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: Scientists Under Surveillance: The FBI Files edited by JPat Brown et al

Book Review: Scientists Under Surveillance: The FBI Files edited by JPat Brown et al

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In Scientists Under Surveillance: The FBI Files, editors JPat Brown et al bring together obtained FBI files to offer an insight into FBI investigations into the life and research of some of the world’s most renowned scientists, showing this surveillance to be typically driven by fear, ignorance and senseless tip-offs. The collection sheds light on some of the most intrusive […]

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    Book Review: A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy by Russell Muirhead and Nancy L. Rosenblum

Book Review: A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy by Russell Muirhead and Nancy L. Rosenblum

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In A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy, Russell Muirhead and Nancy L. Rosenblum identify and outline the emergence of a new type of conspiracist thinking in our contemporary moment, showing it to pose a fundamental threat to democratic functioning. While questioning whether the book ascribes too much intentionality to those engaging in ‘the […]

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    Book Review: Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit and Authoritarian Populism by Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart

Book Review: Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit and Authoritarian Populism by Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart

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In Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit and Authoritarian Populism, Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart draw on statistical data and a wide literature to make the case that patterns of voting for populist parties across Europe, Brexit in the UK and Donald Trump in the USA all show substantial intergenerational differences. This is a large and ambitious book, but Ron Johnston was less […]

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    Book Review: The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of US Primacy by Stephen M. Walt

Book Review: The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of US Primacy by Stephen M. Walt

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In The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of US Primacy, Stephen M. Walt offers a character study of three US administrations and the vast network of think tanks and policy wonks that have influenced the trajectory of America’s recent foreign policy – from its political victories to its fiascoes. This book will be rewarding reading for […]

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    Book Review Forum: Legacies of Losing in American Politics by Jeffrey K. Tulis and Nicole Mellow

Book Review Forum: Legacies of Losing in American Politics by Jeffrey K. Tulis and Nicole Mellow

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American politics is typically a story about winners. The fading away of defeated politicians and political movements is a feature of American politics that ensures political stability and a peaceful transition of power. But American history has also been built on defeated candidates, failed presidents, and social movements that at pivotal moments did not dissipate as expected but instead […]

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    Book Review: Empowered: Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny by Sarah Banet-Weiser

Book Review: Empowered: Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny by Sarah Banet-Weiser

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In Empowered: Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny, Sarah Banet-Weiser engages with popular feminism through the lens of ambivalence, charting both the relatively recent rise of feminism in the public eye, but also exploring the proliferation of its obverse, the force of popular misogyny. Showing how contemporary feminism’s commitment to popularity – defined as an over-reliance on individual striving and a commitment to […]

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    Book Review: How to Save a Constitutional Democracy by Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Z. Huq

Book Review: How to Save a Constitutional Democracy by Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Z. Huq

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In How to Save a Constitutional Democracy, Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Z. Huq focus on the structural forces that can break democratic societies and the role the constitutional system plays in democratic failure as well as its prevention. The book’s clear and engaging approach makes it a valuable contribution to scholarship on democracy and authoritarianism, recommends Lorenzo Canepari.

How to Save a […]

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    Book Review: Aboriginal Peoples and the Law: A Critical Introduction by Jim Reynolds

Book Review: Aboriginal Peoples and the Law: A Critical Introduction by Jim Reynolds

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In Aboriginal Peoples and the Law: A Critical Introduction, Jim Reynolds offers an excellent new encapsulation of Canadian Aboriginal law, discussing 163 cases stretching from 1823 up until the present day and covering topics including sovereignty, Aboriginal title and treaties. Reynolds draws on his wealth of experience to provide a compendious summary of the development of Aboriginal law in Canada, writes […]

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    Book Review: The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students by Anthony Abraham Jack

Book Review: The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students by Anthony Abraham Jack

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In The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students, Anthony Abraham Jack seeks to better comprehend the unnoticed heterogeneous experiences of first-generation, low-income students navigating campus life at elite universities in the United States. This is a significant contribution to debates on class and mobility, writes Malik Fercovic, that compels us to think carefully about the responsibilities of […]

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    Book Review: The Lost Ethnographies: Methodological Insights from Projects that Never Were edited by Robin James Smith and Sara Delamont

Book Review: The Lost Ethnographies: Methodological Insights from Projects that Never Were edited by Robin James Smith and Sara Delamont

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In The Lost Ethnographies: Methodological Insights from Projects that Never Were, Robin James Smith and Sara Delamont bring together a range of contributors who place loss at the centre of the ethnographic method by reflecting on unsuccessful funding bids, fieldwork problems, writing difficulties and uncompleted projects. The cumulative effect of these chapters provides rich and layered insight into the ethnographer’s world, […]

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