New Books Network

Podcasts with Authors about their New Books



      Liam Cole Young, “List Cultures: Knowledge and Poetics from Mesopotamia to Buzzfeed” (Amsterdam UP, 2017)

      The list is the origin of culture.
      At least, that’s according to Umberto Eco, whose words open Liam Cole Young‘s new book, List Cultures: Knowledge and Poetics from Mesopotamia to Buzzfeed (Amsterdam University Press, 2017). Young follows shifting functions of the list through history, revealing a form that “mediates boundaries between administration and art, knowledge and poetics, sense and nonsense” (10). Where systems of order surround and enframe human...



      Thomas Mullaney, “The Chinese Typewriter: A History” (MIT Press, 2017)

      Tom Mullaney’s new book The Chinese Typewriter: A History (MIT Press, 2017) provides a fascinating first look at the development of modern Chinese information technology. Spanning 150 years from the origins of telegraphy in the early 1800s to the advent of computing in the 1950s – the book explores the at times fraught relationship between Chinese writing and global modernity. It covers some of the earliest and varied attempts to make the Chinese script fit for Western...



      Liss C. Werner, “Cybernetics: State of the Art” (Tech Uni of Berlin Press, 2017)

      It’s no secret that we continue to live in the midst of digital revolution that continues to unfold in a rapidly accelerating fashion. Digital connectivity and the Internet of Things make possible not only Smart Homes, but Smart Cities. As with all technological revolutions, the road ahead is equally dotted with possibilities and pitfalls. Liss C. Werner and her colleagues brought together a collection of thinkers and practitioners in the realms of architecture, design, and urban...



      Tam T. T. Ngo, “The New Way: Protestantism and the Hmong in Vietnam” (U. Washington Press, 2016)

      Think of Christianity in Southeast Asia today and what might come to mind is the predominantly Catholic Philippines, or the work of the Baptist church among linguistic and cultural minorities in Myanmar, or any one of the thousands of Christian communities scattered throughout Indonesia. Tam T. T. Ngo‘s new book is about none of these relatively familiar groups and places, but instead about the quite recent emergence and rather rapid growth of evangelical Christianity among the Hmong...



      David Walton, “The Genius Plague” (Pyr, 2017)

      Everyone knows that wild mushrooms can be dangerous, but David Walton in his new novel The Genius Plague (Pyr, 2017) raises the dangers to a new plane.
      While victims of an unusual fungal infection enjoy skyrocketing I.Q.s, they also find themselves suddenly willing to sacrifice their own (and others’) lives to protect the Amazon rain forest, raising the possibility that the fungus—a species native to the Amazon—has hijacked their minds to advance its own ends.



      Herman Salton, “Dangerous Diplomacy: Bureaucracy, Power Politics and the Role of the UN Secretariat in Rwanda” (Oxford UP, 2017)

      I was in graduate school during Bosnia and Rwanda. Like everyone else, I watched the video footage and journalistic accounts that came from these two zones of atrocity. Like everyone else, I wondered how humans could do such things to each other. And like everyone else, I asked in anguish “why can’t we do something.”
      Much of the scholarship about Rwanda focuses on this question. Most of it is good, solid, passionate work. but as Herman Salton points out, it largely...



      Andrew McKevitt, “Consuming Japan: Popular Culture and the Globalizing of 1980s America” (UNC Press, 2017)

      In Consuming Japan: Popular Culture and the Globalizing of 1980s America (UNC Press, 2017), Andrew McKevitt explores the intense and ultimately fleeting moment in 1980s America when the future looked Japanese. Would Japan’s remarkable post World War II economic success enable the East Asian nation to overtake the United States? Or could Japan’s globe-trotting corporations serve as a model for battered U.S. industries, pointing the way to a future of globalized commerce and...



      Randy M. Browne, “Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean” (U of Pennsylvania Press, 2017)

      Randy M. Browne in Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017) uses the overlooked archives of the fiscal, a legal legacy from Dutch colonialism, and protector of slaves to reveal the political dynamics of slavery in the British colony of Berbice during amelioration. By minutely mining these sources, Browne is able to uncover the multifaceted strategies of survival that enslaved people used to attempt to live through the deathtrap of plantation...



      Stewart Patrick, “The Sovereignty Wars: Reconciling America with the World” (Brookings Institution Press, 2017)

      The Sovereignty Wars: Reconciling America with the World (Brookings Institution Press, 2017) is an important and in depth study of American interaction with the intricate concept of Sovereignty, from the Founding Fathers to Donald Trump. Stewart Patrick delineates for the reader the fraught concept of sovereignty, showing how it has changed in both meaning and importance for Americans since the foundation of the United States. Going back to John Locke and going forward to John Bolton,...



      Mark Rozell and Clyde Wilcox, “God at the Grassroots 2016: The Christian Right in American Politics (Rowman and Littlefield, 2017)

      In the wake of the Alabama Senate election in December, 2017, attention has been drawn to the intersection of religion and politics. This is the subject of God at the Grassroots 2016: The Christian Right in American Politics (Rowman and Littlefield, 2017), co-edited by Mark Rozell and Clyde Wilcox. Rozell is the dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. Wilcox is professor of government at Georgetown University.
      For decades, Rozell and Wilcox have...