Middle East Reviews: Second Edition

Editors: Mohammed M. Aman PhD and Mary Jo Aman, MLIS

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About the Editors
Mohammed M. Aman, PhD is current Professor (Dean from 1979 to 2002) at the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), Interim Dean, School of Education (2000-2002), and Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed journal, Digest of Middle East Studies (DOMES), published by Wiley-Blackwell. He is the author of scholarly books and journal articles.

Mary Jo Aman, MLIS is Associate Editor of the Digest of Middle East Studies (DOMES). She held management positions at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and prior to UWM, held positions at the Viking Press, Nassau County, N.Y. Library System, Brooklyn Public Library; Board Member of the International Board of Books for Young People (IBBY), and Editor of its quarterly Newsletter.

About the Book
The book brings together reviews of books published on the Middle East and North Africa during the period 2015 to 2018, thus supplementing the earlier edition published in 2016 that covers reviews from 2011 to 2014. The book is a valuable addition to Middle East literature, and will provide an informative read for experts and non-experts on the MENA countries. As with the first edition, this volume covers signed book reviews that cover subjects on the humanities, philosophy, religion, social sciences, history, arts, and literature. Together, the two volumes should serve as valuable sources for current literature on the MENA region and the subjects of interests to readers on the region.

 

The Game of Croquet; Its Appointment and Laws; with Descriptive Illustrations

by R. Fellow

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Croquet was all the rage in England in 1860s. It derived from earlier games, and was introduced by France. Interest in the game spread to the United States. The different forms of croquet, and similar games such as golf, trucco, pall-mall, and kolven, actually derive from games dating as far back as the Middle Ages.

Horace Elisha Scudder, 1838-1902, wrote this book under the pseudonym R. Fellow. Scudder was a prolific writer and used numerous nom de plumes. He is perhaps best known for his work as a children’s author, with such books as Seven Little People and Their Friends (1862), Dream Children (1864), and writing the textbook, A History of the United States of America Preceded By a Narrative of the Discovery and Settlement of North America and of the Events Which Led to the Independence of the Thirteen English Colonies for the Use of Schools and Academies. Although published in 1884, it became a paradigm for textbooks. He also served as the editor of The Atlantic Monthly. He died at the age of 64 at his home in Boston.

 

Donald J. Trump’s Presidency: International Perspectives

Editors: John Dixon and Max J. Skidmore

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President Donald J. Trump’s foreign policy rhetoric and actions become more understandable by reference to his personality traits, his worldview, and his view of the world. His campaign rhetoric catered to Americans comfortable with isolationism and certainly with no appetite for foreign military engagements. So, his foreign policy emphasis was on American isolationism and economic nationalism. He is not really interested in delving too deeply into some of the substantive issues of international politics, particularly the prevailing quandaries in the East Asia, Middle East and North Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe. Why bother when simple solutions will suffice, for his purposes. He has placed America’s global superpower status at risk. The gradual decline of its global influence seems inevitable.

Companion volume: John Dixon, Donald J. Trump as U.S. President: “It’s all about me!” (Westphalia Press, Washington, DC, 2018).

John Dixon is Professor of Public Administration at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. He is a fellow of the British Academy of the Social Sciences in 2004, and has been an honorary life member of the American Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars since 2006.

Max J. Skidmore is University of Missouri’s Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Thomas Jefferson Fellow at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He has been Distinguished Fulbright Lecturer to India, and Senior Fulbright Scholar at the University of Hong Kong.

American Prophets of Peace: Souvenir of the National Arbitration and Peace Congress, New York, April 1907

by National Arbitration and Peace Congress

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When the Peace Congress was proposed, it was considered “the greatest gathering ever held in advocacy of the abolition of war as a means of settling international disputes, and the most important non-political gathering ever held in this country for any purpose.” The Congress was supported by a notable group, including Andrew Carnegie, which served as its president, along with numerous religious figures, editors, educators, the American Federation of Labor, the National Association of Manufacturers, and other organizations. Sadly, World Wars I, II, and the numerous wars between and after have proven the eradication of international war to be so far an elusive dream. However, documents like this offer some scaffolding and inspiration for future talks in establishing world peace.

 

The Huguenots in France: After the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes with Memoirs of Distinguished Huguenot Refugees, and A Visit to the Country of Voudois

by Samuel Smiles

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The Huguenots are French Protestants, a denomination that began during the early sixteenth century. Their place in French society oscillated between their being celebrated and defamed. On August 24, 1572, while marking Saint Bartholomew’s Day, thousands of Huguenots were massacred. After decades of fighting occurred, a guarantee of peace was issued, which largely remained in place until October 18, 1685 when Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes. Many Huguenots fled France to escape persecution, and settled in various places, such as the United States, England, Sweden, Denmark, and Switzerland.

Samuel Smiles (1812 – 1904), was a Scottish social reformer, parliamentarian, and prolific author. He promoted frugality and asserted that poverty was caused largely by irresponsible habits, which may help account for his admiration of the Huguenot culture of industry and entrepreneurship.

 

Demand the Impossible: Essays in History as Activism

Editors: Nathan Wuertenberg and William Horne

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Born from the wave of activism that followed the inauguration of President Trump, Demand the Impossible asks scholars what they can do to help solve present-day crises. The twelve essays in this volume draw inspiration from present-day activists. They examine the role of history in shaping ongoing debates over monuments, racism, clean energy, health care, poverty, and the Democratic Party. Together they show the ways that the issues of today are historical expressions of power that continue to shape the present. Adequately addressing them means understanding their origins.

The way our society remembers the past has long served to cement inequality. It is no accident that the ahistorical slogan “make America great again” emerged after decades of income inequality and a generation of funding cuts to higher education. But the movement toward openly addressing injustice and inequality though historical inquiry is growing. Although many historians remain tucked away in ivory towers of their own making, we join a long tradition of activist scholars like W.E.B. Du Bois, C.L.R. James, and C. Vann Woodward, as well as a growing wave of engaged colleagues including Keri Leigh Merritt, who penned the foreword for this volume. As historians and citizens, we feel a responsibility to preserve an authentic vision of the past in a moment riddled with propaganda and lies. In doing so, we hope to help provide a framework to fight the inequities we inherited from prior generations that are repurposed and enshrined by the powerful today.

Nathan Wuertenberg is a doctoral candidate at The George Washington University. He is conducting research for a doctoral dissertation on the 1775 American invasion of Quebec, entitled “Divided We Stand: The American War for Independence, the 1775 Quebec Campaign, and the Rise of Nations in the Twilight of Colonial Empires.” William Horne is a PhD candidate at The George Washington University researching the relationship of race to labor, freedom, and capitalism in post-Civil War Louisiana. His dissertation, “Carceral State: Baton Rouge and its Plantation Environs Across Emancipation,” examines the ways in which white supremacy and capitalism each depended on restricting black freedom in the aftermath of slavery.

 

Palaces of Sin, or The Devil in Society

by Col. Dick Maple

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“Colonel” Dick Maple was the fanciful pen name for Seth McCallen, who penned a great many highly polemical works. He wrote this particular work against alcohol and nightlife. In particular, he guards readers against women in corsets, who drink or otherwise dabble in lifestyles or actions he finds unseemly. The women in his stories often come to sad endings as a result of their desire to enjoy equal opportunities with men in vice and pleasure. McCallen was far from a person anyone should take seriously. He is known for writing and publishing some of the most extraordinarily vile and racist diatribes in The National Rip-Saw. In 1910, McCallen had a stroke, but the publisher hired W. S. Morgan in order to imitate his hateful style. Thankfully, the style and messages were so unappealing and subscriptions dropped so low that the magazine had to send issues to random addresses to fulfill advertising terms.