What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

November 22, 2012

Ivor Gaber, professor of political journalism, City University London, and research professor in media and politics, University of Bedfordshire, is reading Donal Carroll's Managing Value In Organisations: New Learning, Management, and Business Models (Ashgate, 2012). "A title that screams that this book will be full of meaningless jargon; instead, it is eloquent, witty and jargon-free. Carroll isn't keen on academic management research, which he calls 'a risk-extractor to burn inventive angles of inquiry'. His method is more 'suck it and see', as he spends a year monitoring organisations that put his ideas into practice. How do they turn out? Buy the book."

Andreas Hess, senior lecturer in sociology, University College Dublin, is reading Stanley Aronowitz's Taking It Big: C. Wright Mills and the Making of Political Intellectuals (Columbia University Press, 2012). "Apart from excellent articles by Richard Gillam, the life and times of the radical Texan sociologist C. Wright Mills remain unwritten. Irving Louis Horowitz distanced himself from his former hero in a heavily opinionated biography; now Stanley Aronowitz tries to reclaim Mills for an imaginary US left in a book riddled with factual errors and serious errors of judgement. Future intellectual historians should take more seriously Robert Lynd's warning not to sell Mills short."

Susan Hogan, professor of cultural studies and art therapy, University of Derby, is reading Mary Allen's Narrative Therapy for Women Experiencing Domestic Violence. Supporting Women's Transitions from Abuse to Safety (Jessica Kingsley, 2012). "This book is replete with vignettes of domestic abuse that make for harrowing reading. Women's narratives describe violence and coercion but also their acts of resistance and strategies for survival. The result will make this a useful introductory text for trainee counsellors and therapists."

R.C. Richardson, emeritus professor of history, University of Winchester, is reading Bernard Capp's England's Culture Wars: Puritan Reformation and its Enemies in the Interregnum, 1649-1660 (Oxford University Press, 2012). "A cogent, balanced reassessment of Puritans in power and of their efforts to curb irreligion, profanity, sexual promiscuity, drunkenness and riotous recreation. All this is sometimes written off by historians as a complete failure. The locally varied patchwork presented here reveals far greater complexities and some surprising successes."

Peter J. Smith, reader in Renaissance literature, Nottingham Trent University, is reading Graham Greene's The Human Factor (Bodley Head, 1978). "Married to a black South African, Maurice Castle has an MI6 desk job that is Orwellian in its drudgery - until his suburban routine is upended by a visit from BOSS, South African state security. Greene brilliantly captures Cold War paralysis and apartheid's dismal injustice, and the tragic ending shows the traitor's blunderous determination and courageous loneliness. This secret service couldn't be further from that of Skyfall."

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