Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged history

Anachronism and Its Others: Sexuality, Race, Temporality

Valerie Rohy’s exploration of the efforts to define both queer and Black identities and their subsequent intersections is as interesting as it is illuminating, as presented in Anachronism and Its Others, whether it is a discussion of the temporal implications of Frederick Douglass’ thought presented in his autobiography or demystifying the nebulous concepts of "queer time." _[Anachronism and Its Others](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1438428650?ie=UTF8&tag=f

The Last Empress: Madame Chiang Kai-shek and the Birth of Modern China

No one will fail to notice this giant red book on your bookshelf.

Women and Judaism: New Insights and Scholarship

Why is it that so many scholars—people well-versed in captivating ideas and history—are dry writers? Being a feminist with Jewish roots, I was really excited to review Women and Judaism. Divided into four sub-categories: classical tradition, history, contemporary life, and literature—the volume did present some very interesting thoughts on women's role within the Jewish religion.

The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn

Having been drawn to the history of midwifery and peasants/working classes, I’ve always shied away from studying aristocrats. When I first picked up The Lady in the Tower, I was a bit apprehensive. Over 350 pages in length (not including the bibliography, source notes, or illustrations), it appeared to be a daunting reading task.

Suffled How It Gush: A North American Anarchist in the Balkans

Suffled How It Gush is so beautiful it may as well be a novel. The confident, fast-paced prose is history, politics, memoir, travel guide, and a call to action all in one—and all seeping with deep humanity.

The Sixties

Jenny Diski gave me more to contemplate in 134 pages of The Sixties than I could manage to willfully squeeze out of the last piece of popular literary fiction I read. It is clear after only a few sentences that Diski is a writer worth her salt, and why she was the one chosen to handle this topic. Often the sixties are romanticized to the point of obscurity, those who lived through them trying to weave fame, and infamy, out of their psychedelic experiences.

Living History: Anarchism in the Kibbutz Movement

“I am neutral on Israel,” I said as I helped lay out the first issue of a women’s newspaper one evening in the early seventies. “After all, I am not Jewish.” Like many critical of nationalism, I was silent. After all, comments on Israeli policy can be matches igniting discussions among friends and co-workers that end in bitterness, charges of anti-Semitism, or in the case of Jewish critics, of being “self-hating Jews.” Frankly, only the bombing of Lebanon in 2006 and the invasion of Gaza last winter pushed me into open criticism of Israeli policies and my first participation in protests.

For the Love Of Animals: The Rise of the Animal Protection Movement

Most people seem to agree that on some level, animal abuse is wrong. Whether this judgment is applied equally across species, however, is another matter. One hardly has to look further for modern examples of animal rights cognitive dissonance than the public outcry against Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring.

The Jazz Baroness

It is not difficult to be unconventional in the eyes of the world when your unconventionality is but the convention of your set. - William Somerset Maugham The preceding quote could very well be used to describe the Baroness Pannonica ("Nica") Rothschild de Koenigswarter’s attitude toward her decidedly eccentric lifestyle. The Baroness is the subject of The Jazz Baroness, which premieres tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT on HBO2.

Next of Kin: The Family in Chicano/a Cultural Politics

Anyone can tell you that family is important to Mexican and Chicano culture, and we can all venture guesses as to why. However, where exactly this family unit seems to be headed and how it has evolved in U.S. popular culture over the past 25-30 years is what Richard Rodríguez chooses to scrutinize in his study—and he does so with unexpected wit. Rodríguez's Next of Kin is structured into four chapters framed by an introduction and an afterword.

The Queen of the Ring: Sex, Muscles, Diamonds, and the Making of an American Legend

One of my most irritating memories of the early and mid-1980s is my younger brother's insistence on having TV wrestling in the background on Saturday mornings. Even at age nine, the “sport” seemed staged, hokey, and fake. But imagine a time when wrestling was based on skill as much as show, when young American women saw it as an escape from poverty as much as a pass into celebrity.

Censorship in South Asia: Cultural Regulation from Sedition to Seduction

There is no use in burying the head of an ostrich in censorship and imagining the enemy knows nothing of what we are doing. — S.C. Lind Censorship in South Asia dissects the history and socio-political dynamics of censorship in India, which have been transcribed into the public culture of the South Asian society over the years.

Eliza Redford Necklace

The Eliza Redford Necklace from Paper Treasure is definitely unique. It was named after a ship that wrecked in a storm on Lake Ontario on November 16, 1893. The necklace it makes you think about the ship that wrecked and the people on it. It takes you back to a far off place and time and makes you wonder about what happened on that day. The necklace has a round, gold locket that opens, allowing the wearer to keep a picture of a loved one close to your heart. Both the face of the locket and the inside can hold a photo.

Call Me Ahab

Anne Finger’s award-winning Call Me Ahab showcases a plethora of historical and literary characters—each of whom is in some way disabled—and imagines new scenarios for their lives. It’s an exciting concept and while several of the stories in the nine-story collection left me cold, Finger is to be lauded for her originality. Her talent is particularly vivid in "Vincent." Here, Finger brings Vincent Van Gogh into the late twentieth century.

Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History

Feeling Backward is a brilliant book that attempts the “impossible” and succeeds. Using Michel Foucault and Eve Sedgwick as theoretical touchstones, and incorporating Raymond Williams’s “structures of feeling,” Heather Love “feels backward” to reimagine and connect with aspects of a queer past that had been rendered invisible.

The Non-Believer’s Bible

The Non-Believers Bible was passed along to me for review by a colleague who found the writing style to be painful, thereby foreclosing the possibility of her writing a deliberate review. Rather than headache-inducing, I found the text to be perplexing. Both while in the midst of reading it and after finishing it, one question continuously echoed in my mind: How to read this text?

The Hindus: An Alternative History

Wendy Doniger, currently the most outstanding American scholar of Hinduism, serves us a feast of tasty historical events and interpretative myths in this rich curry of a book, covering social and cultural developments in the Indian subcontinent from prehistoric times to the modern day.

The Hedgehog’s Dilemma: A Tale of Obsession, Nostalgia, and the World’s Most Charming Mammal

I remember the first time that I saw a hedgehog. I was studying abroad in England, returning home after a night out, and outside my flat I heard a snuffling sound in the underbrush. Seconds later, a small hedgehog toddled out, seemingly unfazed by our presence.

30 Days in Sydney: A Wildly Distorted Account

Peter Carey’s 30 Days in Sydney: A Wildly Distorted Account is one of the most accurately named books that I’ve read recently. This book is not a traditional travel narrative, and it gains so much from that. The twists and turns inherent in Sydney’s history and people are developed throughout the book not only in the words, but in the style of the book. It is indeed a wildly distorted account, and an unapologetic one.

The Modern Girl Around the World: Consumption, Modernity, and Globalization

The propagated image of the "modern woman" is usually White and lithely strutting the streets of New York or Paris. Hollywood films as well as vintage prints in hip clothing boutiques give us the familiar image of a short-cropped brunette in smart dress. The Modern Girl Around the World Research Group (comprised by the book's editors) has collected a group of essays suggesting that this fabulous 1920’s to 1930’s woman was an international phenomenon, and not merely a Western emulation.

Desiring Arabs

On September 24, 2007, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran drew derisive laughter from a group at Columbia University when he announced, "In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon." Joseph A. Massad, Associate Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia, was likely among the few who were not mocking this assertion.

Are Girls Necessary?: Lesbian Writing and Modern Histories

Are Girls Necessary? was an astoundingly great idea, exploring the lesbian in nineteenth and twentieth century lesbian-authored literature, even that which is not as explicit as the lesbian novels that make up the heart of the lesbian literary canon. The subjects of Abraham’s examinations are a veritable pantheon of lesbian, bisexual and feminist literary icons: [Willa Cather](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1844083721?ie=UTF8&tag=feminrevie-20&linkCode=as

The Blue Manuscript

The Blue Manuscript, featuring an indigo cover laced with gold detail, aesthetically embodies its elusive subject, a legendary medieval copy of the Quran. Al Khemir's novel traces the archaeological expedition in search of the manuscript yearned for by collectors and scholars alike.

The Emperor Jones (1/07/2009)

"I learn more when I'm being entertained," a student wrote in a journal last year.

On Their Own: Women Journalists and the American Experience in Vietnam

Joyce Hoffman read a book about journalists who reported on American involvement in Vietnam in the sixties and wondered to herself, “Where are the women?” Considering that she holds a Ph.D. in American Studies, a job teaching journalism to college students, and pens a biweekly op-ed column about journalism accuracy and fairness issues, it was not unlikely that she would write the book that would answer that question.

Power, Piety, and Patronage in Late Medieval Queenship: Maria de Luna

In Power, Piety, and Patronage in Late Medieval Queenship, Nuria Silleras-Fernandez examines the life of the Spanish queen, Maria de Luna, from her childhood amongst the sons and daughters of the royal court, to her successes and failures as queen in the Crown of Aragon until her death in 1406.


Chocolate by Paule Cuvetier is a two-volume set that comes in the matching case. The set includes The History of Chocolate and The Taste of Chocolate.

Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe

Let me start out by saying that I am not a fan of non-fiction books. Seriously, the only things I read that can be categorized as historical are also categorized under romance. I expected this book to be like the ones I had to read for history classes in college: boring and never ending. It wasn’t an experience I was looking forward to. So imagine my surprise when I started reading and found that not only was the book interesting, it was so compelling that I literally could not put it down. I loved this book.

The Lesbian and Gay Movements: Assimilation or Liberation?

The Lesbian and Gay Movements: Assimilation or Liberation? is a history of post-Stonewall GLBTQ activism as seen through three focused battles: the AIDS crisis, the ban on gays in the military, and the conflict over gay marriage. Craig Rimmerman presents a detailed breakdown of each, assembling them into a supposed study of the differences and relative importance of assimilationist and liberationist strategies.

When Push Came to Shove: Mormon Martyrs in an Unrelenting Bible Belt 1821-1923

William Whitridge Hatch originally started writing on Mormon relations in the South as a graduate student, and his work has become a life-long quest.