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Glenn C. Altschuler
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Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies and Vice President for University Relations at Cornell University.

Entries by Glenn C. Altschuler

Remains of the Day

(0) Comments | Posted October 21, 2015 | 8:40 AM

Review of The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains. By Thomas W. Laqueur. Princeton University Press. 711 pp. $39.95.

For more than two thousand years, some people, inspired perhaps by Diogenes the Cynic (ca. 412-323 B.C.E.), have made fun of burial practices and monuments. Poor, naked,...

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Who Won the War on Secrecy?

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2015 | 9:02 AM

Review of The Rise of the Right to Know: Politics and the Culture of Transparency, 1945-1975. By Michael Schudson. Harvard University Press. 348 pp. $29.95

Almost half a century ago, Ralph Nader declared that "A well-informed citizenry is the lifeblood of democracy; and in all areas...

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Ties That B(l)ind

(0) Comments | Posted August 13, 2015 | 10:10 AM

Review of Just Married: Same-Sex Couples, Monogamy & the Future of Marriage. By Stephen Macedo. Princeton University Press. 300 pp. $29.95.

During the litigation over the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, which defined marriage as the relationship between one man and one woman, Attorney Charles Cooper maintained that...

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Sanford & Sins

(0) Comments | Posted July 15, 2015 | 10:38 AM

Review of The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics. By Barton Swaim. Simon & Schuster. 204 pp. $25.

On June 24, 2009, at a hastily arranged press conference in the rotunda of the State House, Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina, and a rising star in the...

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The Tyranny of GDP

(0) Comments | Posted June 16, 2015 | 1:25 PM

Review of The Little Big Number: How GDP Came to Rule the World and What to Do About It. By Dirk Philipsen. Princeton University Press. 398 pp. $29.95

"He who has enough to satisfy his want," a philosopher declared in the fourteenth century, "and nevertheless ceaselessly labors to acquire riches,...

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The Greatest Danger to the World

(0) Comments | Posted May 7, 2015 | 12:14 PM

Review of Inequality: What Can Be Done? By Anthony B. Atkinson. Harvard University Press. 384 pp. $29.95

More than 80 years ago, during the Great Depression, R.H. Tawney asserted that "while inequality is easy, since it demands no more than to float with the current, equality is difficult, for it...

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Political Trash Talk's Toll

(0) Comments | Posted April 8, 2015 | 12:26 PM

Review of In-Your-Face Politics: The Consequences of Uncivil Media by Diana C. Mutz. 263 pp. $29.95

"If a producer can find someone who eggs on conservative listeners to spout off and prods liberals into shouting back, he's got a show," Bill O'Reilly, host of The O'Reilly Factor, declared a few...

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(Pro)creationism in Schools

(1) Comments | Posted March 18, 2015 | 2:10 PM

Review of Too Hot To Handle: A Global History of Sex Education. By Jonathan Zimmerman. Princeton University Press. 202 pp.

Written in 1891, Spring Awakening, a play by Frank Wedekind, dealt with adolescent sexuality, abortion, homosexuality, rape and suicide. Censored by German officials, Spring Awakening did not have its debut...

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Faculty Governance

(0) Comments | Posted February 19, 2015 | 3:38 PM

Review of Locus of Authority: The Evolution of Faculty Roles in the Governance of Higher Education, by William G. Bowen and Eugene M. Tobin.

These days, colleges and universities are struggling to deal with rising costs, defaults on student loans, reduced appropriations from state and federal agencies, competition from...

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(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2015 | 5:08 PM

Review of The Killing Compartments: The Mentality of Mass Murder by Abram De Swaan. Yale University Press: 332 p.p., $35

As far as we know, human beings have always engaged in mass murder. With the emergence of the nation-state, however, sustained violence, including wars between more or less symmetric parties...

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No Holds Barred

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 4:42 PM

Review of Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics. By Marie Gottschalk. Princeton University Press. 474 pp. $35

In 1994, California mandated that defendants with two or more serious convictions be sentenced to a minimum of twenty-five years to life on conviction of any third felony. Sixteen...

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Ballot Boxers

(0) Comments | Posted November 12, 2014 | 6:32 PM

Review of The Hidden Agenda of the Political Mind: How Self-Interest Shapes Our Opinions and Why We Won't Admit It. By Jason Weeden & Robert Kurzban. Princeton University Press.

We know, with precision, for whom American voters cast their ballots. But it is much less clear why they pull...

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Berne, Baby, Berne

(0) Comments | Posted October 8, 2014 | 7:29 PM

Review of The Copyright Wars: Three Centuries of Trans-Atlantic Battle. By Peter Baldwin. Princeton University Press. 535 pp. $35.

In 1989, the United States joined the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. Established in 1886, the Berne Convention assumed that such works were a form of...

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Noise Makers

(0) Comments | Posted September 2, 2014 | 11:08 PM

Review of The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs. By Greil Marcus. Yale University Press. 307 pp. $28.

Sometimes, Greil Marcus claims, "a song says what its words never could." It hints that some things cannot be captured in words or shouldn't be. Inside the loudness "is a...

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A Whole 'Nuther Country

(0) Comments | Posted August 4, 2014 | 7:03 PM

Review of Rough Country: How Texas Became America's Most Powerful Bible-Belt State. By Robert Wuthnow. Princeton University Press. 654 pp. $39.50.

After Governor Dan Moody proclaimed in 1930 that a few of his Texas Rangers could rid the city of Chicago of its gangsters, the Chicago Daily Tribune...

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Back in the U.S.S.R.

(0) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 3:57 PM

Review of The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book. By Peter Finn and Petra Couvée. Pantheon Books. 352 pp. $26.95

Following her arrest in October, 1949, Olga Ivinskaya, the mistress of Boris Pasternak, was interrogated by Victor Abakumov, Joseph Stalin's minister...

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The Problematic Primacy of Primaries

(0) Comments | Posted June 12, 2014 | 4:55 PM

The defeat of Eric Cantor, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, by David Brat, a little known professor of economics at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, in the Republican primary in Virginia on Tuesday shocked professional politicians, pundits, and political junkies. Since none of them thought Brat had a...

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The L-Word

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2014 | 6:58 PM

Review of Liberalism: The Life of an Idea. By Edmund Fawcett. Princeton University Press. 468 pp. $35.

"We all declare for liberty," Abraham Lincoln declared in 1864, "but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing."

Lincoln might well have made the same claim for...

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ARMed and Dangerous

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 1:07 PM

Review of Other People's Houses: How Decades of Bailouts, Captive Regulators, and Toxic Bankers Made Home Mortgages a Thrilling Business by Jennifer Taub, Yale University Press, 406 pp., $30.

Following the savings and loan crisis of 1987, Secretary of the Treasury Nicholas announced that the federal government's response had been...

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Deep in the Heart of Taxes

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 7:02 PM

American Tax Resisters
By Romain D. Huret
Harvard University Press. 370 pp. $29.95

To pay the expenses incurred in fighting the Civil War, the government of the United States sold bonds and levied several taxes, including a small graduated income tax. Despite the threat to the Union, an...

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