, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 289–289 | Cite as

Society’s Books of Note

May/June 2019
Society’s Books of Note
Adam B. Seligman and Robert P. Weller, How Things Count as the Same: Memory, Mimesis, and Metaphor. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018. $99.00. 227 pp.

In their third book together, the authors address a seemingly simple question: what counts as the same? Why do we recognize anyone as somehow sharing a common fate with us? Creating sameness and difference leaves us with the perennial problem of how to live with difference instead of seeing it as a threat. The authors suggest that there are multiple ways in which we can count things as the same, and that each of them fosters different kinds of group dynamics and different sets of benefits and risks for the creation of plural societies.

Marlene K. Sokolon and Travis D. Smith, eds., Flattering the Demos: Fiction and Democratic Education. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2018. $90.00. 176 pp.

Nine contributors reflect on the relationship between politics and storytelling, especially within the democratic context. Examples are drawn from the ancient and modern worlds — from ancient Greek tragedy and Shakespeare to television, science fiction, and comic books — in order to examine the relationship between the philosophical and the poetical. What role should literature play in educating a population?

Anthony Abraham Jack, The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges are Failing Disadvantaged Students. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2019. $27.95. 276 pp.

The author contends that the struggles of less privileged students continue long after they have arrived on elite campuses. He documents how university policies and cultures can exacerbate preexisting inequalities and reveals why these policies hit some students harder than others. He offers practical advice to help schools address hidden disadvantages that will enable more students to succeed.

Nigel Shadbolt and Roger Hampson, The Digital Ape: How to Live (in Peace) with Smart Machines. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019. $18.99. 354 pp.

The authors outline how our choices and the use and adaptation of the tools we’ve created can lead to opportunities for the environment (both built and natural), health and our security. Drawing on historical precedent and technical know-how, the authors offer a vision of the future that they argue is exciting, rather than nerve-wracking, to contemplate.

Yuir Contreras-Vejar, Joanna Tice Jen, and Bryan S. Turner, eds., Regimes of Happiness: Comparative and Historical Studies. London: Anthem Press, 2019. $115.00. 256 pp.

This edited collection of fifteen chapters is a comparative and historical analysis of how human societies have articulated and enacted distinctive notions of human fulfillment, determining divergent moral, ethical and religious traditions, and incommensurate and conflicting understanding of the meaning of the “good life”. It examines both Western and non-Westerns societies as well as non-Christian religions’ ideals of human perfection.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

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