New Books Network

Antonia Levi, Mark McHarry, and Dru Pagliasotti, “Boy’s Love Manga: Essays on the Sexual Ambiguity and Cross-Cultural Fandom of the Genre” (McFarland, 2010)
Growing up in the suburbs of Indianapolis, Indy-car racing offered my friends and me some very exciting heroes. As children, we played “Indy 500” on our bikes in the cul-de-sac. As we became teenagers, the Indy-car drivers who descended on our city in April and May became some of our... Read More
Robert Lane Greene, “You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws and the Politics of Identity” (Delacorte Press, 2011)
Isn’t it odd how the golden age of correct language always seems to be around the time that its speaker was in high school, and that language has been going to the dogs ever since? Such is the anguish of declinists the world over, pushing the commercial success of language-bashing... Read More
Karen Sternheimer, “Celebrity Culture and the American Dream: Stardom and Social Mobility” (Routledge, 2010)
It is hard to dispute that today there’s a heightened fascination with celebrities and their personal lives. Who cheated on whom, who’s getting married and what celebrity checked into to rehab is the stuff of daily headlines that many of us, willingly or not, follow and know about. Moreover, the... Read More
Carrie Pitzulo, “Bachelors and Bunnies: The Sexual Politics of Playboy” (University of Chicago Press, 2011)
Playboy is having (another) moment. Since its fiftieth birthday in 2003, the brand’s relevance has risen after a period of decline. The Girls Next Door, a reality television show about the goings-on at Hugh Hefner’s Los Angeles mansion, was a breakout hit starting in 2005, and it eventually spawned two... 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
Jonathan Metzl, “The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease” (Beacon Press, 2010)
Schizophrenia is a real, frightening, debilitating disease. But what are we to make of the fact that several studies show that African Americans are two to three times more likely than white Americans to be diagnosed with this malady, and that black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean are six... Read More
Francesco Duina, “Winning: Reflections on an American Obsession” (Princeton University Press, 2010)
“Winning is everything” is such a common phrase that we rarely question where it comes from and why we apply it to everyday experiences.  One can win a little league game, an election, the lottery, a friendly competition at work or an unfriendly one.  Entrepreneurs can win in business and patients... Read More
Teresa Gowan, “Hobos, Hustlers and Backsliders-Homeless in San Francisco” (University of Minnesota Press, 2010)
Why do people become homeless? Is it because some people have made bad decisions in their lives or can’t hold onto a stable job? Or is homelessness the result of a depilating mental illness or chemical addiction? From a different perspective, perhaps homelessness is less an “individual issue” but more... 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