Monday, September 22, 2008

What is J.B. Shank reading?

The current featured contributor to Writers Read: J.B. Shank, an associate professor of history at the University of Minnesota and the author of The Newton Wars and the Beginning of the French Enlightenment.

One book on his recent reading list:
Thomas Frank's new book The Wrecking Crew. This is the third installment in what is an evolving critique of the "New Right" that has overtaken American politics since the late 1970s. Frank's first two books were One Market Under God and What's the Matter with Kansas?, and while I continue to hope that Frank will someday turn his attention toward explaining why the movements that he so brilliantly describes had the power that they did (he treats the development as a kind of mass delusion), his neo-muckraking style (H.L. Mencken is his idol, but he is also a child of the post-Hunter S. Thompson generation) provides the perfect antidote to the on-going absurdities of Fox News and "Red America" political discourse. Indeed, put Frank's three books together and you have the perfect hermeneutic for interpreting every dimension of the Sarah Palin phenomenon. [read on]
Read more about The Newton Wars and the Beginning of the French Enlightenment at the University of Chicago Press website.

Learn more about J.B. Shank's work at his faculty webpage.

Writers Read: J.B. Shank.

--Marshal Zeringue