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.

Book Review: Radical Organisation Development by Mark Cole

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In Radical Organisation Development, Mark Cole offers a new critical account which dissects mainstream approaches to organisation development (the practice of systemic organisational change and development) and proposes a radical alternative to replace them. While unconvinced of its capacity to persuade all readers, Richard Cotter nonetheless recommends that OD practitioners read the book to engage with its important and […]

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    Book Review: The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program That Shaped Our World by Vincent Bevins

Book Review: The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program That Shaped Our World by Vincent Bevins

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In The Jakarta Method, Vincent Bevins explores the US role in the mass killings in Indonesia in 1965-66 as well as military coups in Latin America to show the consequences of Washington’s Cold War interventions in the present day. This is a well-researched, tightly written and emotionally affecting book, writes Thomas Kingston.

The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the […]

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    Book Review: The Gig Economy: A Critical Introduction by Jamie Woodcock and Mark Graham

Book Review: The Gig Economy: A Critical Introduction by Jamie Woodcock and Mark Graham

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In The Gig Economy: A Critical Introduction, Jamie Woodcock and Mark Graham unpack the ‘how’ of the gig economy through quantative datasets and ethnographic vignettes from countries including the UK, Ghana, South Africa and India. As the study doubles up as a manifesto for the gig economy’s reconstruction, this is an important contribution to the existing literature that provides […]

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    Book Review: The Anthropology of Epidemics by Ann H. Kelly, Frédéric Keck and Christos Lynteris

Book Review: The Anthropology of Epidemics by Ann H. Kelly, Frédéric Keck and Christos Lynteris

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In The Anthropology of Epidemics, editors Ann H. Kelly, Frédéric Keck and Christos Lynteris curate a collection that provides insight into how ethnographic studies of epidemics might challenge the central assumptions of not only anthropology, but social theory writ large. The volume offers a rich exploration into how, and to what end, ethnographic attention to epidemics can extend social […]

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    Book Review: Feminist City: Claiming Space in the Man-Made World by Leslie Kern

Book Review: Feminist City: Claiming Space in the Man-Made World by Leslie Kern

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In Feminist City: Claiming Space in the Man-Made World, Leslie Kern delves into the interlocking inequalities and systems of oppression that take concrete shape in cities, using an intersectional feminist approach to explore the gendered aspects of urban space. This is an enjoyable and accessible book that not only contributes to urban feminist geography, but to urban planning and […]

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    Book Review: Learning and Using Languages in Ethnographic Research edited by Robert Gibb, Annabel Tremlett and Julien Danero Iglesias

Book Review: Learning and Using Languages in Ethnographic Research edited by Robert Gibb, Annabel Tremlett and Julien Danero Iglesias

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In Learning and Using Languages in Ethnographic Research, editors Robert Gibb, Annabel Tremlett and Julien Danero Iglesias bring together contributors to explore issues that researchers may encounter when learning and using another language in ethnographic fieldwork. Providing readers with a set of accessible accounts of language learning and use, the collection aims to demystify language learning in the […]

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    Book Review: The Case for a Job Guarantee by Pavlina R. Tcherneva

Book Review: The Case for a Job Guarantee by Pavlina R. Tcherneva

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In The Case for a Job Guarantee, Pavlina R. Tcherneva argues that a job guarantee that provides an employment opportunity to anyone looking for work, regardless of their personal circumstances or the state of the economy, not only makes good economic sense, but is vital for people’s wellbeing. As discussions of a universal job guarantee have never been timelier, […]

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    Book Review: The Cigarette: A Political History by Sarah Milov

Book Review: The Cigarette: A Political History by Sarah Milov

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In The Cigarette: A Political History, Sarah Milov intricately unpacks the historical workings of the US tobacco industry through its interactions with farmers, labourers and social movements to show that it has been more vulnerable and open to challenge than often thought. In revealing how the tobacco industry and tobacco control activists engaged in the institutions of everyday life […]

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    Book Review: Pills, Powder and Smoke: Inside the Bloody War on Drugs by Antony Loewenstein

Book Review: Pills, Powder and Smoke: Inside the Bloody War on Drugs by Antony Loewenstein

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In Pills, Powder and Smoke: Inside the Bloody War on Drugs, Antony Loewenstein offers an expansive medley of facts, figures and accounts of life in the midst of the drug war, based on travels to six countries on five continents: Honduras, Guinea-Bissau, the Philippines, the UK, the US and Australia. While the book’s ambitious breadth means it sometimes struggles […]

Book Review: The New Despotism by John Keane

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In The New Despotism, John Keane revives this term to examine how the ‘new despotism’ functions today through qualitatively different characteristics and processes to its older forms. As the book skilfully identifies how the new despotism thrives on ambiguity above all, this is a perceptive study that will shift the analytical lens through which despotic regimes are viewed, writes […]

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