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Below are several short reviews by our editors. The books are available for purchase from Rozzie Bound:

The Man in the Dog Park: Coming up Close to Homelessness, by Cathy A. Small with Jason Kordosky and Ross Moore (Cornell University Press, 2020)

I used to work for Cornell University Press.  Otherwise, I might never have known about this remarkable book. It asks what would happen if, instead of looking away, we got to know someone who slept in a car or lived in a tent.  That’s what anthropologist Cathy Small did one morning in the dog park. Her friendship with the man who became her co-author led to others. She learned how the homeless struggle to survive and to sustain their dignity, how they jockey for day labor positions and safe overnight parking spots, how they share resources and endure disdain.  This moving, deeply personal study is all the more poignant now that we are being told to stay home in order to stay safe.  (Andrea Fleck Clardy)

Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil, by Susan Neiman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019)

How should we memorialize racial oppression and evil in a way that helps us heal and move forward as a nation?  The question, which has a renewed sense of urgency, is at the heart of this thoughtful new book by Susan Neiman, an American born Jewish scholar who has lived in Berlin for much of her adult life.  Defying German colleagues who said she could not possibly title a book “Learning from the Germans,” Neiman finds hope in her adopted country’s efforts at vergangenheitsaufarbeitung (meaning roughly “working off the past.”).  With a combination of personal reflection and scholarship in philosophy, Neiman explores Germany’s decades-long struggle with its Nazi past as well as efforts to document and learn from America’s blood-stained history of slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and racial violence.  At a time when people across the world are taking to the streets to declare that “Black Lives Matter,” her insights are both important and timely.  (Roy Karp)

The City-State of Boston: The Rise and Fall of an Atlantic Power, 1630-1865, by Mark Peterson (Princeton University Press, 2019)

Anyone who has walked the Freedom Trail or visited Faneuil Hall knows that Boston is the birthplace of American liberty, that the city’s history is integrally linked to that of the nation. But what if that was completely wrong?  In his carefully researched and thoughtfully argued new book, Mark Peterson reframes the story and recasts Boston as a powerful Atlantic “city-state” whose interests and core values were often at odds with the new federal government.  For Peterson, the adoption of the U.S. Constitution marks the beginning of the end for Boston, a pact which ceded far too much power to the Southern Slavocracy.  In the midst of a global pandemic and a criminally negligent response from the Trump administration, the book feels particularly poignant. (Roy Karp)