- Reviewed Elsewhere
Contributing reviewers Nell Altizer, Patricia Angley, Alana Bell, Janet Butler, Michael Fassiotto, Lars Fischer, Marie-Christine Garneau, Théo Garneau, Douglas Hilt, Gabriel Merle, Barbara Bennett Peterson, and Yvonne Ward provided the excerpts for this issue.
Publications reviewed include The Age, Australian Book Review, Church History, Contemporary British History, Cultural Critique, English Historical Review, French Studies, (Toronto) Globe and Mail, Journal of Classical Sociology, Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, Journal of Slavic Military Studies, Libraries and the Cultural Record, Le Monde des Livres, Music and Letters, The New Yorker, New York Review of Books (NYRB), New York Times Book Review (NYTBR), Ohio History, Opera News, Pacific Historical Review, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Russian Review, Sewanee Review, Studi Francesi, Technology and Culture, Victorian Studies, and the Women’s Review of Books.
The Family File. Mark Aarons. Melbourne: Black, 2010. 346 pp. $Au34.95.
“The Family File . . . captures . . . what it was like to grow up in Australia’s best-known communist family during a period of Stalinist excesses. . . . Aarons has a great story to tell, but . . . it rarely reaches the point of revelation. . . . Perhaps one should blame his sources . . . the largest collection of ASIO [Australian Security Intelligence Organisation] files ever made available. . . . Aaron’s great-grandparents joined the Communist Party of Australia on its inception in 1921. His grandfather, father, mother, uncle and brother were central figures until its final dissolution in 1991. His great-grandmother was the first Australian woman to attend a May Day parade in Moscow. . . . His grandfather, Sam, served in the Spanish Civil War. . . . Had Aarons set out to tell the story of four generations of radicals, and the sheer oddity of suburban Australians jumping to follow the changing whims of revolution as dictated from Moscow, he could have written a genuine Australian saga. . . . But . . . he . . . interpose[s] chunks of larger history, and . . . follow[s] the largely unsuccessful attempts of Australian security to chart these activities, [and] the narrative flow is sometimes lost. . . . [T]he book seems most alive once Mark recounts his own role in leftist politics.”
Dennis Altman. Australian Book Review 324 (Sept. 2010): 25–26.
Theodor W. Adorno: One Last Genius. Detlev Claussen. Trans. Rodney Livingstone. Cambridge: Belknap/Harvard UP, 2008. 440 pp. $35.00.
“The English translation of Detlev Claussen’s Theodor W. Adorno: One Last [End Page 871] Genius makes a valuable contribution to Adorno’s reception in the Anglo-American academy as an exemplary philosopher and sociologist of late modernity. . . . [T]his intellectual biography explores the many private and public narratives of Adorno’s scholarly life: from his coming-of-age in Weimar Germany, to his exile in California, and his eventual return to a postwar Germany. As Adorno’s former student and a distinguished sociologist at the University of Hanover, Claussen brings both personal perspective and scholarly expertise to this work. . . . Claussen’s biography [is] rigorously researched, deftly argued, and finely translated by Rodney Livingstone. It implores us—both inside and outside of the academy—to keep alive the promesse du bonheur that is imbedded within Adorno’s philosophical and sociological critique.”
Mirko M. Hall. Cultural Critique 75 (2010): 186–90.
Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and his Rendezvous with American History. Yunte Huang. New York: Norton, 2010. 384 pp. $26.95.
“Yunte Huang, who grew up in China, went to graduate school in the United States, taught at Harvard for a while, and now teaches American Literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara, confesses, abashedly, to being a Chan fan: ‘Sometimes late at night, I turn on the TV and a Chinaman falls out. He is hilarious.’ Most interesting.”
Jill Lepore. The New Yorker, Aug. 9, 2010: 70–74.
Chan “alone persists in people’s memories as an easily identified popularculture icon, a status attested to by . . . ‘Charlie Chan,’ a capacious, somewhat baggy but always entertaining book about Chan and all the factors that account for his longevity. Before Huang is done, we have been treated to a vast gaggle of material about Chan’s creator, Earl Derr Biggers; Honolulu (where Chan was normally a police...