PUP News of the World, April 18, 2014


Each week we post a round-up of some of our most exciting national and international PUP book coverage. Reviews, interviews, events, articles–this is the spot for coverage of all things “PUP books” that took place in the last week. Enjoy!

k10177In today’s world, economic instability seems commonplace, but does it have to be? What are the key factors contributing to this problem and how do they vary between countries? Fragile by Design demonstrates that chronic banking crises and scarce credit are not accidents due to unforeseen circumstances. Rather, these fluctuations result from the complex bargains made between politicians, bankers, bank shareholders, depositors, debtors, and taxpayers. The well-being of banking systems depends on the abilities of political institutions to balance and limit how coalitions of these various groups influence government regulations.

Fragile by Design is a revealing exploration of the ways that politics inevitably intrudes into bank regulation. Charles Calomiris and Stephen Haber combine political history and economics to examine how coalitions of politicians, bankers, and other interest groups form, why some endure while others are undermined, and how they generate policies that determine who gets to be a banker, who has access to credit, and who pays for bank bailouts and rescues.

The book was recently reviewed in the New York Times Book Review, where the reviewer said,

“Brilliant….[I]f you are looking for a rich history of banking over the last couple of centuries and the role played by politics in that evolution, there is no better study. It deserves to become a classic.”

― Liaquat Ahamed, New York Times Book Review

Fragile by Design was also mentioned in another article for the New York Times  found here.

Beyond the New York Times, Fragile by Design was mentioned in a piece by the AEI Ideas blog by economic writer James Pethokoukis. You can find that article here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the economy and what makes it tick, start reading Chapter 1 of Fragile by Design here.

Fall2014International_April18We don’t know many people who would hope to be called a coward. It’s a deep insult that carries a lot of weight and can easily offend.  Not so surprisingly, there is an incredible amount of history and cultural context related to this word that we lose sight of in this day and age. What exactly is cowardice? When terrorists are called cowards, does it mean the same as when the term is applied to soldiers? Our forthcoming book Cowardice by Chris Walsh seeks to examine and explain this commonly understood insult.  Bringing together sources from court-martial cases to literary and film classics such as Dante’s Inferno, The Red Badge of Courage, and The Thin Red Line, Cowardice recounts the great harm that both cowards and the fear of seeming cowardly have done, and traces the idea of cowardice’s power to its evolutionary roots. But Chris Walsh also shows that this power has faded, most dramatically on the battlefield. Misconduct that earlier might have been punished as cowardice has more recently often been treated medically, as an adverse reaction to trauma, and Walsh explores a parallel therapeutic shift that reaches beyond war, into the realms of politics, crime, philosophy, religion, and love.

Although the book has not yet been released, author Chris Walsh has recently written on the topic of cowardice for Salon magazine as well as the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Judging by Walsh’s work on the subject, Cowardice is sure to be an impressing work on the topic of cowardice. Look out for this release in October of this year!

k10068Although quantum mechanics may not be the simplest topic of study, we can still understand the fact that made Einstein’s incredible contributions to the subject.  Einstein and the Quantum by A. Douglas Stone reveals for the first time the full significance of Albert Einstein’s contributions to quantum theory. Einstein famously rejected quantum mechanics, observing that God does not play dice. But, in fact, he thought more about the nature of atoms, molecules, and the emission and absorption of light–the core of what we now know as quantum theory–than he did about relativity.

A compelling blend of physics, biography, and the history of science, Einstein and the Quantum shares the untold story of how Einstein–not Max Planck or Niels Bohr–was the driving force behind early quantum theory. It paints a vivid portrait of the iconic physicist as he grappled with the apparently contradictory nature of the atomic world, in which its invisible constituents defy the categories of classical physics, behaving simultaneously as both particle and wave. And it demonstrates how Einstein’s later work on the emission and absorption of light, and on atomic gases, led directly to Erwin Schrödinger’s breakthrough to the modern form of quantum mechanics. The book sheds light on why Einstein ultimately renounced his own brilliant work on quantum theory, due to his deep belief in science as something objective and eternal.

A book unlike any other, Einstein and the Quantum offers a completely new perspective on the scientific achievements of the greatest intellect of the twentieth century, showing how Einstein’s contributions to the development of quantum theory are more significant, perhaps, than even his legendary work on relativity.

Einstein and the Quantum was recently reviewed in the April issue of Physics today.

“Einstein and the Quantum is delightful to read, with numerous historical details that were new to me and cham1ing vignettes of Einstein and his colleagues. By avoiding mathematics, Stone makes his book accessible to general readers, but even physicists who are well versed in Einstein and his physics are likely to find new insights into the most remarkable mind of the modern era.”–Daniel Kleppner, Physics Today

Want to start reading? Check out the Introduction to Einstein and the Quantum today.

k10195Thankfully, volcanic eruptions aren’t something we commonly have to deal with, but for this reason we can lose sight of the devastating and life-changing affects they can have.When Indonesia’s Mount Tambora erupted in 1815, it unleashed the most destructive wave of extreme weather the world has witnessed in thousands of years. The volcano’s massive sulfate dust cloud enveloped the Earth, cooling temperatures and disrupting major weather systems for more than three years. Amid devastating storms, drought, and floods, communities worldwide endured famine, disease, and civil unrest on a catastrophic scale. On the eve of the bicentenary of the great eruption, Tambora tells the extraordinary story of the weather chaos it wrought, weaving the latest climate science with the social history of this frightening period to offer a cautionary tale about the potential tragic impacts of drastic climate change in our own century.

The year following Tambora’s eruption became known as the “Year without a Summer,” when weather anomalies in Europe and New England ruined crops, displaced millions, and spawned chaos and disease. Here, for the first time, Gillen D’Arcy Wood traces Tambora’s full global and historical reach: how the volcano’s three-year climate change regime initiated the first worldwide cholera pandemic, expanded opium markets in China, set the stage for Ireland’s Great Famine, and plunged the United States into its first economic depression. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’s monster, inspired by Tambora’s terrifying storms, embodied the fears and misery of global humanity during this transformational period, the most recent sustained climate crisis the world has faced.

Tambora was recently reviewed in Nature magazine, which said

“Wood broadens our understanding beyond the ‘year without a summer’ cliché….Wood’s command of the scientific literature is impressive, and more than matched by his knowledge of world history during this horrific episode of catastrophic global climate change. With the mass of information he has assimilated, he skillfully weaves a tale full of human and cultural interest….”― Ted Nield, Nature

Author Gillen D’Arcy Woods also wrote a piece on climate change for Grist which you can find here.

Interested in learning more about this devastating natural disaster? Start reading the Introduction to Tambora here.


This post is part of a series, explore additional posts here<< PUP News of the World, May 9, 2014PUP News of the World, April 25, 2014 >>


  1. I love reading, The books called Einstein and the Quantum by A. Douglas Stone is the best book that i have ever read, I love physic. I hope I can doing my master degree at Princeton as my father did.