Michael Kevaak, “Becoming Yellow: A Short History of Racial Thinking” (Princeton UP, 2011)
In the course of his concise and clearly written new book Becoming Yellow: A Short History of Racial Thinking (Princeton University Press, 2011), Michael Keevak investigates the emergence of a “yellow” and “Mongolian” East Asian identity in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe. Becoming Yellow incorporates a wide range of sources in... Read More
Christopher Krebs, “A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus’s Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich” (Norton, 2011)
Being a historian is a bit of a slog: years in graduate school, more years in dusty libraries and archives, and even more years teaching students who sometimes don’t seem interested in learning what you have to teach. But the job does have its pleasures, and one of the greatest–and... Read More
Dagmar Schaefer, “The Crafting of the 10,000 Things: Knowledge and Technology in Seventeenth-Century China” (University of Chicago Press, 2011)
In her elegant work of historical puppet theater The Crafting of the 10,000 Things: Knowledge and Technology in Seventeenth-Century China (University of Chicago Press, 2011), Dagmar Schaefer introduces us to the world of scholars and craftsmen in seventeenth-century China through the life and work of Song Yingxing (1587-1666?). A minor... Read More
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
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