Book mentions in this thread

  • Votes: 5

    From Coveralls to Zoot Suits

    by Elizabeth R. Escobedo

    During World War II, unprecedented employment avenues opened up for women and minorities in U.S. defense industries at the same time that massive population shifts and the war challenged Americans to rethink notions of race. At this extraordinary historical moment, Mexican American women found new means to exercise control over their lives in the home, workplace, and nation. In From Coveralls to Zoot Suits, Elizabeth R. Escobedo explores how, as war workers and volunteers, dance hostesses and zoot suiters, respectable young ladies and rebellious daughters, these young women used wartime conditions to serve the United States in its time of need and to pursue their own desires. But even after the war, as Escobedo shows, Mexican American women had to continue challenging workplace inequities and confronting family and communal resistance to their broadening public presence. Highlighting seldom heard voices of the "Greatest Generation," Escobedo examines these contradictions within Mexican families and their communities, exploring the impact of youth culture, outside employment, and family relations on the lives of women whose home-front experiences and everyday life choices would fundamentally alter the history of a generation.
  • Votes: 5

    The Rise of the Military Welfare State

    by Jennifer Mittelstadt

    After Vietnam the army promised its all-volunteer force a safety net long reserved for career soldiers: medical and dental care, education, child care, financial counseling, housing assistance, legal services. Jennifer Mittelstadt shows how this unprecedented military welfare system expanded at a time when civilian programs were being dismantled.
  • Votes: 4

    By Christian G. Appy - Working-Class War

    by Christian G. Appy

  • Votes: 3

    War Stuff

    by Joan E. Cashin

    Focuses on the intense struggle over human and material resources between armies and civilians in the Civil War South.
  • Votes: 3

    Violent Intermediaries

    by Michelle R. Moyd

    The askari, African soldiers recruited in the 1890s to fill the ranks of the German East African colonial army, occupy a unique space at the intersection of East African history, German colonial history, and military history. Lauded by Germans for their loyalty during the East Africa campaign of World War I, but reviled by Tanzanians for the violence they committed during the making of the colonial state between 1890 and 1918, the askari have been poorly understood as historical agents. Violent Intermediaries situates them in their everyday household, community, military, and constabulary roles, as men who helped make colonialism in German East Africa. By linking microhistories with wider nineteenth-century African historical processes, Michelle Moyd shows how as soldiers and colonial intermediaries, the askari built the colonial state while simultaneously carving out paths to respectability, becoming men of influence within their local contexts. Through its focus on the making of empire from the ground up, Violent Intermediaries offers a fresh perspective on African colonial troops as state-making agents and critiques the mythologies surrounding the askari by focusing on the nature of colonial violence.
  • Votes: 1

    The Myth of International Order

    by Arjun Chowdhury

    In February of 2011, Libyan citizens rebelled against Muammar Qaddafi and quickly unseated him. The speed of the regime's collapse confounded many observers, and the ensuing civil war showed Foreign Policy's index of failed states to be deeply flawed--FP had, in 2010, identified 110 states as being more likely than Libya to descend into chaos. They were spectacularly wrong, but this points to a larger error in conventional foreign policy wisdom: failed, or weak and unstable, states are not anomalies but are instead in the majority. More states resemble Libya than Sweden. Why are most states weak and unstable? Taking as his launching point Charles Tilly's famous dictum that 'war made the state, and the state made war,' Arjun Chowdhury argues that the problem lies in our mistaken equation of democracy and economic power with stability. But major wars are the true source of stability: only the existential crisis that such wars produced could lead citizens to willingly sacrifice the resources that allowed the state to build the capacity it needed for survival. Developing states in the postcolonial era never experienced the demands major interstate war placed on European states, and hence citizens in those nations have been unwilling to sacrifice the resources that would build state capacity. For example, India and Mexico are established democracies with large economies. Despite their indices of stability, both countries are far from stable: there is an active Maoist insurgency in almost a quarter of India's districts, and Mexico is plagued by violence, drug trafficking, and high levels of corruption in local government. Nor are either effective at collecting revenue. As a consequence, they do not have the tax base necessary to perform the most fundamental tasks of modern states: controlling organized violence in a given territory and providing basic services to citizens. By this standard, the majority of states in the world--about two thirds--are weak states. Chowdury maintains that an accurate evaluation of international security requires a normative shift : the language of weakness and failure belies the fact that strong states are exceptions. Chowdhury believes that dismantling this norm is crucial, as it encourages developing states to pursue state-building via war, which is an extremely costly approach--in terms of human lives and capital. Moreover, in our era, such an approach is destined to fail because the total wars of the past are highly unlikely to occur today. Just as importantly, the non-state alternatives on offer are not viable alternatives. For better or worse, we will continue to live in a state-dominated world where most states are weak. Counterintuitive and sweeping in its coverage, The Myth of International Order demands that we fundamentally rethink foundational concepts of international politics like political stability and state failure.
  • Votes: 1

    Following the Leader

    by David M. Lampton

    Tells the story of China's political elites from their own perspectives. Based on over five hundred interviews, this title offers a rare glimpse into how the attitudes and ideas of those at the top have evolved over the decades.