Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ebook of the Week - Islam and Political Violence: Muslim Diaspora and Radicalism in the West

 Akbarzadeh, Shahram and Fethi Mansouri, eds.  Islam and Political Violence: Muslim Diaspora and Radicalism in the West.  I B Tauris & Co Ltd, 2010.

In 'Islam and Political Violence', Akbarzadeh and Mansouri contribute to and edit together current debates on the uneasy and potentially mutually destructive relationship between the Muslim world and the West.  Arguments are advanced that we are on a dangerous trajectory, strengthening dichotomous notions of the divide between the West and the Muslim world. Basic questions are asked and answered regarding relations between Islam and relevant aspects of “the West:” How do we engage with the pressing challenges of xenophobia, radicalism and security in the current political climate? How do we ameliorate a widely felt sense of insecurity about the West that is shared by Muslims both within and outside Western societies? Growing Islamic militancy and subsequent increased security measures by Western powers have contributed to a pervasive sense among Muslims of being under attack both physically and culturally. Contributions such as this volume are valuable in understanding the problem and suggesting a way forward.
Previewed by John Breitmeyer. Click here to read the book.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ebook of the Week - The Feminist Promise: 1792 to the Present.

Stansell, Christine. Feminist Promise: 1792 to the Present. New York: Modern Library, 2010.

Stansell's comprehensive history of Western feminism surveys all the ‘promises’ of feminism as an identifiable political identity and movement – the promises that were realized as well as those that were (or remain) unmet. Beginning with the release of Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and concluding with the connection of modern American feminism to global human rights, Stansell’s sweeping narrative puts the accomplishments of important figures such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Maria Stewart and many others into a larger historical context, and also chronicles organizations and acts of protest that defined feminism in the 20th century. At 528 pages, this volume has sufficient content to be a useful all-purpose general resource for a student of modern European and American feminism.

Previewed by John Breitmeyer.  Click here to read the book.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ebook of the Week - Do Deficits Matter?

Shaviro, Daniel.  Do Deficits Matter? Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997

Shaviro’s answer to this starkly posed question is that yes, the federal deficit does matter, even though it is often misunderstood by the general public and politicians alike. In this economic analysis, Shaviro discusses concepts such as “tax lag” and “generational accounting” in concluding that while deficits are not in themselves an evil, the present (and this was written fourteen years ago) degree of national deficit formation is unsustainable for much longer. Indeed, he likens American fiscal policy in the last fifty years to a Ponzi scheme that can only be remedied by making choices among tax increases, benefit reductions, debt issuance at higher interest rates, and printing money. Ultimately, Shaviro concludes that Americans will have to adjust to “realistic expectations about what government-provided benefits, at what cost in lifetime taxes” can be had “in a world where resources are finite.” The recent crisis involving the raising of the debt ceiling has brought these issues sharply into focus, but will obviously not be the end of this highly charged debate.

Preview by Jack Ray.  Click here to read the book.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ebook of the Week - Fast Forward: Ethics and Politics in the Age of Global Warming

Antholis, William and Strobe Talbott.  Fast Forward : Ethics and Politics in the Age of Global Warming. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2010.

“We have no excuse,” write the authors of the Brookings Institute publication “Fast Forward : Ethics and Politics in the Age of Global Warming.”   This bracing statement begins a brief (156 pages) but urgent discussion of global warming that is a combination of science primer, history lesson in the last 20 years of global climate change politics, policy prescription, and ethical treatise. The book recaps what we know and don t know about global warming and why it requires immediate action.  The way forward, the authors argue, is to begin the historically difficult but necessary transition to a global low-carbon economy, and this will require a revolution in our sense of civic responsibility and in standards for international cooperation regarding this issue.
Previewed by John Breitmeyer.  Click here to read the book.