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
Jerry Muller, “Capitalism and the Jews” (Princeton UP, 2010)
I confess I was attracted to this book by the title: Capitalism and the Jews (Princeton, 2010). Capitalism is a touchy subject; Jews are a touchy subject. But capitalism and the Jews, that’s a disaster waiting to happen. I don’t suggest you try this, but just imagine what would happen... Read More
Toby Lester, “The Fourth Part of the World: The Race to the Ends of the Earth, and the Epic Story of the Map That Gave America its Name” (Free Press, 2009)
Why the heck is “America” called “America” and not, say, “Columbia?” You’ll find the answer to that question and many more in Toby Lester‘s fascinating and terrifically readable new book The Fourth Part of the World: The Race to the Ends of the Earth, and the Epic Story of the... 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
Jennifer Burns, “Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right” (Oxford UP, 2009)
When I was in high school I had several friends who went to Wichita’s only prep school. They were nice guys, played D&D, andsaid they were “Libertarians.”I thought that “Libertarian” might have something to do with the library, so I wanted to have nothing to do with it. But they... Read More
Thomas Wheatland, “The Frankfurt School in Exile” (University of Minnesota Press, 2009)
I have a friend who, as a young child, happened to meet Herbert Marcuse, by that time a rock-star intellectual and darling of the American student movement. Upon seeing the man, he exclaimed “Marcuse! Marcuse! You have such a beautiful head!” I don’t know how beautiful Herbert Marcuse’s head was,... Read More
Ian McNeely, “Reinventing Knowledge: From Alexandria to the Internet” (Norton, 2008)
We don’t think much about institutions. They just seem to “be there.” But they have a history, as Ian McNeely and Lisa Wolverton show in their important new book Reinventing Knowledge. From Alexandria to the Internet (W.W. Norton, 2008). The book deals specifically with institutions in which knowledge has been... Read More