iOS app Android app

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

Entries by Glenn C. Altschuler

(Pro)creationism in Schools

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

Read Post

Faculty Governance

(0) Comments | Posted February 19, 2015 | 2:38 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...

Read Post


(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2015 | 4:08 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...

Read Post

No Holds Barred

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 3:42 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...

Read Post

Ballot Boxers

(0) Comments | Posted November 12, 2014 | 5:32 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...

Read Post

Berne, Baby, Berne

(0) Comments | Posted October 8, 2014 | 6:29 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...

Read Post

Noise Makers

(0) Comments | Posted September 2, 2014 | 10:08 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...

Read Post

A Whole 'Nuther Country

(0) Comments | Posted August 4, 2014 | 6:03 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...

Read Post

Back in the U.S.S.R.

(0) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 2:57 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...

Read Post

The Problematic Primacy of Primaries

(0) Comments | Posted June 12, 2014 | 3:55 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...

Read Post

The L-Word

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2014 | 5:58 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...

Read Post

ARMed and Dangerous

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 12:07 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...

Read Post

Deep in the Heart of Taxes

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 6:02 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...

Read Post

Start Spreading the News

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2014 | 11:32 AM

Review of The Invention of News: How the World Came to Know About Itself. By Andrew Pettegree. Yale University Press. 445 pp. $35

In Italy, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, news gathering scribes began offering their services to subscribing customers. Relying on a web of contacts across Europe and...

Read Post

The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming?

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2014 | 1:16 PM

Review of The Limits of Partnership: U.S.-Russian Relations in the Twenty-First Century. By Angela E. Stent. Princeton University Press. 355 pp. $35.


At her first meeting with Sergei Lavrov in Geneva in March 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave the Russian Foreign Minister a small gift...

Read Post

Breaking China

(1) Comments | Posted January 21, 2014 | 12:18 PM

Review of Unbalanced: The Co-Dependency of America and China. By Stephen Roach. Yale University Press. 326 pp. $32.50

The United States and China are political and economic rivals. They are also joined at the hip in many ways. A source of inexpensive products and surplus financial capital, China...

Read Post

Class Rules

(6) Comments | Posted December 4, 2013 | 5:51 PM

Review of White-Collar Government: The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policy Making. By Nicholas Carnes. The University of Chicago Press. 188 pp. $50.

Michael Michaud, a member of the United States House of Representatives, grew up in Medway, Maine, graduated from high school in East Millinocket, and...

Read Post

Urban Legends

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2013 | 11:06 AM

Review of If Mayors Ruled The World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities. By Benjamin R. Barber. Yale University Press. 416 pp. $28.

"The difference between my level of government and other levels of government," Michael Bloomberg has said, "is that action takes place at the city level." While the federal government...

Read Post

Bon Mots

(0) Comments | Posted October 14, 2013 | 1:35 PM

Review of Wordbirds: An Irreverent Lexicon for the 21st Century. By Liesl Schillinger. Illustrations by Elizabeth Zechel. Simon & Schuster. 208 pp. $17.99

With its iPads and iPhones, email, IM, texts, and tweets, the digital age has, for better and worse, transformed our professional and personal lives. The average teenager...

Read Post

Anatomy of an American University

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2013 | 6:47 PM

Review of Higher Education in America. By Derek Bok. Princeton University Press. 479 pp. $35.

In Francis Cornford's satire, Microcosmographia Academica (1908), the dons in Great Britain dismiss a proposal to change traditional practices at their college because "Nothing should ever be tried for the first time." This principle, the...

Read Post