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Featured Acquisitions - January 2015

 

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Binational Human Rights: The US-Mexico Experience edited by William Paul Simmons and Carol Mueller
Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014
Basement JC599.M6 B56 2014

Mexico ranks highly on many of the measures that have proven significant for creating a positive human rights record, including democratization, good health and life expectancy, and engagement in the global economy. Yet the nation's most vulnerable populations suffer human rights abuses on a large scale, such as gruesome killings in the Mexican drug war, decades of violent feminicide, migrant deaths in the U.S. desert, and the ongoing effects of the failed detention and deportation system in the States. Some atrocities have received extensive and sensational coverage, while others have become routine or simply ignored by national and international media. Binational Human Rights examines both well-known and understudied instances of human rights crises in Mexico, arguing that these abuses must be understood not just within the context of Mexican policies but in relation to the actions or inactions of other nations--particularly the United States. The United States and Mexico share the longest border in the world between a developed and a developing nation; the relationship between the two nations is complex, varied, and constantly changing, but the policies of each directly affect the human rights situation across the border.

Binational Human Rights brings together leading scholars and human rights activists from the United States and Mexico to explain the mechanisms by which a perfect storm of structural and policy factors on both sides has led to such widespread human rights abuses. Through ethnography, interviews, and legal and economic analysis, contributors shed new light on the feminicides in Ciudad Juárez, the drug war, and the plight of migrants from Central America and Mexico to the United States. The authors make clear that substantial rhetorical and structural shifts in binational policies are necessary to significantly improve human rights.


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NAACP: A Historical Perspective of the Georgia State Conference by Martha Ward Plowden
Atlanta, Georgia: Ward Plowden Publishing, 2009
Basement E185.5.N276 P566 2009

This book was written in the observance of the last one hundred years of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the accomplishments of many leaders and branches of the Georgia State Conference. The NAACP presence in Georgia begins with the founding of the Atlanta Branch in 1917. In 1941 the late Rev. Ralph Mark Gilbert convened ten branches of the NAACP in Savannah, Georgia and organized the Georgia State Conference. Its purpose was to maintain a network of branches throughout Georgia and to work in conjunction with the national association.


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The Art of Censorship in Postwar Japan by Kirsten Cather
Honolulu: University of Hawai?i Press, 2012
Online Z658.J3 C38 2012

In 2002 a manga (comic book) was for the first time successfully charged with the crime of obscenity in the Japanese courts. In The Art of Censorship Kirsten Cather traces how this case represents the most recent in a long line of sensational landmark obscenity trials that have dotted the history of postwar Japan. The objects of these trials range from a highbrow literary translation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover and modern adaptations and reprintings of Edo-period pornographic literary “classics” by authors such as Nagai Kafu to soft core and hard core pornographic films, including a collection of still photographs and the script from Oshima Nagisa’s In the Realm of the Senses, as well as adult manga. At stake in each case was the establishment of a new hierarchy for law and culture, determining, in other words, to what extent the constitutional guarantee of free expression would extend to art, artist, and audience.

The work draws on diverse sources, including trial transcripts and verdicts, literary and film theory, legal scholarship, and surrounding debates in artistic journals and the press. By combining a careful analysis of the legal cases with a detailed rendering of cultural, historical, and political contexts, Cather demonstrates how legal arguments are enmeshed in a broader web of cultural forces. She offers an original, interdisciplinary analysis that shows how art and law nurtured one another even as they clashed and demonstrates the dynamic relationship between culture and law, society and politics in postwar Japan.

The Art of Censorship will appeal to those interested in literary and visual studies, censorship, and the recent field of affect studies. It will also find a broad readership among cultural historians of the postwar period and fans of the works and genres discussed.


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49 Myths about China by Marte Kjaer Galtun and Stig Stenslie
Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015
Basement DS706 .G3413 2015

Communism is dead in China. China Inc. is buying up the world. China has the United States over a barrel. The Chinese are just copycats. China is an environmental baddie, China is colonizing Africa. Mao was a monster. The end of the Communist regime is near. The 21st century belongs to China. Or does it? Marte Kjaer Galtung and Stig Stenslie highlight 49 prevalent myths about China s past, present, and future and weigh their truth or fiction. Leading an enlightening and entertaining tour, the authors debunk widespread knowledge about Chinese culture, society, politics, and economy. In some cases, Chinese themselves encourage mistaken impressions. But many of these myths are really about how we Westerners see ourselves, inasmuch as China or the Chinese people are depicted as what we are not. Western perceptions of the empire in the East have for centuries oscillated between sinophilia and sinophobia, influenced by historical changes in the West as much as by events in China. This timely and provocative book offers an engaging and compelling window on a rising power we often misunderstand."


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Embattled Rebel: Jefferson Davis and Commander in Chief by James M. McPherson
New York: The Penguin Press, 2014
Basement E467.1.D26 M26 2014

History has not been kind to Jefferson Davis. His cause went down in disastrous defeat and left the South impoverished for generations. If that cause had succeeded, it would have torn the United States in two and preserved the institution of slavery. Many Americans in Davis's own time and in later generations considered him an incompetent leader, if not a traitor. Not so, argues James M. McPherson. In Embattled Rebel, McPherson shows us that Davis might have been on the wrong side of history, but it is too easy to diminish him because of his cause's failure. In order to understand the Civil War and its outcome, it is essential to give Davis his due as a military leader and as the president of an aspiring Confederate nation. Davis did not make it easy on himself. His subordinates and enemies alike considered him difficult, egotistical, and cold. He was gravely ill throughout much of the war, often working from home and even from his sickbed.

Nonetheless, McPherson argues, Davis shaped and articulated the principal policy of the Confederacy with clarity and force: the quest for independent nationhood. Although he had not been a fire-breathing secessionist, once he committed himself to a Confederate nation he never deviated from this goal. In a sense, Davis was the last Confederate left standing in 1865. As president of the Confederacy, Davis devoted most of his waking hours to military strategy and operations, along with Commander Robert E. Lee, and delegated the economic and diplomatic functions of strategy to his subordinates. Davis was present on several battlefields with Lee and even took part in some tactical planning; indeed, their close relationship stands as one of the great military-civilian partnerships in history. Most critical appraisals of Davis emphasize his choices in and management of generals rather than his strategies, but no other chief executive in American history exercised such tenacious hands-on influence in the shaping of military strategy. And while he was imprisoned for two years after the Confederacy's surrender awaiting a trial for treason that never came, and lived for another twenty-four years, he never once recanted the cause for which he had fought and lost. McPherson gives us Jefferson Davis as the commander in chief he really was, showing persuasively that while Davis did not win the war for the South, he was scarcely responsible for losing it.


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Valuing Life: Humanizing the Regulatory State by Cass R. Sunstein
Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2014
Online and Basement JK468.P64 S86 2014

The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is the United States's regulatory overseer. In Valuing Life, Cass R. Sunstein draws on his firsthand experience as the Administrator of OIRA from 2009 to 2012 to argue that we can humanize regulation - and save lives in the process. As OIRA Administrator, Sunstein helped oversee regulation in a broad variety of areas, including highway safety, health care, homeland security, immigration, energy, environmental protection, and education. This background allows him to describe OIRA and how it works - and how it can work better - from an on-the-ground perspective. Using real-world examples, many of them drawn from today's headlines, Sunstein makes a compelling case for improving cost-benefit analysis, a longtime cornerstone of regulatory decision-making, and for taking account of variables that are hard to quantify, such as dignity and personal privacy. He also shows how regulatory decisions about health, safety, and life itself can benefit from taking into account behavioral and psychological research, including new findings about what scares us, and what does not. By better accounting for people's fallibility, Sunstein argues, we can create regulation that is simultaneously more human and more likely to achieve its goals. In this highly readable synthesis of insights from law, policy, economics, and psychology, Sunstein breaks down the intricacies of the regulatory system and offers a new way of thinking about regulation that incorporates human dignity - and an insistent focus on the consequences of our choices.


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The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s Men by Eric Lichtblau
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014
Basement E743.5 .L49 2014

The shocking story of how America became one of the world's safest postwar havens for Nazis Thousands of Nazis - from concentration camp guards to high-level officers in the Third Reich - came to the United States after World War II and quietly settled into new lives. They had little trouble getting in. With scant scrutiny, many gained entry on their own as self-styled war "refugees," their pasts easily disguised and their war crimes soon forgotten. But some had help and protection from the U.S. government. The CIA, the FBI, and the military all put Hitler's minions to work as spies, intelligence assets, and leading scientists and engineers, whitewashing their histories. For the first time, once-secret government records and interviews tell the full story not only of the Nazi scientists brought to America, but of the German spies and con men who followed them and lived for decades as ordinary citizens. Only years after their arrival did private sleuths and government prosecutors begin trying to identify the hidden Nazis. But even then, American intelligence agencies secretly worked to protect a number of their prized spies from exposure. Today, a few Nazis still remain on our soil. Investigative reporter Eric Lichtblau, relying on a trove of newly discovered documents and scores of interviews with participants in this little-known chapter of postwar history, tells the shocking and shameful story of how America became a safe haven for Hitler's men.


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Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United by Zephyr Teachout
Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2014
Basement JK2249 .T43 2014

When Louis XVI presented Benjamin Franklin with a snuff box encrusted with diamonds and inset with the King’s portrait, the gift troubled Americans: it threatened to “corrupt” Franklin by clouding his judgment or altering his attitude toward the French in subtle psychological ways. This broad understanding of political corruption - rooted in ideals of civic virtue - was a driving force at the Constitutional Convention. For two centuries the framers’ ideas about corruption flourished in the courts, even in the absence of clear rules governing voters, civil officers, and elected officials. Should a law that was passed by a state legislature be overturned because half of its members were bribed? What kinds of lobbying activity were corrupt, and what kinds were legal? When does an implicit promise count as bribery? In the 1970s the U.S. Supreme Court began to narrow the definition of corruption, and the meaning has since changed dramatically. No case makes that clearer than Citizens United. In 2010, one of the most consequential Court decisions in American political history gave wealthy corporations the right to spend unlimited money to influence elections. Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion treated corruption as nothing more than explicit bribery, a narrow conception later echoed by Chief Justice Roberts in deciding McCutcheon v. FEC in 2014. With unlimited spending transforming American politics for the worse, warns Zephyr Teachout, Citizens United and McCutcheon were not just bad law but bad history. If the American experiment in self-government is to have a future, then we must revive the traditional meaning of corruption and embrace an old ideal.


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The Extreme Searcher's Internet Handbook: a Guide for the Serious Searcher by Randolph Hock
Medford, New Jersey: CyberAge Books, 2013
Online ZA4226 .H63 2013

An essential guide for anyone who conducts research on the internet - including librarians, teachers, students, business professionals, and writers - this fully revised handbook details what users must know to take full advantage of internet search tools and resources. From the latest online tools to the new and enhanced services offered by standbys such as Google, the major search engines and their myriad of possibilities are thoroughly discussed. This revamped fourth edition also features chapters on fact-checking sites and popular social networking sites as well as a collection of up-to-date screenshots for visual reference. For those with little to moderate searching experience, friendly, easy-to-follow guidelines to the world of Web research are provided, while experienced searchers will discover new perspectives on content and techniques."