Book Review

Looking For A Few Good Book Reviewers

Editor’s Note: This post is intended to bring attention to the exciting new direction of the Book Review section of the S-USIH blog. Make sure to check out some of our recent posts based off of panels and plenary sessions from this year’s Society of US Intellectual History Conference.–Robert Greene II, Blogger and Book Review Editor.

The Society for US Intellectual History is undergoing a revamping of our book review section. The book review section has been a fantastic place for discussion on some of the biggest works in recent US Intellectual History. Now, we are looking for some fresh perspectives from you who have expertize in a wide range of topics and periods. In short, we’re hoping you can help us by contributing your voice to our blog.

For years, the S-USIH blog has offered a place for conversation about the state of US Intellectual History. The book review section is a unique place on the web—and in the overall sphere of book reviewing—in that it offers a place of dialogue among like-minded intellectual historians.

At this year’s US Intellectual History conference, we offered participants an opportunity to apply as book reviewers. We greatly appreciate all those who filled out reviewer applications! For those who did not attend or missed the opportunity, the application is now available in the book reviews section of this blog. Please download and return the form to us!

We have provided a list of books that we’d like reviewed and are continually adding new titles. However, we also welcome your suggestions of books for review. Keep in mind that we’re currently trying to get more recent works (those published in 2013 or 2014) reviewed. Take a look at our booklist, fill out the application, and help us become the go to website for U.S. intellectual history reviews.

In the future, you can expect to see more roundtables, an element of the USIH blog that has become a treasured tradition. We’ll do roundtables for new works, but also for classic, established works in intellectual history. This will foster discussion about the trajectory of our field while posing the question, “What do such works say to us today?” In both cases, we’ll bring in both current bloggers, members of our audience, and historians from elsewhere. This is part of the S-USIH’s drive to work alongside other established history media outlets and initiatives.

The book review team is also seeking to expand the types of books we review. The field of intellectual history is more broad and diverse than ever. As an example, consider the winner and finalist for the 2014 S-USIH book award. Ajay Mehrota’s Making the Modern American State, the book award winner, and Raul Coronado’s A World Not to Come, which received honorable mention, are two very different, but both excellent, examples of intellectual history. Our goal is to expand the scope—not just in terms of the number of books, but also subject matter. Gender, history of science, and transnational history are just some of the many sub-fields of intellectual history we want to further explore. Also, from time to time we’ll take a look at books in other fields of history and the humanities, and pose the question, what can these books offer to intellectual historians? In this way, we seek to enter conversations not only with intellectual historians, but to engage a multitude of scholars across the humanities. There is much talk about interdisciplinary work; we have the opportunity here at S-USIH to embody that very very ideal.

I hope you’ll join me, Lilian Barger, and Andrew Seal as we gratefully take the reins from Mary Ellen Lennon, and move forward to making the USIH book review section a valuable resource for scholars. If you want to know more, we’ve provided reviewer guidelines. If you have more questions, feel free to contact us at either [email protected] or [email protected].

More is planned in coming year—and, of course, if you have any suggestions, we’re more than happy to hear from you.