Public Affairs
Thursday, December 30, 7:00 pm

Public Affairs Book Group meets the 4th Monday each month at 7:00 p.m. The book group is now meeting online--for details please contact judytaylor2011@gmail.com

 

 

 

HOW TO HIDE AN EMPIRE, by Immerwahr NOTE: Meeting Online

Public Affairs
Monday, March 28, 7:00 pm

Public Affairs Book Group meets the 4th Monday each month at 7:00 p.m. The book group is now meeting online--for details please contact judytaylor2011@gmail.com

How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States Cover Image

How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States (Paperback)

$20.00


Backordered

Named one of the ten best books of the year by the Chicago Tribune
A Publishers Weekly best book of 2019 | A 2019 NPR Staff Pick

A pathbreaking history of the United States’ overseas possessions and the true meaning of its empire


We are familiar with maps that outline all fifty states. And we are also familiar with the idea that the United States is an “empire,” exercising power around the world. But what about the actual territories—the islands, atolls, and archipelagos—this country has governed and inhabited?

In How to Hide an Empire, Daniel Immerwahr tells the fascinating story of the United States outside the United States. In crackling, fast-paced prose, he reveals forgotten episodes that cast American history in a new light. We travel to the Guano Islands, where prospectors collected one of the nineteenth century’s most valuable commodities, and the Philippines, site of the most destructive event on U.S. soil. In Puerto Rico, Immerwahr shows how U.S. doctors conducted grisly experiments they would never have conducted on the mainland and charts the emergence of independence fighters who would shoot up the U.S. Congress.

In the years after World War II, Immerwahr notes, the United States moved away from colonialism. Instead, it put innovations in electronics, transportation, and culture to use, devising a new sort of influence that did not require the control of colonies. Rich with absorbing vignettes, full of surprises, and driven by an original conception of what empire and globalization mean today, How to Hide an Empire is a major and compulsively readable work of history.

Daniel Immerwahr is associate professor of history at Northwestern University and author of Thinking Small: The United State and the Lure of Community Development, which won the Organization of American Historians’ Merle Curti Prize. He has written for N+1, Slate, Dissent, and other publications.
Product Details ISBN: 9781250251091
ISBN-10: 1250251095
Publisher: Picador
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2020
Pages: 528
Language: English

"To call this standout book a corrective would make it sound earnest and dutiful, when in fact it is wry, readable and often astonishing. Immerwahr knows that the material he presents is serious, laden with exploitation and violence, but he also knows how to tell a story, highlighting the often absurd space that opened up between expansionist ambitions and ingenuous self-regard . . . It’s a testament to Immerwahr’s considerable storytelling skills that I found myself riveted by his sections on Hoover’s quest for standardized screw threads, wondering what might happen next." —Jennifer Szalai, New York Times

"[Immerwahr's] book is written in 22 brisk chapters, full of lively characters, dollops of humor, and surprising facts . . . It entertains and means to do so. But its purpose is quite serious: to shift the way that people think about American history . . . Immerwahr convincingly argues that . . . the United States replaced colonies with chemistry,' and partially 'substituted technology for territory.' It is a powerful and illuminating economic argument . . . the book succeeds in its core goal: to recast American history as a history of the 'Greater United States.' . . . deserves a wide audience, and it should find one." —Patrick Iber, The New Republic

“[How to Hide an Empire] is full of pop-culture references and interesting anecdotes that challenge common sense. Immerwahr’s point is not to condemn empire but to explain it. And by doing so, he helps us better understand American foreign and military policy in the present—and the future . . . At its best, Immerwahr’s book describes not only a forgotten history but a history of forgetting itself.” —Adrian Chen, New York

"Consistently both startling and absorbing . . . Immerwahr vividly retells the early formation of the [United States], the consolidation of its overseas territory, and the postwar perfection of its 'pointillist' global empire, which extends influence through a vast constellation of tiny footprints." Harper's

"[Immerwahr] writes in the manner of an entertaining and informative lecturer who cannot wait to tell the class his latest discovery from the archives . . . Gore Vidal was fond of referring to Imperial America, and not in an approving way. Were he alive to read this book he would probably endorse it, perhaps only regretting that he had not written it himself." —James Michael, Times Literary Supplement

"How to Hide an Empire takes you on a whirlwind tour of the islands and territories the U.S. has governed from the 19th century on. It draws you in with smartly weaved, gripping stories and constructs an impressively expansive tale of America’s global conquests. Manifest destiny takes on a whole new meaning. Simmering beneath all these stories is a powerful throughline: As classic colonialism was being fazed out in the 20th century, a new, more covert form of empire-building set in – with the U.S. at the forefront. It’s not a stretch to say that this book will make you think about American history in a new way." —Ramtin Arablouei, NPR

"A richly detailed, thoroughly researched history . . . the author engagingly depicts the nations' conquests . . . Immerwahr animates the narrative with a lively cast of characters . . . A vivid recounting of imperial America's shameful past." —Kirkus (Starred Review)

"There are many histories of American expansionism. How to Hide an Empire renders them all obsolete. It is brilliantly conceived, utterly original, and immensely entertaining — simultaneously vivid, sardonic and deadly serious." —Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Twilight of the American Century

"How to Hide an Empire is a breakthrough, for both Daniel Immerwahr and our collective understanding of America’s role in the world. His narrative of the rise of our colonial empire outside North America, and then our surprising pivot from colonization to globalization after World War II, is enthralling in the telling — and troubling for anyone pondering our nation’s past and future. The result is a book for citizens and scholars alike." —Samuel Moyn, author of Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal Age

"This book changes our understanding of the fundamental character of the United States as a presence in world history. By focusing on the processes by which Americans acquired, controlled, and were affected by territory, Daniel Immerwahr shows that the United States was not just another 'empire,' but was a highly distinctive one the dimensions of which have been largely ignored." —David A. Hollinger, author of Protestants Abroad: How Missionaries Tried to Change the World but Changed America

“Historian Immerwahr argues in this substantial work that . . . for more than two centuries the U.S. has been . . . a kind of empire . . . made up of territories . . . barely acknowledged in popular conceptions of the country . . . This insightful, excellent book, with its new perspective on an element of American history that is almost totally excluded from mainstream education and knowledge, should be required reading for those on the mainland." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"President Jefferson imagined an 'Empire of Liberty' . . . [but] Immerwahr illustrates how American territorial expansion included control over and governance of millions of Spanish speakers and various Indian tribes who had to be forcefully subdued . . . a useful and informative work, since many of these overseas territories remain under our governance." Booklist

"In How to Hide an Empire, Immerwahr chronicles the history of . . . ‘large colonies and pinprick islands’. The result is a whimsical-serious work: a deft disquisition on America, and America in the world, with a raconteur’s touch and keen sense of the absurd." Stephen Phillips, The Spectator

"Immerwahr peppers his account with colourful characters and enjoyable anecdotes. This tale of territorial empire, he suggests, throws light on the histories of everything from the Beatles to Godzilla, the birth-control pill to the transistor radio." The Economist



BETRAYING BIG BROTHER: FEMINIST AWAKENING IN CHINA, by Fincher NOTE: Meeting Online

Public Affairs
Monday, February 28, 7:00 pm

Public Affairs Book Group meets the 4th Monday each month at 7 p.m. The book group is now meeting online--for details please contact judytaylor2011@gmail.com 

Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China Cover Image

Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China (Paperback)

$19.95


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
1 on hand, as of Jan 26 1:20pm
Politics and Prose at Union Market
1 on hand, as of Jan 26 2:33pm
A feminist movement clashing with China’s authoritarian government. Featured in the Washington Post and the New York Times.

On the eve of International Women’s Day in 2015, the Chinese government arrested five feminist activists and jailed them for thirty-seven days. The Feminist Five became a global cause célèbre, with Hillary Clinton speaking out on their behalf and activists inundating social media with #FreetheFive messages. But the Five are only symbols of a much larger feminist movement of civil rights lawyers, labor activists, performance artists, and online warriors prompting an unprecedented awakening among China’s educated, urban women. In Betraying Big Brother, journalist and scholar Leta Hong Fincher argues that the popular, broad-based movement poses the greatest challenge to China’s authoritarian regime today.

Through interviews with the Feminist Five and other leading Chinese activists, Hong Fincher illuminates both the difficulties they face and their “joy of betraying Big Brother,” as one of the Feminist Five wrote of the defiance she felt during her detention. Tracing the rise of a new feminist consciousness now finding expression through the #MeToo movement, and describing how the Communist regime has suppressed the history of its own feminist struggles, Betraying Big Brother is a story of how the movement against patriarchy could reconfigure China and the world.

Leta Hong Fincher is a journalist and scholar who has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, Ms. Magazine, the BBC and CNN. She is the author of Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China.

Product Details ISBN: 9781786633651
ISBN-10: 1786633655
Publisher: Verso
Publication Date: April 27th, 2021
Pages: 256
Language: English
“In clear, concise chapters, Fincher, whose previous books include Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China, lays out the origins of the movement and its exponential growth, as well as the Chinese government’s violent attempts to extinguish it. The US president may be walloping China via trade war, but Leta Hong Fincher argues that the most existential threat to Xi Jinping’s regime comes from within.”
—Claire Landsbaum, Vanity Fair

“Hong Fincher explains that far from a small movement on the fringes of Chinese society, feminism is on the rise, from the burgeoning and ongoing #MeToo movement, to increasing calls for protections for survivors of domestic violence … to protests against workplace discrimination.”
—Esther Wang, Jezebel

“In Betraying Big Brother, journalist Leta Hong Fincher examines the feminist movement that’s rising in mainland China, and explores how the Feminist Five continue to covertly educate other women to confront and resist the country’s sexist policies.”
—Evette Dionne, Bitch Media

“A vital and necessary book in a world hostile to women and girls. Leta Hong Fincher’s account of a powerful network of activists is a foundational text on feminism in contemporary China, rich with scholarship and a grasp of history. It is a book to inspire and to guide all of us who insist on fighting the patriarchy globally.”
—Mona Eltahawy, author of Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution

“A deeply affecting book … Hong Fincher’s vivid, blow-by-blow account of the women’s experiences is a valuable work of journalism, and she offers interesting evidence of a wider feminist awakening.”
—Susan Greenhalgh and Xiying Wang, Foreign Affairs

“A provocative, sharp-edged account of Beijing’s push to cajole women to marry and fix the country’s sagging birth rates. A must-read for students of feminism.”
—Mei Fong, author of One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment

“Writing with rigor, passion, and indignation, Hong Fincher introduces a group of Chinese feminist activists who refuse to be intimidated by China’s powerful patriarchal state. Offering a detailed account of the women’s critiques of increasing gender inequality in China, Betraying Big Brother is a singular account of a Chinese—and now global—movement that will not be silenced”
—Rebecca E. Karl, author of Mao Zedong and China in the Twentieth Century

“In her sprawling and detailed recent book, Betraying Big Brother, Fincher aims to tell the story of the women’s rights movement in China through their saga. Fincher bases her narrative on interviews with [the Feminist Five] and their allies, while supporting their stories with deep research into the roots of the government’s crackdown on feminism.”
Bookforum

“In Betraying Big Brother, Leta Hong Fincher unlocks a fundamental truth: the subjugation of women is a key feature of authoritarian power. But in telling the harrowing story of the detention of China’s Feminist Five, she may also have discovered the strongman’s Achilles’ Heel: a broad-based feminist movement poses an existential threat to a patriarchal state.”
—Rebecca MacKinnon, author of Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom

“In her vivid and comprehensive work on China’s emerging feminist movement, Leta Hong Fincher explores the coming of age of a generation of young activists in an authoritarian state increasingly hostile to social protest. A must-read for all seeking to understand China’s feminist activists, hear their voices, and experience the day-to-day reality of their lives.”
—Carl Minzner, author of End of an Era: How China’s Authoritarian Revival Is Undermining Its Rise

“In Hong Fincher’s estimation, the official hostility toward feminists in China as part of a global rise of authoritarianism and backsliding of democracy will affect not only China’s women but its economic future and will have worldwide repercussions. This is a fascinating and earnest book.”
—Publisher’s Weekly

Betraying Big Brother shows how the [feminist] movement has risen on social media and taken root abroad and in cities like Guangzhou. Hong Fincher argues that the Chinese Communist Party relies on patriarchal crackdowns for its post-Soviet survival—and, further, that ‘anyone concerned about rising authoritarianism globally needs to pay attention to what is happening in China.’”
Harvard Magazine

“Brings the clash between China’s grassroots women’s movement and the state’s manipulation of women to life. Hong Fincher explores the struggles of young feminist activists who are detained and vilified for seemingly innocuous campaigns—handing out stickers warning against sexual harassment on public transport, or parading through the streets in soiled wedding dresses to protest domestic violence … A pertinent primer for anyone who wants to understand the aftermath of China’s one-child policy, and the country’s fledgling feminist movement.”
—Katrina Hamlin, Reuters

“In 2015, five young Chinese women—‘The Feminist Five’—were arrested for planning a public protest against sexual harassment. Through interviews with them, Fincher explores the origin and growth of China’s feminist movement—a greater threat to the Communist country, she argues, than President Trump's trade war.”
Newsweek

“Fincher focuses on the history of a small group of female activists known as the Feminist Five , who have been hounded by the authorities for innocuous acts such as trying to hand out stickers on International Women’s Day. She argues persuasively that the activism the five awakened is already challenging the authoritarian state, with more and more women taking control of their bodies and rejecting ‘China’s patriarchal institutions of compulsory marriage and child-rearing.”
—Keith B. Richburg, Washington Post

“Through interviews with China’s famous Feminist Five, arrested in 2015 on orders of the Chinese government, and other leading Chinese activists Hong Fincher draws a portrait of the modern Chinese feminist movement and its pushback against interpersonal, governmental and digital control over their lives.”
Autostraddle

"[Fincher] argues that misogyny is at the core of China's authoritarian regime and that a feminist movement, if not suppressed, could prove to be the country's 'most transformative movement.'”
– Emily Steel, New York Times Book Review

“Leta is one of the leading voices on feminism in China. This book puts into perspective the role of women in China - and what the future holds for them.”
– Foreign Policy Interrupted

“Hong Fincher makes a provocative and persuasive argument about the significance of the feminist movement in China, asserting that it is already a political wave the likes of which China has not seen since 1989. The potential mobilizing power of contemporary feminist activism speaks directly to Chinese leaders' not-entirely-illogical paranoia about well-networked social movements.”
– Emily Walz, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Leta Hong Fincher's Betraying Big Brother captures the irony of having an international day dedicated to women's rights when governments across the world work at stifling those rights. Fincher interviews the five arrested Chinese women after their 37-day-long detainment, and discovers how a surveillance state tried to stamp out feminism, even though the women forged their politics through personal experiences with domestic, sexual, and, later, police violence.”
– Nishita Jha, BuzzFeed News

“A necessary read to understand the role of women in Chinese society and why the feminist movement may be one of the few social movements to overcome the Chinese government’s persecution.”
—Elizabeth M. Lynch, China Law and Policy

Pages