What are you reading?

July 23, 2009

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

Anke Bernau is lecturer in medieval literature and culture, University of Manchester. "I am currently reading Eamon Duffy's Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor (Yale University Press, 2009), a revisionist account of Mary's rule. Those familiar with Duffy's The Stripping of the Altars will also want to read this. I am currently thinking about the changing practices and understandings of the role of memory in relation to subjectivity in the 15th and 16th centuries, so this is must-read material. Thanks to Duffy's style and scholarship, it is interesting and pleasurable in equal measures."

Mary Evans is visiting fellow, Gender Institute, London School of Economics. "I have just read Valerie Martin's Property (Abacus, 2003), an account of the life of a white woman in Louisiana in the early 19th century. The heroine is not a nice person, nor are her friends and relations, and there is a great deal of savagery between all the characters, black and white. But the conclusion, which does not make the white characters any nicer, abandons personal narrative and shows us an emerging idea of equality; a story becomes a transformative idea."

Grace Lees-Maffei, senior lecturer in the history and theory of design and applied arts, University of Hertfordshire, is reading Design Studies: A Reader (Berg, 2009), edited by Hazel Clark and David Brody. "This book demonstrates how fascinating and compelling is design, as process and product, and provides an interesting comparison with The Design History Reader (Berg, 2010), which I've just edited with Rebecca Houze of Northern Illinois University."

Roger Morgan is a former professor of political science at the European University Institute, Florence. He is reading Sean Greenwood's Titan at the Foreign Office: Gladwyn Jebb and the Making of the Modern World (Nijhoff, 2008). "The published documentary record of postwar British foreign policy, now starting to cover events as recent as 1990, is enriched by studies such as this rigorous analysis of the creation of the UN, Nato and the Council of Europe. It will appeal both to historians and to international relations specialists."

Tom Palaima, professor of Classics, University of Texas at Austin, is reading Nate Downey's Harvest the Rain (Sunstone Press, 2009). "This is not just another true horror story about impending environmental apocalypse. Nor is it a dry how-to book about water use. Downey makes us feel the reverence that cultures throughout human history have felt for water falling from the sky and explains how modern forces of greed and ignorance cause water to be taken for granted and wasted. He also makes clear how all of us can bring about serious improvements over current energy-wasteful systems of water capture and delivery and enrich our lives while doing so."

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