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Summer Reading List: Public Administration and Policy

Looking for something interesting to read this summer? Look no further than Dewey’s public administration and policy collection! We have a host of interesting and compelling books to keep your brain from atrophying while you relax on the beach. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

Anticipating Madam President.jpgAnticipating Madam President edited by Robert P. Watson and Ann Gordon. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, c2003. University Library / JK 524 A77 2003.

Madam President? The question is not if, but rather when the United States will elect a female president—but that may be the only certainty involved in shattering this most visible glass ceiling in U.S. society. Who will be included in the field of candidates for Madam President, and why? How will she have to position herself for a viable run at the Oval Office? Once in office, will she encounter gender-based biases in her handling of military and foreign affairs? Will Madam President blend seamlessly with the long line of Mr. Presidents—or will the very nature of the presidency be irrevocably changed?

Anticipating Madam President's insightful blend of analysis and personal profiles illustrates the realities of women in the upper echelons of public life, as well as the challenges likely to face a woman in one of the world's most powerful political positions.

African Americans and the Presidency.jpgAfrican Americans and the Presidency: The Road to the White House edited by Bruce A. Glasrud and Cary D. Wintz. New York, NY: Routledge, 2010. University Library / E 185.96 A455 2010.

African Americans and the Presidency explores the long history of African American candidates for President and Vice President, examining the impact of each candidate on the American public, as well as the contribution they all made toward advancing racial equality in America. Each chapter takes the story one step further in time, through original essays written by top experts, giving depth to these inspiring candidates, some of whom are familiar to everyone, and some whose stories may be new. African Americans and the Presidency provides anyone interested in African American history and politics with a unique perspective on the path carved by the predecessors of Barack Obama, and the meaning their efforts had for the United States.

Women Work and Politics.jpgWomen, Work, and Politics: The Political Economy of Gender Inequality by Torben Iversen and Frances Rosenbluth. New Haven CT: Yale University Press, c2010. University Library / HQ 1236 I96 2010.

Looking at women's power in the home, in the workplace, and in politics from a political economy perspective, Torben Iversen and Frances Rosenbluth demonstrate that equality is tied to demand for women's labor outside the home, which is a function of structural, political, and institutional conditions. They go on to explain several anomalies of modern gender politics: why women vote differently from men; why women are better represented in the workforce in the United States than in other countries but less well represented in politics; why men share more of the household work in some countries than in others; and why some countries have such low fertility rates. The first book to integrate the micro-level of families with the macro-level of national institutions, Women, Work, and Politics presents an original and groundbreaking approach to gender inequality.

The Litigation State: Public Regulation and Private Lawsuits in the U.S.
by Sean Farhang. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, c2010. Dewey Library / KF 8840 F374 2010.

Farhang reveals that private lawsuits, functioning as an enforcement resource, are a profoundly important component of American state capacity. He demonstrates how the distinctive institutional structure of the American state--particularly conflict between Congress and the president over control of the bureaucracy--encourages Congress to incentivize private lawsuits. Congress thereby achieves regulatory aims through a decentralized army of private lawyers, rather than by well-staffed bureaucracies under the president's influence. The historical development of ideological polarization between Congress and the president since the late 1960s has been a powerful cause of the explosion of private lawsuits enforcing federal law over the same period.

Using data from many policy areas spanning the twentieth century, and historical analysis focused on civil rights, The Litigation State investigates how American political institutions shape the strategic design of legislation to mobilize private lawsuits for policy implementation.

Myth of Voter Fraud.JPGThe Myth of Voter Fraud by Lorraine C. Minnite. Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 2010. University Library / JK 1994 M66 2010.

In The Myth of Voter Fraud, Lorraine C. Minnite presents the results of her meticulous search for evidence of voter fraud. She concludes that while voting irregularities produced by the fragmented and complex nature of the electoral process in the United States are common, incidents of deliberate voter fraud are actually quite rare. Based on painstaking research aggregating and sifting through data from a variety of sources, including public records requests to all fifty state governments and the U.S. Justice Department, Minnite contends that voter fraud is in reality a politically constructed myth intended to further complicate the voting process and reduce voter turnout.

She refutes several high-profile charges of alleged voter fraud, such as the assertion that eight of the 9/11 hijackers were registered to vote, and makes the question of voter fraud more precise by distinguishing fraud from the manifold ways in which electoral democracy can be distorted. Effectively disentangling misunderstandings and deliberate distortions from reality, The Myth of Voter Fraud provides rigorous empirical evidence for those fighting to make the electoral process more efficient, more equitable, and more democratic.

After the Rubicon: Congress, Presidents, and the Politics of Waging War
by Douglas L. Kriner. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, c2010. University Library / JK 585 K75 2010.

When the United States goes to war, the nation’s attention focuses on the president. As commander in chief, a president reaches the zenith of power, while Congress is supposedly shunted to the sidelines once troops have been deployed abroad. Because of Congress’s repeated failure to exercise its legislative powers to rein in presidents, many have proclaimed its irrelevance in military matters.

After the Rubicon challenges this conventional wisdom by illuminating the diverse ways in which legislators influence the conduct of military affairs. Douglas L. Kriner reveals that even in politically sensitive wartime environments, individual members of Congress frequently propose legislation, hold investigative hearings, and engage in national policy debates in the public sphere. These actions influence the president’s strategic decisions as he weighs the political costs of pursuing his preferred military course.

Marshalling a wealth of quantitative and historical evidence, Kriner expertly demonstrates the full extent to which Congress materially shapes the initiation, scope, and duration of major military actions and sheds new light on the timely issue of interbranch relations.

Family Politics.jpgFamily Politics: The Idea of Marriage in Modern Political Thought by Scott Yenor. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, c2011. University Library / HQ 518 Y46 2011.

Family Politics traces the treatment of the family in the philosophies of leading political thinkers of the modern world. What is family? What is marriage? In an effort to address contemporary society's disputes over the meanings of these human social institutions, Scott Yenor carefully examines a roster of major and unexpected modern political philosophers--from Locke and Rousseau to Hegel and Marx to Freud and Beauvoir. He lucidly presents how these individuals developed an understanding of family in order to advance their goals of political and social reform. Through this exploration, Yenor unveils the effect of modern liberty on this foundational institution and argues that the quest to pursue individual autonomy has undermined the nature of marriage and jeopardizes its future.

Before Roe v. Wade: Voices that Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court’s Ruling
edited by Linda Greenhouse and Reva Siegel. New York: Kaplan Pub., c2010. Dewey Library / KF 3771 B44 2010.

Perhaps no other court case in history has been discussed as much as Roe v. Wade. Now, for the first time, Before Roe v. Wade presents the most important documents concerning the case, collected in a single volume, in order to shed light on what this infamous case has come to mean in our society.
In this ground breaking book, Linda Greenhouse, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who covered the Supreme Court for 30 years for The New York Times, and Reva Siegel, a Yale law professor, collect the most significant briefs that were presented to the Supreme Court, as well as important documents from the period leading up to the decision, and from the immediate aftermath. The book gives readers a better understanding of the context in which the Court decided the case, who the lawyers were presenting the briefs, and what their arguments focused on. The material collected for this book will reveal that the story of Roe v. Wade is more multi-dimensional than is commonly understood today.

The Tea Party.gifThe Tea Party: A Brief History by Ronald P. Formisano. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012. University Library / JK 2391 T43 F67 2012.

The Tea Party burst on the national political scene in 2009-2010, powered by right-wing grassroots passion and Astroturf big money. Its effect on electoral politics and the political process is undeniable, but the message, aims, and staying power of the loosely organized groups seem less clear. In this concise book, American political historian Ronald P. Formisano probes the remarkable rise of the Tea Party movement during a time of economic crisis and cultural change and examines its powerful impact on American politics.

A confederation of intersecting and overlapping organizations, with a strong connection to the Christian fundamentalist Right, the phenomenon could easily be called the Tea Parties. The American media’s fascination with the Tea Party—and the tendency of political leaders who have embraced the movement to say and do outlandish things—not only has fueled the fire driving the movement, but has diverted attention from its roots, agenda, and the enormous influence it holds over the Republican Party and the American political agenda. Looking at the Tea Party's claims to historical precedent and patriotic values, Formisano locates its anti-state and libertarian impulses deep in American political culture as well as in voter frustrations that have boiled over in recent decades. He sorts through the disparate goals the movement’s different factions espouse and shows that, ultimately, the contradictions of Tea Party libertarianism reflect those ingrained in the broad mass of the electorate.

Who Are the Criminals.jpgWho Are the Criminals?: The Politics of Crime Policy from the Age of Roosevelt to the Age of Reagan by John Hagan
. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, c2010. Dewey Library / HV 6789 H24 2010.

How did the United States go from being a country that tries to rehabilitate street criminals and prevent white-collar crime to one that harshly punishes common lawbreakers while at the same time encouraging corporate crime through a massive deregulation of business? Why do street criminals get stiff prison sentences, a practice that has led to the disaster of mass incarceration, while white-collar criminals, who arguably harm more people, get slaps on the wrist--if they are prosecuted at all? In Who Are the Criminals?, one of America's leading criminologists provides new answers to these vitally important questions by telling how the politicization of crime in the twentieth century transformed and distorted crime policymaking and led Americans to fear street crime too much and corporate crime too little.

John Hagan argues that the recent history of American criminal justice can be divided into two eras--the age of Roosevelt (roughly 1933 to 1973) and the age of Reagan (1974 to 2008). A focus on rehabilitation, corporate regulation, and the social roots of crime in the earlier period was dramatically reversed in the later era. In the age of Reagan, the focus shifted to the harsh treatment of street crimes, especially drug offenses, which disproportionately affected minorities and the poor and resulted in wholesale imprisonment. At the same time, a massive deregulation of business provided new opportunities, incentives, and even rationalizations for white-collar crime--and helped cause the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession.

Blog post created by Cary Gouldin