, ethnicity, and gender in modern America. Massively researched, deftly written, The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins will reshape our understanding of race, ethnicity, gender, and-above all-justice in modern America.

Published by Oxford University Press: http://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-contested-murder-of-latasha-harlins-9780199944576

Friedlander, Franz KafkaProfessor Saul Friedlander’s stimulating book investigates some of the sources of Franz Kafka’s personal anguish and its complex reflections in his imaginary world. In his query, Saul Friedländer probes major aspects of Kafka’s life (family, Judaism, love and sex, writing, illness, and despair) that until now have been skewed by posthumous censorship. Contrary to Kafka’s dying request that all his papers be burned, Max Brod, Kafka’s closest friend and literary executor, edited and published the author’s novels and other works soon after his death in 1924. Friedländer shows that, when reinserted in Kafka’s letters and diaries, deleted segments lift the mask of “sainthood” frequently attached to the writer and thus restore previously hidden aspects of his individuality.

Published by Yale University press: http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=9780300136616

Subrahmanyam, Is Indian Civilization a MythSanjay Subrahmanyam has just published Is Indian Civilization a Myth: Fictions and Histories? (Ranikhet: Permanent Black, 2013).

In the title essay of this enthralling collection, Sanjay Subrahmanyam sets a provocative ball rolling: At the heart of the matter , he says, is the notion that at some distant point in the past, say about AD 500, the concept of Indian civilization had already been perfected. Everything of any importance was in place: social structure, philosophy, the major literary works ... The central idea here is of India-as-civilization, and it very soon becomes the same as a notion of closed India. Demolishing some of the myths which sustain the notion of the wonder that was India , he shows us a region that was always more a crossroads, a rendezvous for concepts, cultures, and worldviews. Subrahmanyam s book is itself a meeting point for a dazzling variety of ideas. It provides the cosmopolitan perspective of a multilingual world scholar who, having begun life in New Delhi, has gone on to live in several thought-provoking cities, including Paris, Lisbon, and Oxford. He is witty, debunking, iconoclastic, and polemically entertaining in all that he anatomizes here Indian history and fiction, South Asian cultural forms, imperialism and imperialists, secularism and Hindu nationalism, travel writing, and the central conceits in Hemingway, Rushdie, Naipaul, and Marquez.

Marotti, Money Trains and GuillotinesWilliam Marotti has just published Money, Trains, and Guillotines: Art and Revolution in 1960s Japan (Duke University Press, 2013)

During the 1960s a group of young artists in Japan challenged official forms of politics and daily life through interventionist art practices. William Marotti situates this phenomenon in the historical and political contexts of Japan after the Second World War and the international activism of the 1960s. The Japanese government renewed its Cold War partnership with the United States in 1960, defeating protests against a new security treaty through parliamentary action and the use of riot police. Afterward, the government promoted a depoliticized everyday world of high growth and consumption, creating a sanitized national image to present in the Tokyo Olympics of 1964. Artists were first to challenge this new political mythology. Marotti examines their political art, and the state's aggressive response to it. He reveals the challenge mounted in projects such as Akasegawa Genpei's 1,000-yen prints, a group performance on the busy Yamanote train line, and a plan for a giant guillotine in the Imperial Plaza. Focusing on the annual Yomiuri Indépendant exhibition, he demonstrates how artists came together in a playful but powerful critical art, triggering judicial and police response. Money, Trains, and Guillotines expands our understanding of the role of art in the international 1960s, and of the dynamics of art and policing in Japan.

Berend Economic HistoryIvan Berend has just published An Economic History of Nineteenth-Century Europe (Cambridge, 2013)

Why did some countries and regions of Europe reach high levels of economic advancement in the nineteenth century, while others were left behind? This new transnational survey of the continent's economic development highlights the role of regional differences in shaping each country's economic path and outcome. Presenting a clear and cogent explanation of the historical causes of advancement and backwardness, Ivan Berend integrates social, political, institutional and cultural factors as well as engaging in debates about the relative roles of knowledge, the state and institutions. Featuring boxed essays on key personalities including Adam Smith, Friedrich List, Gustave Eiffel and the Krupp family, as well as brief histories of innovations such as the steam engine, vaccinations and the co-operative system, the book helps to explain the theories and macro-economic trends that dominated the century and their impact on the subsequent development of the European economy right up to the present day.