Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Ukraine: A Political Landscape

The book reflects the acute confrontation that has been going on in Ukraine for almost thirty years between regional elites. The author has shown that their different ideas about the future development of the country are determined by the history of formation of the Ukrainian state. This factor is the key reason for political clashes. This book is the first one that thoroughly and objectively shows the struggle for power in Ukraine. The works written by Ukrainian authors, which Dr. Zhiltsov used for this monograph, allow the book to avoid political engagement in covering the most acute periods of Ukrainian political life and, at the same time, to show frankly the changes in the ‘political landscape’ and the role of individual political forces."
Yuliy A. Nisnevich
Doctor of Political Science
Professor of the National Research University
Higher School of Economics (HSE)
Moscow
Russia

“The author reveals the peculiarities of the internal political development of Ukraine. The stages of establishment of the political elite of Ukraine are shown. The factors that determine its approaches to the implementation of domestic and foreign policy of the country are studied. Of interest is the analysis of constant transitions of Ukraine from the presidential form of government to the parliamentary-presidential one and back. It becomes obvious that the political development of Ukraine can still bring a lot of surprises."
Nikolay P. Medvedev
Doctor of Political Science
Professor of Peoples’ Friendship
University of Russia
Moscow
Russia

Anger: From Primordial Rage to the Politics of Hatred and Resentment

This work explores and analyzes anger. We examine anger as a single emotion and as it occurs in combination with other emotions in complex social relationships that typically involve power dynamics. We utilize Robert Plutchik’s primary-emotions classification to hierarchically categorize anger and other basic and complex emotions, and we compare constructivist and basic-emotion theories of emotion. We conceptualize the primary emotions––including anger––as prototypical adaptive reactions to key existential problems: temporality, social identity, exchange, and hierarchy. Anger is uniquely reactive to positive and negative experiences of social power, elicited by a perceived threat to the self or to the self's project to preserve or attain valued status, resources, or goals. Anger triggers activate a three-stage sociocognitive appraisal process in which the self: (i) perceives its social position or valued resource is at stake; (ii) endeavors to modify another actor's social intentions concerning norms of social sharing and social cohesion; and (iii) develops an intentional act. We identify two complex emotions––hatred and resentment––-as essential political emotions. Both share anger as a key component, and also include contempt. Hatred can be harnessed for pernicious ends, becoming an expression or instrument of power; resentment is more typically an emotion of the powerless, arising as a reaction to unjustified suffering. We examine the place of anger, hatred, resentment, and other emotions of power and powerlessness in contemporary United States politics, particularly to competing political ideologies of globalism–neoliberalism, democratic socialism, and nationalism–populism.

Contemporary Issues in South Asia

"Contemporary Issues in South Asia presents a rigorous and lucid analysis of the problems being faced by South Asia in contemporary times. By compiling the conceptual as well as empirical research analysis, Dr. Gagan Deep Sharma has done a commendable job for the future researchers and policymakers with a particular focus on South Asia. The chapters based on philosophical underpinnings on South Asia, particularly indicate towards holistic solutions to challenges of post-modern times. The inter-disciplinary nature of the book makes it extremely valuable for the researchers from various fields of study." - Tapan Sarker, Associate Professor, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Australia

In times when materialistic approach is taking a center-stage in human lives, it is heartening to note that Dr. Gagan Deep Sharma has edited a volume that talks about South Asian philosophies and approaches as solutions to the challenges being experienced by societies globally. The book Contemporary Issues in South Asia is a rich and informative collection of conceptual and empirical analyses focusing on social, anthropological, political and economic issues. The fact that the book has been written in an eloquent and accessible language augurs well for the readers. I am sure the book would prove to be valuable for both academicians and practitioners. - Dr. Marta Hawkins, Associate Dean, London School of Science and Technology, United Kingdom

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Ethiopia: Social and Political Issues

"This is a timely publication on Ethiopian issues which readers – experts on Ethiopia or not – will find to be a useful source to present and future challenges facing the Ethiopian state. The book consists of four sections, dealing with governance, health, gender and law, and the eleven chapters are authored by a variety of international scholars, including a good number of Ethiopians, from a range of disciplines. The book was published only a year after the country got a new Prime Minister, Dr Abiy Ahmed, opening up for profound changes in the political and economic landscape of the country. Although most of the research the chapters are based on took place prior to this, some of the authors have been able to relate to the new political climate emerging after the change in political leadership. Especially the last chapter of the book, Dessalegn Rahmato’s analysis of land deals, rural unrest and political crisis, is an up to date account both of the elements that led to unrest under Meles Zenawi and his successor Hailemariam Dessalegn and which eventually led to Hailemariam’s resignation in favour of Abiy. As always, Dessalegn presents a succinct and well documented analysis which serves well as the final chapter of this book. Also the chapter on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), by US scholars D. K. Hudson and S. C. Roach addresses an issue in process still of national and regional importance and actuality." - Harald Aspen, Associate professor, Department of Social Anthropology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

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What a Life: From Nazi Germany via Neo-Marxism to American Academia

Salomon Rettig remembers almost more than he can bear: his mother's songs in Russian; his escape into books which had to be sold before the Nazis discovered them; the beatings and humiliation he suffered as a Jewish child on the streets of Berlin; sitting in class under a portrait of Hitler; the Jewish orphanage and journey aboard the Galilee to Palestine; the record player, the lover, and the tractors on a kibbutz; and then the U.S., the English language, the path to chairing a university psychology department, and life as a husband and father in New York. But the empirical details are not enough for Rettig. With his wide-ranging thinking in the social sciences and a commitment to seeing things for himself, he struggles to make sense of the programmatic, murderous violence of the Third Reich; the failed idealism of the kibbutz movement in pre-1948 Palestine; "the spirit of America" in the 50's, 60's, and 70's; and his own feelings of alienation from systems, countries, and people. Sadness and frustration are on every page. But so is Rettig's indefatigable curiosity about what it means to be a human being, whether in extraordinary or everyday circumstances, and his faith that with communication comes connection: "If I could even conceive of belonging," Rettig writes, "then there was some tiny glint of hope ... [that] I might someday find refuge."
- Mark Dow, Adjunct Assistant Professor of English, Hunter College, NY USA; Author of Plain Talk Rising (poems) and American Gulag: Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons

Salomon Rettig’s memoir documents his childhood as a Jew in Nazi Germany, his exodus to Israel whereby he escaped the holocaust, his coming of age on a Kibbutz, and his immigration to the United States after the war where he became a social psychologist. His story is emotionally gripping and haunting, and provides a timely account of the processes and consequences of authoritarianism on a personal and collective level. Rettig inspires the reader with his resilience. READ MORE... - Gregory Bovasso, Ph.D., Community College of Philadelphia, USA

"Overall, I believe the book is intensely rich. As a historical reference, it provides a vivid, first-hand view of life during the absolutely insane, brutality of Nazi Germany. As an auto-biography I was particularly intrigued to learn more about the depth of the author's incredible experiences and the direct ties to the multifaceted view of who he is as a person in all his complexity. It was also extremely interesting to follow the philosophical perspectives within a complex existential web. The connections between realities, thought and behavior were also very compelling psychology revealing deep understanding of human behavior. The linguistic descriptions were also extremely colorful, descriptive and captivating.” - Stephen D. Steinhaus, PhD, HRA Consultant

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Palestine: Past and Present

"The ostracisation of Palestine by the international community to facilitate its exploitation by colonial Israel is portrayed excellently in Palestine Past and Present. This collection of academic essays, presents a concise yet thorough assessment of specific issues related to Palestine, illustrating the importance of historical reference and contiguity to contextualise the current political trajectories that have consistently disadvantaged the Palestinian struggle for rights, independence and statehood." To read the full review that was published in the Middle East Monitor (MEMO), click here - Ramona Wadi, independent researcher, freelance journalist, book reviewer and blogger

On the whole, a fascinating volume, insightful, analytical and is a must for students of the Arab Israeli conflict, Palestinian politics, and Middle East politics. I would use the book myself for my senior classes on politics of the Middle East. The editors and authors must be congratulated. While the theme of the book is not new, it breaks new ground in giving a kind of "devil's advocate"-type approach, that tries to refigure the debate by factoring into the equation injustices exacted on the Palestinians. However, in doing so it maintains a balanced analysis, framed within known methods of analysis. The book oozes with added value. - Larbi Sadiki, Professor, Qatar University, Qatar

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A Student’s Guide to Right, Left and Truth

"The current polarization of politics had created a pressing need for centrist dialogues and a recognition of enduring facts about humanity. Alan Singer condenses these debates and issues to their core. I highly recommend this book." - Jari Elarontaj, University of Helsinki, Finland

"Alan Singer bridges the political divide using humor and history to enlighten readers. This is again a fun read, at times reminiscent of Malcolm Gladwell's best work." - James Westerman, Appalachian State University, USA

"The world is inundated with a terrifying avalanche of fantasy news, fishy news, fabricated news, and fake news that may well destroy our democracy. This is coming from the Left and the Right. Read the book, get wiser, and use objective facts when fighting for our democracy." - Adam Lindgreen, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

"The chapter on truth seems very timely in the age of fake-news and spin. The book has a very readable style, taking its readers easily into philosophers’ territory." - Peter Earl, University of Queensland, Australia

"Alan Singer’s inspiring book is an invaluable guide to those who are attempting the hard balancing act between power and truth." - Harold Paredes-Frigolett, University Diego Portales, Chile

"Dr. Singer has an outstanding ability to step back from polarized political discourse and present a harmonizing vision. The book navigates stormy waters but ultimately comes across as calming and optimistic." - Paul Knott, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

"Alan Singer offers an unbiased insight into the contemporary political divide and convincingly makes the case for the golden-mean in economics and politics. The need to revitalize centrist policies at all levels is increasingly apparent, so now is the time to read this book." - Achinto Roy, Deakin University, Australia

"The chapter on hopes in particular is very nice, beautifully written. If the whole book is anything like this, it should be a great read!" - Milan Zeleny, Fordham University, NY, USA

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Cold War: Global Impact and Lessons Learned

"Allison L. Palmadessa’s Cold War: Global Impact and Lessons Learned (2019) appears at a timely point in human history. It offers a patchwork of insights about the Cold War; what are lessons learned from these particular works and do the lessons learned enable better handling of human tensions, and also provides some very insightful extracted themes."READ MORE... - Published in C2C Digital Magazine (Fall 2019 / Winter 2020). Reviewed by Shalin Hai-Jew, instructional designer, Kansas State University, USA

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Understanding Ethnic Segregation in Contemporary Britain

"In this in-depth study of segregation, ethnicity and the northern English city Jamie Halsall examines the debate over whether we are sleepwalking into a more segregated future, or whether the reality of change on the ground is not so easily turned into sound bites. Not afraid of making strong claims this study is both interesting to read and a timely contribution." - Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography, The University of Oxford

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An In Depth Look at Hungary

"This book continues the traditions of this series and approaches some socio-economic and historical aspects Hungary’s development. The book consists of four chapters, which were written altogether by twelve contributors." READ MORE... - Dániel Szilágyi, Regional Analyst, Hungarian Central Statistical Office, Budapest, Hungary

For more information about this book, please click here.