New Books Network

Peter Baehr, “Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism, and the Social Sciences” (Stanford UP, 2010)
Contemporary research into illiberal governments draws much inspiration from the writings of Hannah Arendt. In her classic The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), Arendt claimed that Nazi Germany and Bolshevik Russia were not merely typical authoritarian regimes, but rather were despotisms of a new “totalitarian” sort. Arendt believed “totalitarianism” was entirely... Read More
Elizabeth Pisani, “The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS” (Norton, 2008)
When in medical school, I found myself drawn to the study of infectious diseases in large part because of the mixture of science and anthropology – infectious diseases are always about the way we interact with the world around us, what we do with whom and when and where and... Read More
Megan Marshall, “The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism” (Houghton Mifflin, 2005)
This interview is re-posted with permission from Jenny Attiyeh’s ThoughtCast.] Author Megan Marshall has recently written a well-received biography of Elizabeth, Mary, and Sophia Peabody: The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism (Houghton Mifflin, 2005). The Peabodys were key players in the founding of the Transcendentalist movement in... Read More
Pamela Cobrin, “From Winning the Vote to Directing on Broadway: The Emergence of Women on the New York Stage” (Delaware, 2009)
Pamela Cobrin‘s book From Winning the Vote to Directing on Broadway: The Emergence of Women on the New York Stage, 1880-1927 (University of Delaware Press, 2009) investigates the suffragists and early feminists through the lens of performance. Broadly defining performance, she includes the amateur theatricals of Mary Shaw’s Gamut Club,... Read More
Erik Jensen, “Body by Weimar: Athletes, Gender, and German Modernity” (Oxford UP, 2010)
Here’s a simple–or should we say simplistic?–line of political reasoning: communities are made of people; people can either be sick or healthy; communities, therefore, are sick or healthy depending on the sickness or health of their people. This logic is powerful. It explains success: “We lost the war because we,... Read More
Virginia Scharff, “The Women Jefferson Loved” (HarperCollins, 2010)
Most Americans could tell you who George Washington’s wife was. (Martha, right?) Most Americans probably couldn’t tell you who Thomas Jefferson’s wife was. (It was also Martha, but a different one of course). They might be able to tell you, however, who Thomas Jefferson’s alleged concubine was, as she has... Read More
Elaine Tyler May, “America and the Pill: A History of Promise, Peril, and Liberation” (Basic Books, 2010)
Don’t you find it a bit curious that there are literally thousands of pills that we in the developed world take on a daily basis, but only one of them is called “the Pill?” Actually, you probably don’t find it curious, because you know that the pill has had a... Read More
Sarah Ross, “The Birth of Feminism: Woman as Intellect in Renaissance Italy and England” (Harvard UP, 2009)
I’ll be honest: I have a Ph.D. in early modern European history from a big university you’ve probably heard of and I couldn’t name a single female writer of the Renaissance before I read Sarah Ross’s new book The Birth of Feminism. Woman as Intellect in Renaissance Italy and England... Read More
Sally G. McMillen, “Seneca Falls and the Origins of the Women’s Rights Movement” (Oxford, 2008)
Think of this. From the origins of civilization roughly 5000 years ago to around 1900 AD, the condition of women did not fundamentally change. They weren’t “second class citizens.” Rather, they weren’t citizens at all. They were under the nearly complete control of, first, their fathers and, after marriage, their... Read More