Bookshelf

From Washington politics to Wittgenstein philosophy: new books by Oxy authors

Deeply Divided: Racial Politics and Social Movements in Post-War America, by Doug McAdam '73 & Karina Kloos (Oxford University Press; $29.95). By many measures, the United States has not been more divided politically or economically in the last 100 years than it is now. The bipartisan cooperation and relative economic equality of the war years and post-war period are gone, replaced by extreme inequality and savage partisan divisions. In Deeply Divided—a sweeping look at American politics from the Depression to the present—McAdam and Kloos trace the roots of political polarization and economic inequality back to the shifting racial geography of American politics in the 1960s. Angered by President Lyndon Johnson's embrace of civil rights reform in 1964, Southern Dixiecrats abandoned the Democrats for the first time ever, setting in motion a sustained regional realignment that would serve as the electoral foundation for a resurgent and increasingly conservative Republican Party—culminating in today's tug of war between the Tea Party and Republican establishment for control of the GOP. McAdam is professor of sociology at Stanford University.

One Bullet, by Ted Wight '64 (CreateSpace; $19.99). One bullet fired from an assassin's rifle breaks open a window of opportunity for Donald Cargo, a once idealistic kid from Washington state who is now president of the United States. In the aftermath of the assassination of a Supreme Court justice, Cargo's visions of grandeur blow out of proportion—and German-born billionaire Max Ramm is eager to bankroll the president's dream of transforming democracy into a dictatorship. One Bullet explores the ability of power to corrupt a system and drive an individual to madness. A retired venture capitalist, Wight lives in Seattle.

Stripes of All Types/Rayas de todas las tallas, by Susan Stockdale '76 (Peachtree Publishers; $15.95). This bilingual English/Spanish picture book gives young readers rhythmic, colorful facts about the many reasons stripes are found in nature; as an educational component, the book's glossary offers information about each featured animal and provides a matching pattern game. Stripes of All Types was selected for the 2014 Pennsylvania One Book, Every Young Child Reading Initiative, which distributed 70,000 copies across the Keystone State. A studio art major at Oxy, Stockdale lives in Chevy Chase, Md., and spoke about her process at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., on August 30. Her next project, due in April, is a companion book about spotted animals titled Spectacular Spots.

Wittgenstein Within the Philosophy of Religion, by Thomas D. Carroll '92 (Palgrave Macmillan; $95). The commonly held view that Wittgensteinian philosophy of religion entails an irrationalist defense of religion known as fideism loses plausibility when contrasted with recent scholarship on the Austrian-British philosopher (1889-1951). Carroll reevaluates the place of Wittgenstein in the philosophy of religion and charts a path forward for the subfield by advancing three themes: 1) that philosophers of religion should question received interpretations of philosophers, such as Wittgenstein, as well as the meanings of key terms used in interpretations, such as fideism; 2) that Wittgenstein's philosophy pursues a particular end—a searching clarity or perspicuity; and 3) that with the rise of various religious movements within societies and around the world in recent decades, philosophy of religion has important tasks in clarifying global conversations on living well amid human diversities and contemplating philosophy as a vocation. Carroll is professor of philosophy at Xing Wei College in Shanghai.