Book Reviews

In this section you can read reviews of academic books covering the USA, and its continental neighbours, Canada and Mexico. Each weekend we publish two reviews, aiming to cover a wide range of books on all aspects of public policy and politics.

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    Book Review: Exceptional America: What Divides Americans from the World and from Each Other by Mugambi Jouet

Book Review: Exceptional America: What Divides Americans from the World and from Each Other by Mugambi Jouet

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In Exceptional America: What Divides Americans from the World and from Each Other, Mugambi Jouet offers a fresh contribution to the literature on US exceptionalism by exploring the divisions within US society over a range of key issues, including welfare, economic inequality, the justice system and foreign policy. Drawing on key facts and figures, Jouet presents an engaging analysis of the fundamental […]

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    Book Review: White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg

Book Review: White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg

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In White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, Nancy Isenberg traces the historical emergence and instantiation of ‘poor white trash’ as a chastised category within the US social fabric, as a further challenge to any continued assumptions about the supposedly classless nature of US society. While questioning whether the book fully steers clear of the elitism it otherwise aims to […]

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    Book Review: Populism: A Very Short Introduction by Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser

Book Review: Populism: A Very Short Introduction by Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser

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With Populism: A Very Short Introduction, Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser offer a short but densely packed volume exploring this timely concept. Arguing that populism is a ‘thin-centred ideology’ that can be both beneficial and detrimental to democracy, this is a coherent, measured and accessible critique of populism offering a wealth of insight into how it is practised globally, finds Richard Berry. 

Populism: A Very Short […]

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    Book Review: Parole in Canada: Gender and Diversity in the Federal System, Sarah Turnbull

Book Review: Parole in Canada: Gender and Diversity in the Federal System, Sarah Turnbull

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In Parole in Canada: Gender and Diversity in the Federal System, Sarah Turnbull examines how the ideal of ‘diversity’ has been interpreted and used to alter policy, practices and processes surrounding parole in Canada, with a particular focus on the Parole Board of Canada (PBC). Katelan Dunn welcomes this highly accessible text for shedding light on the ways that […]

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    Book Review: The Financial Diaries: How American Families Cope in a World of Uncertainty by Jonathan Morduch and Rachel Schneider

Book Review: The Financial Diaries: How American Families Cope in a World of Uncertainty by Jonathan Morduch and Rachel Schneider

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In The Financial Diaries: How American Families Cope in a World of Uncertainty, Jonathan Morduch and Rachel Schneider focus on the volatility of domestic finances in the USA, presenting the findings of a new study based on the diaries of 235 households. In identifying the shared experience of financial uncertainty and the impact on people’s lives, this book provides […]

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    Book Review: Masculinity, Femininity and American Political Behavior by Monika McDermott

Book Review: Masculinity, Femininity and American Political Behavior by Monika McDermott

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In Masculinity, Femininity and American Political Behavior, Monika McDermott presents research that fundamentally questions longstanding assumptions regarding the influence of biological sex when it comes to US voting behaviour. Arguing that it is gendered personality traits that have greater implications when it comes to political preference, this offers a valuable challenge to reductive understandings as to how we behave […]

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    Book Review: From Boom to Bubble: How Finance Built the New Chicago by Rachel Weber

Book Review: From Boom to Bubble: How Finance Built the New Chicago by Rachel Weber

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In From Boom to Bubble: How Finance Built the New Chicago, Rachel Weber offers an ‘elite ethnography’ of the ‘Millennial Boom’ of urban construction experienced in the city of Chicago between 1998 and 2008. Challenging traditional understandings of cycles of commercial property development, this book not only offers insight into Chicago’s overbuilding but also establishes an extensive research agenda within […]

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    Book Review: Ice Bear: The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon by Michael Engelhard

Book Review: Ice Bear: The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon by Michael Engelhard

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In Ice Bear: The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon, Michael Engelhard takes readers on an encyclopaedic journey through time and space to explore the iconic positioning of the polar bear as food, enemy, spirit guide, monster, trade good and symbol of environmental crisis, amongst others. This is a beautifully illustrated and carefully curated book, offering comprehensive and fascinating insight into this […]

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    Book Review: In the Heat of the Summer: The New York Riots of 1964 and The War on Crime by Michael W. Flamm

Book Review: In the Heat of the Summer: The New York Riots of 1964 and The War on Crime by Michael W. Flamm

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In In the Heat of the Summer: The New York Riots of 1964 and The War on Crime, Michael W. Flamm draws on personal narratives and archival evidence to outline the development of the New York Riots of 1964 — instigated by the shooting of the fifteen-year-old black teenager, James Powell, by a white police officer — and their wider repercussions on the […]

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    Book Review: Writers’ Rights: Freelance Journalism in a Digital Age by Nicole S. Cohen

Book Review: Writers’ Rights: Freelance Journalism in a Digital Age by Nicole S. Cohen

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In Writer’s Rights: Freelance Journalism in a Digital Age, Nicole S. Cohen offers a new study of the working conditions of freelance writers in English-speaking Canada, the USA and the UK in an age of digital journalism. This is a lucid, informative and passionate defence of the central role that journalists continue to play in enriching democratic debate and […]

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