Chris Barton, Kathryn Ecclestone, Michael King, A. W. Purdue and Sharon Wheeler...

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

December 4, 2014

Chris Barton, emeritus professor of family law, Staffordshire University, is reading Nicholas J. McBride’s Letters to a Law Student (Pearson, 2014). “In McBride’s world, students have no jobs, partners or children. He has no idea of part-time students – and he certainly has no idea of those on the graduate diploma in law, on which course he has clearly never taught. Had he done so, he would not have described it as a ‘crash course in the core legal subjects’. And two-year degrees, similarly sniffed at here, involve as much study as the degrees comprising about six months a year for three years, as favoured at certain universities.”

Book review: Benign Violence, by Ansgar Allen

Kathryn Ecclestone, professor of education, University of Sheffield, is reading Ansgar Allen’s Benign Violence: Education in and Beyond the Age of Reason (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). “A beautifully written, quietly furious genealogical analysis of how educational meritocracy is a romantic myth. Allen challenges liberal-left hopes for more progressive ‘holistic’ assessments as delusions, rooted in 19th-century eugenic aspirations for increasingly fine-tuned measures of human subjects’ outer and inner lives. His trenchant attacks on academics’ bovine compliance in audit measures and regimented fads are too close for comfort.”

Book review: Law and Authority Under the Guise of the Good, by Veronica Rodiguez-Blanco

Michael King, emeritus professor in the School of Law, University of Reading, is reading Veronica Rodriguez-Blanco’s Law and Authority under the Guise of the Good (Bloomsbury, 2014). “Why do people accept law’s authority rather than following their own desires? What leads judges and legislators to expect that their laws will be obeyed? ‘Legal science’ tries to explain such phenomena by subjecting them to rigorous philosophical analysis. The results, as detailed here, are both intricate and sophisticated. Yes, an arcane and self-referential exercise perhaps, but nonetheless weirdly fascinating.”

Book review: Blood on the Wave, by John Sadler

A. W. Purdue, visiting professor in history, University of Northumbria, is reading John Sadler’s Blood on the Wave: Scottish Sea Battles (Birlinn, 2010). “Long before there was a Scotland, there were sea battles along its coast: Roman triremes supported Agricola’s armies, there were naval battles between Picts and Scots and incursions by Vikings in longships. In this fascinating study, Sadler moves from early history to battles between English and Scottish fleets and on to an assessment of Scotland’s contribution to the Royal Navy: not just admirals and seamen, but in the provision of the bases of Scapa Flow, Rosyth and Faslane.”

Book review: Stranger on the Shore, by Josh Lanyon

Sharon Wheeler, visiting lecturer in journalism, Birmingham City University, is reading Josh Lanyon’s Stranger on the Shore (Carina Press, 2014). “Josh Lanyon used to write gay crime fiction. Now it’s labelled m/m romance – à la Harlequin (but with more bonking), usually written by women. Journalist Griff lands his dream job – writing a book about the disappearance of a tycoon’s grandson 20 years ago. And naturally he spars with a handsome lawyer. The plot’s tidy if predictable, which sums up the book.”

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Laurel and Hardy sawing a plank of wood

Working with other academics can be tricky so follow some key rules, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford will host a homeopathy conference next month

Charity says Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford is ‘naive’ to hire out its premises for event

women leapfrog. Vintage

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman offer advice on climbing the career ladder

Woman pulling blind down over an eye
Liz Morrish reflects on why she chose to tackle the failings of the neoliberal academy from the outside
White cliffs of Dover

From Australia to Singapore, David Matthews and John Elmes weigh the pros and cons of likely destinations