New Books Network

Mark Rowe, “Bonds of the Dead: Temples, Burial, and the Transformation of Contemporary Japanese Buddhism” (University of Chicago Press, 2011)
Mark Rowe‘s new book Bonds of the Dead: Temples, Burial, and the Transformation of Contemporary Japanese Buddhism (University of Chicago Press, 2011) is a fascinating study of the life of Buddhism in Japan by looking at the many facets of death in modern Japanese Buddhism. Rowe guides us from the... Read More
Gerald Steinacher, “Nazis on the Run: How Hitler’s Henchmen Fled Justice” (Oxford UP, 2011)
When I was a kid I loved movies about Nazis who had escaped justice after the war. There was “The Marathon Man” (“Oh, don’t worry. I’m not going into that cavity. That nerve’s already dying.”). There was “The Boys from Brazil” (“The right Hitler for the right future! A Hitler... Read More
Jarrod Tanny, “City of Rogues and Schnorrers: Russia’s Jews and the Myth of Old Odessa” (Indiana UP, 2011)
“Ah, nostalgia is such an illness, and what a beautiful illness. There is no medicine for it! And thank God there isn’t.” This was how one of the Soviet Union’s most famous jazz singers and actors, Leonid Utyosov, concluded his memoirs. Utyosov was referring to his ironic relationship with the... Read More
Kariann Akemi Yokota, “Unbecoming British: How Revolutionary America Became a Postcolonial Nation” (Oxford UP, 2011)
The founding fathers–and mothers, sons and daughters–were British. Sort of. It’s true that they were subjects of the British crown, and that they looked, talked, acted and had the tastes of folks in London. But they were always different. Though they carried with them a sort of “British cultural package,”... Read More
Stacy Schiff, “Cleopatra: A Life” (Back Bay Books, 2011)
Aside from being aesthetically equated to Elizabeth Taylor, Cleopatra has not fared well in history. In her riveting biography Cleopatra: A Life (Back Bay Books, 2011), which is now out in paperback, Stacy Schiff establishes that this was primarily because Cleopatra’s story was penned by a crowd of Roman historians... Read More
Ellen Lewin, “Gay Fatherhood: Narratives of Family and Citizenship in America” (University of Chicago, 2009)
When anthropologist Ellen Lewin gave a preliminary report on her research on gay fathers, a member of the audience asked how she could write about such “yucky people.” Yes, that’s the technical anthropological term for same-sex attracted men who parent children. But here’s the punch line: the questioner was not... Read More
Andrew Wilson, “Belarus: The Last European Dictatorship” (Yale UP, 2011)
A couple of weeks ago I took a bus from Warsaw and travelled east across the River Bug. The border took a long time to cross, but then this was no ordinary border – it was the border between the Europe of the modern world, of the EU (with all... Read More