New Books Network

Margaret Thomas, “Fifty Key Thinkers on Language and Linguistics” (Routledge, 2011)
In the preface to Fifty Key Thinkers on Language and Linguistics (Routledge, 2011), devoted to short but attentively researched biographical sketches of major figures in the language sciences, Margaret Thomas compares the task of compiling it with that of organising a party. Here, the enterprise has been successful – the... Read More
Carolina Armenteros, “The French Idea of History: Joseph de Maistre and his Heirs, 1794-1854” (Cornell UP, 2011)
When I was an undergraduate, I took a class called “The Enlightenment” in which we read all the thinkers of, well, “The Enlightenment.” I came to understand that they were the “good guys” of Western history, at least for most folks. We also read, as a kind of coda, a... Read More
Suman Seth, “Crafting the Quantum: Arnold Sommerfeld and the Practice of Theory, 1890-1926” (MIT Press, 2010)
Though Einstein, Planck, and Pauli have become household names in the history of science, the work of Arnold Sommerfeld has yet to reach the same level of wide recognition outside the field of theoretical physics and its history. In Crafting the Quantum: Arnold Sommerfeld and the Practice of Theory, 1890-1926... Read More
Timothy Nunan, “Carl Schmitt, ‘Writings on War'” (Polity Press, 2011)
Carl Schmitt (1888-1985) was the author of numerous influential books and essays on political theory, law, and other subjects. In Carl Schmitt: Writings on War (Polity Press, 2011), Rhodes Scholar Timothy Nunan has provided us with an excellent translation of three of Schmitt’s essay on military affairs. These essays are... Read More
Vera Tolz, “Russia’s Own Orient: The Politics of Identity and Oriental Studies in the late Imperial and Early Soviet Periods” (Oxford UP, 2011)
Everyone knows that the late nineteenth-century Russian Empire was the largest land based empire around, and that it was growing yet- at fifty-five square miles a day, no less. But how did Moscow and St. Petersberg go about making the bewildering array of peoples and ethnicities into subjects subject of... Read More
Robert Pasnau, “Metaphysical Themes: 1274-1671” (Oxford UP, 2011)
What was the scholastic metaphysical tradition of the later Middle Ages, and why did it come “crashing down as quickly and completely” as it did towards the end of the 17th Century? Why was the year 1347 a “milestone in the history of philosophy”? And why didn’t philosophy itself collapse... Read More
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