JHU Press Blog

The Best Laid Plans: A Discussion of American Grand Strategy with Ionut Popescu

by eea | Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 2:31 PM

Henry Kissinger once wrote, “In retrospect all successful policies seem preordained. Leaders like to claim prescience for what has worked, ascribing to planning what usually starts as a series of improvisations.” And yet, discussions of American Grand Strategy, both in Washington and in academia, often take for granted that following a long-term design is a key to success. Policymakers are usually criticized when they take seemingly incremental actions based on short-term considerations. But could such actions actually converge into a successful emergent strategy over time? Such a view is prevalent in the business world, where the idea of a successful Emergent Strategy is not as uncommon as it is in the field of security studies. When one examines key policies and strategies adopted by US presidents over the past seventy years, as I do in this book, the relation between following a coherent long-term grand strategy and achieving success in foreign policy is much more tenuous than commonly assumed.

There is a narrative inside Washington that credits American diplomat George Kennan with designing a Containment grand strategy that successfully guided America to victory in the Cold War, but this view is grounded more on myth than historical evidence....Read More

Make Your Voice Heard in 2017's Town Square: Tips to Effectively Participate in the Twitter Conversation

by eea | Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 10:22 AM

Johns Hopkins University Press is excited to continue participating in the AAUP's #UPWeek. Today JHUP's Editorial Director, Greg Britton, writes about the most effective use of Twitter in the scholarly sphere #ReadUP.

Few social media platforms have had the moment Twitter seems to be having. It has become our town square, street corner, or Roman forum. For those new to Twitter, it can seem cacophonous, a schizophrenic news crawl. Everyone declaims. With a sitting president so willing to use it in the early morning hours to issue offhanded comments and policy pronouncements, watching Twitter has become essential.

For scholars, however, Twitter offers a unique chance to connect with your peers, other readers, and a larger public audience. It can be a conduit to work being done in your field and an informal way to communicate with each other. As an acquisitions editor, I look at Twitter as one of the ways I stay connected with hundreds of scholars. It is also a place I watch for potential authors. In addition to other qualities, I know that writers who are engaged with their communities, ones who have a platform for promoting their ideas, will succeed. As a...Read More

The Ivy Bookshop: Selling the Facts and Serving the Community

by eea | Monday, November 6, 2017 - 11:48 AM

The Ivy Bookshop

This fall, one of the The Ivy Bookshop’s top titles might surprise you. It’s not a hot new novel from a best-selling author. It’s not a celebrity memoir. No, it’s Baltimore: A Political History , by Matthew Crenson, published by the Johns Hopkins University Press. A thick work of accessible scholarship, Baltimore: A Political History isn’t a book that just any press would’ve published. Its audience is highly specific – political science, urban studies, or history departments, and, well, the City of Baltimore. Because we can report: Baltimore wanted this book. Scratch that: Baltimore needed this book. On its publication date, people streamed into the shop to grab it from the topmost, center shelf. And it was Johns Hopkins Press that put it there —comprehensively written, attentively edited, and beautifully produced.

University presses have a mission to serve the public good. Independent bookstores do too. We both need to sell books, yes, but that’s not why we exist. We exist to provide cultural and intellectual connection within communities, whether they be academic, interest-driven, or geographic. We work to deliver ideas to people...Read More

Great Pilots and Great Machines: A Look into Steven Fino's Book "Tiger Check"

by eea | Monday, November 6, 2017 - 9:00 AM

In early 1952, LIFE magazine published an eight-page, illustrated spread charting the remarkable transformation in American military aviation. In less than four decades, the fabric-covered, propeller-powered biplanes that once tussled over the Western front had given way to the sleek, jet-powered fighters battling over the Korean peninsula in a sliver of sky known as MiG Alley. The older fighters, the editors at LIFE explained, were “simply a flying gun platform.” The newer fighters, however, came crammed full of American technological ingenuity, which would soon allow the human pilot to use the “electronic ‘brain’” of his aircraft to aim futuristic, rocket-powered missiles. The editors believed that this technological transformation would demand a corresponding metamorphosis of the human pilot operator. They captioned their illustrations, “Fighters: Aces to Flying Scientists.”

Indeed, change was afoot, and the fighter pilots knew it. They had been lured into the air service with imagery of gallant knights and headlines trumpeting derring-do individualism, but the newly emerging gunsights, radars, and guided weapons now threatened to subordinate the historic role of the heroic pilot. One cartoon published in the fighter pilots’ professional journal in 1959 reflected the pilots’ apprehensions. In it, a decrepit troglodyte cowers inside a small...Read More

Behind the Book: Peter Charles Hoffer Discusses his Motivations for Writing "John Quincy Adams and the Gag Rule"

by eea | Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 5:00 PM

I wrote this book because I wanted to teach how slavery infected every part of the national government. The term, the "slave power," was not just anti-southern rhetoric; it was the description of something very real. The most surprising thing I learned during the research for this book was how much of the national legislature's time was taken up in the attempt to suppress what was, at the time, a relatively minor political movement. Abolitionism was loud but few in the North and fewer in the South really believed that slavery could be ended in their lifetimes. But southern members of Congress and their allies in the North were petrified by the prospect. Their effort to prevent the reading of anti-slavery petitions was more vituperative than I had imagined. What this book brings to the scholarly discussion of slavery that is new, I hope, is the way that the gag-rule debates turned national politics from party to section; that is, from political party alignments that stretched across the North and the South to alignments that were almost entirely sectional--and this over a decade earlier than we thought. One could almost see secession approaching in the late 1830s. I hope my...Read More

Reformation History Comes Alive

by bjs | Tuesday, October 31, 2017 - 6:00 AM

To celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation on Oct. 31, 2017, the journal Lutheran Quarterly has created a virtual timeline to highlight seminal works from the journal’s pages on significant events in the history of the Lutheran Church worldwide. The Rev. Dr. Martin Lohrmann from Wartburg Theological Seminary - also the webmaster for the journal - talked to us about the creation of the timeline and how it can be used by scholars worldwide.

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Journal Celebrates Reformation Anniversary

by bjs | Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 2:33 PM

At the end of October, Lutherans around the world will mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Lutheran Quarterly will commemorate this milestone with a look back at the importance of Luther's actions and what has followed.

First, the journal has created a historical timeline of important events since Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

Articles from the journal over the years help provide context to the significance of these events. Please explore the timeline to see the impact that rippled throughout over the past 500 years.

The journal has also released a video interview (below) with The Reverend Dr. Timothy J. Wengert, Professor Emeritus at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, where he shares insights on the Protestant Reformation.

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Explaining Civil Society Development: What are the “Social Origins of Civil Society?”

by krm | Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Over the past 25 years, the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies the Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project generated a powerful body of new systematic comparative data on the scope and structure of the nonprofit, or civil society, sector in more than 40 countries scattered widely around the world. Now, in a new book entitled Explaining Civil Society Development: A Social Origins Approach , authors Lester Salamon, Wojciech Sokolowski, and Megan Haddock draw on this sizable body of new data to test a variety of theories about what causes what turn out to be a number of intriguing puzzles that this research surfaced.

Why is it, for example, that the paid workforce of the civil society sector in Belgium stands at a whopping 10% of the country’s effective workforce but only 2.5% in Sweden, even though these two countries are at roughly similar levels of development? Why does government account for 65% of nonprofit revenue in Germany and only 36% in nearby Italy? And how is it that the overall size and shape of the civil society sector in Mexico is virtually...Read More

Behind the Book: Playboys and Mayfair Men

by krm | Monday, October 9, 2017 - 6:00 AM

At about 4:20 on the afternoon of December 20, 1937, Henrietta Gordon, a housemaid at the luxurious Hyde Park Hotel in London’s West End, heard some unusual noises—like something being smashed—coming from room 305. She alerted Enrico Laurenti, a waiter, who detected what he thought sounded like “muffled laughing.” Concerned that something was amiss, they knocked. When they received no response Laurenti used his master key to get in. He was shocked to find a large man lying on his back in a pool of blood. The maid thought he was dead, but he soon revived, crying out, with a distinct French accent, “Help, help! They’ve got my rings.”

I came across this dramatic scene several years ago when trolling through the British tabloids of the 1930s in search of a new research topic. I was initially puzzled to read that a gang of playboys had attacked a jeweler with a “life preserver.” For Americans, a life preserver (or life jacket) was a floatation device. In 1930s Britain it also meant a truncheon or what North Americans called a “blackjack” — a short club, heavily loaded with a lead weight at one end and a strap or lanyard at...Read More

Examining the International Standard Book Number

by krm | Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 6:00 AM

We use ISBNs daily, but did you know that just looking at one will tell you where a book was published and by whom? This is a simple look at the International Standard Book Number (ISBN). This global system works for publishers from Australia to Zimbabwe.

Dissecting an ISBN There are five parts to an ISBN:

Prefix: 978 is the prefix that came into use when the standard switched from 10 digits to 13 digits in 2005. When 978s run out, the prefix will become 979.

Registration group element: The second part is a group or country identifier. For example, English-speaking countries start with 0 or 1, French-speaking areas start with 2, German-speaking areas start with 3, Japan starts with 4, and so on. There is a complete list of country identifiers here: http://www.isbn-international.org/en/identifiers/allidentifiers.html .

Registrant element: This set of numbers identifies the publisher who purchased the block of ISBNs.

Publication element: This group of numbers identifies a specific book.

Check digit: Finally there is a single check digit, which validates the ISBN.

ISBN FUN FACTS The first ISBNs were...Read More