Archive for the ‘Political Science’ Category

Uncertainty Underground: Yucca Mountain and the Nation’s High-Level Nuclear Waste

April 24, 2007

From the book jacket:
Despite approval by Congress and the Bush administration and over seven billion dollars already spent, the Yucca Mountain, Nevada, site for disposal of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel is not yet in operation. The reasons for the delay lie not only in citizen and activist opposition to the project but also in the numerous scientific and technical issues that remain unresolved. Although many scientists favor geologic disposal of high-level nuclear waste, there are substantial unknowns in projecting the performance of a site over the tens to hundreds of thousands of years that may be required by Environmental Protection Agency standards. Uncertainty Underground is the first effort to review the uncertainties in the analysis of the long-term performance of the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain. The book does not pass judgment on the suitability of the site but provides reliable science-based information to support open debate and inquiry into its safety.

Experts from the geosciences, industry, and government review different aspects of the repository system, focusing on the uncertainties inherent in each. After an overview of the historical and regulatory context, the contributors investigate external factors (including climate change and volcanic activity) that could affect repository performance and then turn to topics concerning the repository itself. These include hydrologic issues, the geological conditions with which the nuclear waste in the repository would interact, and the predicted behavior of the different kinds of waste and waste package materials. Uncertainty Underground succeeds in making these important technical issues understandable to a wide audience, including policymakers and the general public.

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The Lost Children of Wilder: The Epic Struggle to Change Foster Care

April 13, 2007

From the book jacket:
In 1973 Marcia Lowry, a young civil liberties attorney, filed a controversial class-action suit that would come to be known as Wilder, which challenged New York City’s operation of its foster-care system. Lowry’s contention was that the system failed the children it was meant to help because it placed them according to creed and convenience, not according to need. The plaintiff was thirteen-year-old Shirley Wilder, an abused runaway whose childhood had been shaped by the system’s inequities. Within a year Shirley would give birth to a son and relinquish him to the same failing system.

Seventeen years later, with Wilder still controversial and still in court, Nina Bernstein tried to find out what had happened to Shirley and her baby. She was told by child-welfar  officials that Shirley had disappeared and that her son was one of thousands of anonymous children whose circumstances are concealed by the veil of confidentiality that hides foster care from public scrutiny. But Bernstein persevered.

The Lost Children of Wilder gives us, in galvanizing and compulsively readable detail, the full history of a case that reveals the racial, religious, and political fault lines in our child-welfare system, and lays bare the fundamental contradiction at the heart of our well-intended efforts to sever the destiny of needy children from the fate of their parents. Bernstein takes us behind the scenes of far-reaching legal and legislative battles, at the same time as she traces, in heartbreaking counterpoint, the consequences as they are played out in the life of Shirley’s son, Lamont. His terrifying journey through the system has produced a man with deep emotional wounds, a stifled yearning for family, and a son growing up in the system’s shadow.

In recounting the failure of the promise of benevolence, The Lost Children of Wilder makes clear how welfare reform can also damage its intended beneficiaries. A landmark achievement of investigative reporting and a tour de force of social observation, this book will haunt every reader who cares about the needs of children.

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Arc of Justice : A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age

March 27, 2007

From the book jacket:

In 1925, Detroit was a smoky swirl of jazz and speakeasies, assembly lines and fistfights. The advent of automobiles had brought workers from around the globe to compete for manufacturing jobs, and tensions often flared with the KKK in ascendance and violence rising. Ossian Sweet, a proud Negro doctor-grandson of a slave-had made the long climb from the ghetto to a home of his own in a previously all-white neighborhood. Yet just after his arrival, a mob gathered outside his house suddenly, shots rang out: Sweet, or one of his defenders, had accidentally killed one of the whites threatening their lives and homes.

And so it began-a chain of events that brought America’s greatest attorney, Clarence Darrow, into the fray and transformed Sweet into a controversial symbol of equality. Historian Kevin Boyle weaves the police investigation and courtroom drama of Sweet’s murder trial into an unforgettable tapestry of narrative history that documents the volatile America of the 1920s and movingly re-creates the Sweet family’s journey from slavery through the Great Migration to the middle class. Ossian Sweet’s story, so richly and poignantly captured here, is an epic tale of one man trapped by the battles of his era’s changing times.

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Bury the Chains

March 22, 2007

Bury the chains

From the book jacket:

We cannot imagine citizen activism without boycotts, mass mailings, political posters, lapel buttons, or media campaigns. Yet all these weapons were invented or perfected by a printer, a lawyer, a cleric, several merchants, and a musician who first convened in a London bookshop in 1787. Their goal: to end slavery in the largest empire on earth.

They combined fiery devotion with uncanny skill at stoking public opinion. Within five years, more than 300,000 Britons were boycotting the chief slave-made product, sugar, and London”s smart set was sporting antislavery badges created by Josiah Wedgwood. This crusade was spearheaded by a striking array of personalities, among them Olaudah Equiano, an ex-slave whose memoir made him famous; John Newton, a former slave ship captain who wrote “Amazing Grace”; and Thomas Clarkson, a pioneering investigative journalist who worked for fifty years to see the day when a slave whip and chains were formally buried in a Jamaican churchyard.

Like Hochschild”s classic King Leopold’s Ghost, Bury the Chains abounds in atmosphere, high drama, and nuanced portraits of epic heroes and villains. Again Hochschild gives a little-celebrated historical watershed its due at last.

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Americans at War: Society, Culture, and the Homefront

March 21, 2007

From the book jacket:

Americans at War: Society, Culture, and the Homefront will aid students, researchers, and general readers seeking to learn more about the influence of war on American society. This 4 volume set covers the effect of war on society from the beginnings of the young nation up to the present, from the early settlers and their confrontations with the Native American nations to the war in Iraq and the effects of high tech terrorism on civil liberties. Thematic articles offer in-depth analyses of politics, economics, religion, entertainment, and fashion, among other topics. Each A to Z volume covers a different era of warfare and its cultural impact: beginning with the early settlers and the Revolution, through the War of 1812, WWI&II, and on up to Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, Afghanistan and Iraq.

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The White House Looks South

March 9, 2007

Book Description
Perhaps not southerners in the usual sense, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Lyndon B. Johnson each demonstrated a political style and philosophy that helped them
influence the South and unite the country in ways that few other presidents have. Combining vivid biography and political insight, William E. Leuchtenburg offers an engaging account of relations between these three presidents and the South while also tracing how the region came to embrace a national perspective without losing its distinctive sense of place.

According to Leuchtenburg, each man “had one foot below the Mason-Dixon Line, one
foot above.” Roosevelt, a New Yorker, spent much of the last twenty-five years of his life in Warm Springs, Georgia, where he built a “Little White House.” Truman, a Missourian, grew up in a pro-Confederate town but one that also looked West because of its history as the entrepôt for the Oregon Trail. Johnson, who hailed from the former Confederate state of Texas, was a westerner as much as a southerner.

Their intimate associations with the South gave these three presidents an empathy toward and acceptance in the region. In urging southerners to jettison outworn folkways, Roosevelt could speak as a neighbor and adopted son, Truman as a borderstater who had
been taught to revere the Lost Cause, and Johnson as a native who had been scorned by Yankees. Leuchtenburg explores in fascinating detail how their unique attachment to “place” helped them to adopt shifting identities, which proved useful in healing rifts between North and South, in altering behavior in regard to race, and in fostering southern economic growth.

The White House Looks South is the monumental work of a master historian. At a time when race, class, and gender dominate historical writing, Leuchtenburg argues that place is no less significant. In a period when America is said to be homogenized, he shows that sectional distinctions persist. And in an era when political history is devalued, he demonstrates that government can profoundly affect people’s lives and that presidents can be change-makers.

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Next to Godliness

March 4, 2007

Next to godliness

From the book jacket:

To many Progressive Era reformers, the extent of street cleanliness was an important gauge for determining whether a city was providing the conditions necessary for impoverished immigrants to attain a state of “deceny” – a level of individual well-being and morality that would help ensure a healthy and orderly city. The struggle for enhanced civic sanitation significantly reinforced the broader movement to improve social and environmental conditions and influence the individual behaviors considered crucial to personal advancement and societal health.

Daniel Eli Burnstein’s Next to Godliness examines prominent street sanitation issues in Progressive Era New York City – ranging from garbage strikes to pushcarts to “juvenile street cleaning leagues” – as a way of exploring how reformers amassed a base of middle-class support for social reform measures to a greater degree than in practically any other period of prosperity in U.S. history. Linking social reform concerns with practical politics and with compelling urban environment and public health issues, Burnstein stresses an ethos of mutual obligations in discussing reformers’ attitudes toward individual and governmental responsibility, individual character and its relationship to the social and physical environment, and the integration of immigrants into the broader society. 

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Environmental Governance Reconsidered

March 4, 2007

Environmental governance reconsidered

From the book jacket:

This survey of current issues and controversies in environmental policy and management is unique in its thematic mix, broad coverage of key debates and approaches, and in-depth analysis of concepts treated less thoroughly in other texts. The contributing authors, all distinguished scholars or practitioners, offer a comprehensive examination of key topics in environmental governance today, including perspectives from environmental economics, democratic theory, public policy, law, political science, and public administration. Environmental Governance Reconsidered is the first book to integrate these wide-ranging topics and perspectives thematically in one volume.

Many are calling for a change in the bureaucratic, adversarial, technology-based regulatory approach that is the basis for much environmental policy — a move from “rule-based” to “results-based” regulation. Each of the thirteen chapters in Environmental Governance Reconsidered critically examines one aspect of this “second generation” of environmental reform, assesses its promise-versus-performance to date,
and points out future challenges and opportunities. The first section of the book, “Reconceptualizing Purpose,” discusses the concepts of sustainability, global interdependence, the precautionary principle, and common pool resource theory. The second section, “Reconnecting with Stakeholders,” examines deliberative democracy, civic environmentalism, environmental justice, property rights and regulatory takings, and
environmental conflict resolution. The final section, “Redefining Administrative Rationality,” analyzes devolution, regulatory flexibility, pollution prevention, and third-party environmental management systems auditing. This book will benefit students, scholars, managers, natural resource specialists, policymakers, and reformers and
is ideal for class adoption.

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Communities and Conservation

March 4, 2007

Conmmunities and conservation

From the book jacket:
A group of distinguished environmentalists analyze and advocate for community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). They offer an overview of this transnational movement and its links between environmental management and social justice agendas. This book will bevaluable to instructors, practitioners, and activists in environmental anthropology, justice, and policy, in cultural geography, political ecology, indigenous rights, conservation biology, and community-based cultural resource management.

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