Book Reviews

Book Reviews

The Cosmopolitan Businessman: World and Worldview of Greek Merchant-Entrepreneurs

“Prof. Ariadni Moutafidou, a renowned historian and expert in the field of Modern Greek socio-economic history, explores in her innovative superb and sophisticated book on the Greek ‘big’ merchant-entrepreneurs, not only their mercantile operations, but mainly their thoughts, views, ideas, notions and beliefs within their own and the ‘outer’ world. Her broadened research encompasses the remarkable rise of Greek long-distance trade and shipping in the Mediterranean followed by their significant entrance into the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans during their golden era from the mid-eighteenth to the beginning of the twentieth century. Based on various rare autobiographical accounts, ego documents and commercial guidebooks as well as complementary archival documents and oral history preserved in second and third generation family accounts, the author firstly outlines the commercial culture of these businessmen. Ariadni Moutafidou then argues that the Greek merchant-entrepreneurs’ world and operations with extended international, economic and socio-economic networks, serve not only as a paradigm, but also constitute an integral, constitutive part of the merchant-entrepreneurs’ cosmopolitan world within the broader European-Mediterranean milieu during the nineteenth century. The Cosmopolitan Businessman broadened the research on the economic, social and cultural worldview of merchant-entrepreneurs, as well as on the interrelations between the ethnic mercantile communities. This rich, in-depth oeuvre offers a welcome challenge and contribution to the cultural, social and economic history of trading Diasporas including the interaction between them and their Jewish counterparts as described by the Greek merchants. Therefore, I strongly recommend publication of the manuscript.”
Orly C. Meron, Associate Professor, Former Head of the Interdisciplinary Department of Social Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Israel;  Author of Jewish Entrepreneurship in Salonica, 1912-1940: An Ethnic Economy in Transition, Sussex Academic Press, 2011/2013

“I have been acquainted with Dr. Ariadni Moutafidou’s research for many years and am delighted to recommend her book for publication. Dr. Moutafidou is a highly regarded historian whose research presents a fine combination of substantial use of archival material and behavioral theories and models. Her articles have been published in respected journals and in collected volumes. The present book is an original investigation of the social and cultural world of Greek big merchant-entrepreneurs of the nineteenth century. It is the product of an exhaustive and wide-ranging research, based on an impressive collection of primary sources, autobiographical accounts of businessmen, personal papers and commercial reports and other relevant archival documents. This group of businessmen had a great impact in various areas on the development of Greek economy and society. The results of their activities were felt in many important urban centers in the Near and Middle East. This research is a significant contribution to Greek economic history in particular and to nineteenth century history of entrepreneurship in general. It will constitute an important source of documentation for historians in this field as well as for economists specializing in international trade and business networks. On these grounds, I warmly recommend the publication of this excellent manuscript.”
Prof. Jeannine Horowitz, Head Program of Hellenic Studies, University of Haifa

“I have known Dr. Ariadni Moutafidou for almost two decades and held her and her historical research in great esteem. I have read the manuscript of her latest work, The Cosmopolitan Businessman, with interest and I think it is minutely researched, carefully argued, and elegantly presented. It brings to life the complex world of Greek merchant entrepreneurs in the nineteenth century, seen in the broader context of historical developments in the Near and Middle East. It will definitely be of interest to specialists in the field but its informative and narrative virtues will also be appreciated by any reader with broader historical interests. I therefore have no hesitation in recommending its publication.”
Pantelis Lekkas BA (Sussex) PhD (Cantab), Professor of Political Sociology, Faculty of Political Science & Public Administration, University of Athens, Greece

“Building upon a profound historical knowledge, from which my own studies on European Philhellenism have very much profited, Moutafidou’s scholarship embarks on new explorations of the factors shaping the physiognomy of the 19th century Mediterranean world. The cosmopolitan Businessman offers a vivid account of and an erudite study on the trajectories of entrepreneurial action in intercultural spirit. The book maps persuasively the contribution of Greek merchants to the formation of the First Globalisation. An indispensable reading.”
Dr. Dr. Konstadinos Maras, Research Fellow Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI), Essen University of Duisburg-Essen

“This original study opens new avenues to our understanding of the social and cultural world of Greek entrepreneurs of the modern era. It offers fascinating insights into the ideas and concepts of rising entrepreneurs in a traditional economy that has undergone processes of modernization. Historians of Greek economic and social history as well as economists specializing in international trade and business networks will certainly be delighted to read this book.”
Prof. Gad Gilbar, University of Haifa

Genocide and Geopolitics of the Rohingya Crisis

“In his book, Genocide and Geopolitics of the Rohingya Crisis, the scholar General Aminul Karim uncovers the broader canvas of the topic, painstakingly consulting the plethora of existing literature, interviewing various experts, and offering his own analysis and conclusions. General Karim begins with a background of the Rohingyas in Arakan and of modern Burma including its various insurgencies. He then moves on to the strategic importance of the area. Being resource rich, the oil and gas fields are controlled by an enterprise, in which the senior military officers who run the country have economic interests. Major world powers and big corporations have their eyes on these resources. Added to this is the location along the Bay of Bengal, which is vital for Chinese access to the Indian Ocean. Removing Rohingyas strengthens the control of these forces on the area and consequently, upon the resources. Examining the legal issues in subsequent chapters, the author concludes that the Myanmar regime is certainly guilty of committing genocide, but because Myanmar is not a member of ICC and because implementation of the ICJ decision depends largely on the UNSC, punishment of the perpetrators cannot be guaranteed. Chapters 11 and 12 enter into the main theme of the book—geopolitics, and the possibility of a local Muslim insurgency…In his concluding chapters, through interviews, the author suggests some solutions. Sadiqul Islam of Laurentian University, Canada, considers the expulsion of the Rohingyas into Bangladesh an act of war. Professor Delwar Hossain of Dhaka University thinks even a limited war on this issue is quite unlikely. This reviewer has looked into history, and seen that no such problem involving a crime of genocide has been resolved peacefully. The issue is likely to be prolonged and in such a case, the growth of an insurgency and recruitment of young zealots by international terror groups is a distinct possibility. To resolve the problem, General Karim suggests that great powers like China, Russia, the US, and the UN and other international organizations work together to ensure citizenship for Rohingyas and their repatriation, and federalism and autonomy in Myanmar. Alas, the Myanmar state looks unlikely to proceed this way; nor are the great powers showing any such inclination. The author agrees that this sounds like tall-talks, but he would still like to be optimistic. Unfortunately, going by the proceedings so far, there seems little space for such optimism. All said and done, this book is unique in as much as it has the intellectual dimension of an academic. It also reflects the strategic perspective of a professional who has had a decades-old career in military and security matters. A remarkable work, this book would be useful both for researchers as well as policymakers who can devise strategies to handle the issue in the years to come…READ MORE"
Reviewed by Md Touhid Hossain, Former Foreign Secretary, published in The Daily Star (December 24, 2020)

Exploring the Opportunities and Challenges of College Students

Exploring the Opportunities and Challenges of College Students, a book of edited chapters by Seungyeon Lee (2020), is a delightful volume, and allow me to tell you why. It is wonderfully diverse from several different perspectives. The broad topics that you expect to find in a volume about college student success are here, but there are also niche topics that many readers will find innovative. There are chapters about college student mental health, resiliency, achievement, career decision-making, procrastination, motivation, parental influence (including overparenting), substance use, and relationships – all topics that education professionals need to understand about college students. I also appreciated chapter authors who took a deeper dive into narrow topics – like the sophomore slump, how the campus physical environment exerts its own “ambient power,” the benefits to forming a book club for students, how college students struggle spelling difficult words, how on-campus animal-assisted activities influence final exam scores, and how students process grieving when a loved one dies during their college experience. This volume gives you the best of perspectives — the macro and the micro – and the chapters are expertly assembled. I also noticed and appreciated the diversity of methodological approaches used across the chapters. Some of the chapters serve as expert review chapters/updates on a particular topic, other chapters provide the literature review feature and also present new empirical data—quantitative, qualitative, case study, and mixed method approaches were utilized when new data were shared. When you have been in higher education as long as I have (32 years as I write this), there are times when you read a journal article or a book chapter and you are just as impressed by the curated reference citation list as you are by the prose of the text. That was true in many instances in reading this book, particularly for Chapters 5, 7, 13, and 15 – I’m not going to tell you the topics of those chapters in hopes of tempting you further to read the book. Let me also mention another feature of this book I really liked – every chapter has an abstract. I wish all edited books had an abstract or synopsis at the beginning of the chapter – I found that very useful. If you care about college students, you need to read this book. It will provide you with insights about the key areas surrounding college student success and stimulate new ideas about perspectives you may not have considered previously. Seventeen sets of chapter authors have provided you with up-to-date citations and conclusions in areas of importance. I am a fan of the “one good idea” (OGI) approach; that is, if I come away with truly one good idea from a conference, a journal article, a book – then that is a success because truly good ideas are hard to come by (in my opinion). So as I am reading Chapter 2 by Natalie Burick and Crystal Machado, not only do they report on the existing research on the “sophomore slump,” but they also conduct a qualitative study to better understand this phenomenon. They offer specific recommendations for sophomore student success based on the results of their study (presented on p. 29) – I’ve never this type of detailed, excellent recommendations before to specifically counter the sophomore slump. For me (at the very least) that’s my one good idea that I will take away from reading this edited book. What will be yours?”
R. Eric Landrum, PhD
Professor and Chair
Department of Psychological Science
Boise State University, Boise, ID

Geopolitics in the Twenty-First Century: Territories, Identities, and Foreign Policies

“The contributors to this important book recognize that (neo-)classical geopolitics remains the best prism through which to view and understand the global power shifts of the 21st century.”
Francis P. Sempa
Author of Geopolitics: From the Cold War to the 21st Century

“Sir Halford Mackinder the founding father of classical geopolitics articulated its purpose. Ultimately it was to: “give judgement in practical conduct”. This insightful and well researched book underscores his wisdom. Furthermore, it performs two additional functions. First it provides a clear pathway out of the dark valley of critical geopolitics. Secondly, it places an emphasis on the importance of moving beyond the current misinterpretation of geopolitics as a mere synonym of international strategic rivalry. We are presented with a picture of the constellation of forces which exist at a particular time and within a particular geographical frame of reference. The analysis that is delivered enables an understanding of the emerging complexities of international relations. If you want to understand the geopolitical patterns that will dominate the rest of the twenty first century then this book is an excellent place to start.”
Dr. Geoff Sloan
Associate Professor
University of Reading

Islamism: Global Surveys and Implications for the Future of the Arab Countries

“Using carefully collected survey data, Tausch had previously demonstrated that the official religious teachings of the Catholic Church towards the religious other do not necessarily trickle down to its most devoted members. Now he is applying similar methods to probe attitudes in Muslim societies towards a host of issues, hopefully opening a window into those societies.”
Arie Folger
Member of the Standing Committee of the European Rabbinical Conference
Member of the Rabbinical Court of Austria
Rabbi of the Bet Midrash Orchot Chajim

“This impressively researched empirical study comes at just the right time: “Islamism” asks for the development potential of the Arab countries and discusses the question of how the West should position itself. Anyone looking for answers to these crucial questions should refer to this book.
Alexander Pinwinkler
Associate Visiting Professor of Economic and Social History at the University of Vienna
Teaches at the Department of History of the University of Salzburg as well as at the Department of Economic and Social History of the University of Vienna

“Arno Tausch has few peers globally with his expertise on the Muslim world. This expertise is demonstrated in “Islamism: Global Surveys and Implications for the Future of the Arab Countries”. With the Middle East North Africa region in turmoil, now more than ever we need such expertise. This book is a veritable tour de force majestic in its scope and depth as it examines civic culture in the Arab world, anti-Semitism, Islamism and gender relations and the nexus between globalization and the environment and how this impacts the region.”
Professor Hussein Solomon
Head of Department of Political Studies and Governance
University of the Free State, South Africa

The Double Moon Drawing: An Instrument for Intervention and Research in Structurally Complex Family Situations

“I am delighted to endorse the publication of this book. The Double Moon Drawing (DMD) can be used in both clinical and research settings, facilitating the exploration and understanding of family boundaries and sense of belonging in structurally complex families. In particular, this symbolic-graphic tool allows the exploration of “absence”,  addressing how the subject deals with the loss or distancing of emotionally significant people. I have personally used the DMD, finding it a powerful and intuitive instrument, able to facilitate the participation of children and parents in the meaning-making process prompted by the clinician. Finally, the manuscript presents numerous clinical applications, which make it an invaluable resource for professionals working in the field of mental health. I strongly endorse the publication of this book, as I am confident it will make the application of the DMD more accessible and clinically sound.”
Tanya Lecchi, PhD
Anna Freud Centre
Kantor Centre of Excellence
London, England

Sexualities, Gender and Violence: A View from the Iberian Peninsula

"The eleven essays included in Enguix and Vieira’s must-read collection offer a much needed interdisciplinary reflection on the multifarious intersections of sexuality and gender-based norms in Southern Europe with the topic of violence, providing massive food for thought both within and beyond academia."
Ana Cristina Santos
Senior Researcher in Gender and Queer Studies
Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra
Portugal

"A fascinating collection, offering an exciting and thought-provoking journey through many – new and familiar – sites of negotiation of gender and sexuality in the Iberian Peninsula. Empirically rich, theoretically challenging, and critically engaged, this book is a powerful reminder of how personal and political, how pleasurable and violent, how material and elusive, gender and sexuality can be."
Maria do Mar Pereira
Centre for the Study of Women and Gender
University of Warwick
United Kingdom

"Begonya Enguix Grau and Cristina Pereira Vieira’s edited collection, Sexualities, Gender and Violence: A View from the Iberian Peninsula, provides an overdue and much needed survey of contemporary gender research across Spain and Portugal. This excellent collection, tackling topics such as the configuration of relationships, digital intimacies, sexual violence and harassment and sex education charts issues of concern that speak to a set of interests that animate debate across gender research at an international level. The collection is essential reading for anyone who is interested in the relations between sex, gender and violence in the contemporary moment."
John Mercer
Professor of Gender and Sexuality
Birmingham City University
United Kingdom

Georgian Military Forces of 19th Century

“It turned out that the rebellion of 1829, known before as the peasants’ riot, was actually the anti-Russian riot. This is confirmed by the unknown archive materials provided in this book.”
Avtandil Songulashvili
Doctor of History, Professor, Head of Department New History of Tbilisi State Universitety’s Ivane Javakhishvili Institute of History and Ethnology

“Ideology of regular Russian army of that period, with long service term (25 years), slaveholding relationships and strict, enslaving discipline, did not cause any good feelings in Georgian population that was characterized with high military culture and traditions. Cult of the warrior, protector of the native land was apparently much higher than the model of the soldier offered by Russian Empire to Georgians.”
Nikoloz Janjgava
Major General, Doctor of History

“XIX century was a very interesting and painful period in the history of Georgia. To regain the historical lands of their country the Georgians fought under Russian flag.”
Khatuna Ioseliani
Doctor of History, Chief Scientific Worker of Tbilisi State Universitety’s Ivane Javakhishvili Institute of History and Ethnology

The Monadic Space of Suburban Canada

A very interesting comparative perspective on essential social and spatial aspects of suburban residential environments.”
Dr. Sasha Tsenkova

This timely and valuable contribution to the urban studies literature is a sophisticated and cogently argued need to reconceptualize the connections between the built form, gated-ness, and social cohesion.”
Dr. Ivan Townshend

“The debate over urban design in suburban communities has been too polarized between proponents of the grid versus the cul-de-sac models. Dr. Youssef offers an approach that incorporates the advantages of both..”
Dr. Alan Smart

Social Policy on the Cusp: Values, Institutions and Change

"People engage with each other through the rules of their respective societies and around shared understandings. The essential bargain is that people are willing to give up some freedoms and adhere to taxation because they receive some public goods and protections from legal systems. Social tensions arise when the rewards of sociality accrue systematically in imbalanced ways to some and not others, when there are built-in social inequalities, prejudices, and short-shrifting. In an age of change into the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), what are some ways to re-jigger social agreements to better meet the needs of all citizens, in an Enlightenment approach? How can universal human dignity be achieved, with social and economic justice for all? These are the issues that Brij Mohan and Guy Bäckman (with contributions by Stan Weeber and Eleni Makri) engage in Social Policy on the Cusp: Values, Institutions and Change (2020), a collection which is simultaneously naively idealistic and practical, informed by 20th century history and a mish-mash of ideologies, and ultimately informed by the practice of general social critique...Social Policy on the Cusp: Values, Institutions and Change (2020) evokes the idea that all people have an ideology, a sense of the universe and their place in it, based on their unique experiences and personalities. This work suggests the state of the world is not a given; it is non-static and can be changed. The contributors highlight the importance of vision and motivation to make lasting constructive societal changes. In the same way that ideas have consequences, in-world realities can also affect ideas—for those who are attentive...READ MORE"
Shalin Hai-Jew for C2C Digital Magazine (Spring/Summer 2020)
Instructional Designer
Kansas State University