New Books Network

Samuel Zipp, “Manhattan Projects: The Rise and Fall of Urban Renewal in Cold War New York” (Oxford UP, 2010)
If you’ve ever lived in New York City, you know exactly what a “pre-war building” is. First and foremost, it’s better than a “post-war building.” Why, you might ask, is that so? Well part of the reason has to do with wartime and post-war “urban renewal,” that is, the process... Read More
Scott Brooks, “Black Men Can’t Shoot” (University of Chicago Press, 2009)
With the NBA in the midst of a labor disagreement, players from the world’s premier basketball league are scattering in different directions to maintain their skills (and get paid). This past summer, a number of NBA players returned to their roots, so to speak, by playing in summer leagues in... Read More
Charles McKinney, Jr., “Greater Freedom: The Evolution of the Civil Rights Struggle in Wilson, North Carolina” (UPA, 2010)
When I was an undergraduate, I noticed that there were certain books that seemed to be unavoidable (at least at my liberal arts college). They were assigned in many classes, and they were discussed in many others. Reading them seemed to be a secret requirement for graduation. These “liberal-arts essentials”... Read More
James Unnever and Shaun L. Gabbidon, “A Theory of African American Offending: Race, Racism, and Crime” (Routledge, 2011)
Is comedian and cultural critic Bill Cosby right–that black youth suffer from a cultural pathology that leads them to commit more crimes than their white counterparts? Is the remedy to the high rate of offending by African American men the “shape up or get shipped out” perspective? Is there more... Read More
Carolyn Korsmeyer, “Savoring Disgust: The Foul and the Fair in Aesthetics” (Oxford UP, 2011)
Today’s podcast features a book about disgusting art – that is, art that deliberately aims to cause disgust. While aesthetic judgments regarding the value, or not, of artworks have historically been tied to the notion of beauty, there are plenty of works of art and genres of art that succeed... Read More
Alan Jacobs, “The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction” (Oxford UP, 2011)
In his new book, The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction (Oxford University Press, 2011), Alan Jacobs, Clyde S. Kilby Chair Professor of English at Wheaton College, discusses the state of reading in the United States. Where some would argue that there are too few people doing the... Read More
Allen Guttmann, “Sports and American Art from Benjamin West to Andy Warhol” (University of Massachusetts Press, 2011)
When I was a kid, I used to pore over an illustrated history of American sports that I had received as a birthday gift. The oversized, hardcover book featured some of the iconic images of 20th-century sports: Lou Gehrig standing humbly at home plate on his day of tribute, teammates... Read More
Mikaila Lemonik Arthur, “Student Activism and Curricular Change in Higher Education” (Ashgate, 2011)
Colleges and universities have a reputation for being radical places where tenured radicals teach radical ideas. Don’t believe it. Consider this: the set of academic departments that one finds in most “colleges of liberal arts and sciences”–history, chemistry, sociology, physics, and so on–has remained remarkably stable for many decades. How,... Read More
Richard Hamilton, “The Last Storytellers: Tales from the Heart of Morocco” (I. B. Taurus, 2011)
Few places can match the Djemaa el Fna in Marrakech for spectacle. As the shadows lengthen and dusk approaches, the square seethes with snake charmers, charlatans, showmen and chancers, all shrouded in charcoal smoke from dozens of makeshift food stalls. It feels like a glimpse into a different world in... Read More