You’ve got to ask the question, what caused me to want to win?” George W. Bush, during his oral history for The Last Card: Inside George W. Bush’s Decision to Surge in Iraq
How does a president decide to send troops into battle? How does he or she weigh the contradictory, even conflicting advice from national security officials, military advisers, and those outside of government? Variations across time, individuals, and problems mean that Presidents have approached wartime decisions more like artists than engineers. They have drawn on bits of history, their interpretation of the national interest, and consideration of their fellow citizen’s views in making choices and crafting strategy.
Continue reading “The Lost Art of Presidential Decision-Making”
In June 2019, I attended the annual International Labour Conference (ILC) convened by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland. This year was particularly special, as it marked the 100th anniversary of the ILO. Through the establishment of international labor standards, the ILO has played a key – and often overlooked – role around the world to advance social justice and decent work for all. Continue reading “A TIME OF CELEBRATION AND RENEWED ENGAGEMENT: EVERYDAY TRANSGRESSIONS”
The Fourth of July is generally a time for Americans to get together, watch fireworks, and celebrate our nation’s independence. But in the period since 1776, the United States has also repeatedly sought to help other nations achieve their own independence and liberty, sometimes through war. The recent 75th anniversary of D-Day reminded us that the United States played a key part in dismantling fascism, and over subsequent decades, helped transform nations such as Germany and Japan into free, stable democracies. The United States has certainly had some important feats over its 243-year lifespan that helped free others from oppression.
Continue reading “Independence Day and America’s Efforts to Liberate Others”
“…many worlds I’ve come since I first left home.”—Brokedown Palace, The Grateful Dead
I stopped by Sage House last Saturday evening to finish packing up some books and pictures. I played songs on the guitar there for the last time. The twelve-foot ceilings provide excellent acoustics.
I reflected on the last four years in this palace of knowledge creation. I loved every minute of being at Cornell University Press—the staff, the faculty, the university, the library, the hockey rink, the town, and especially the apples. I look forward to working with my new colleagues at Duke University Press as much as I will miss the people of Cornell.
Continue reading “Notes from an Outgoing Director, by Dean Smith”
I suspect that many avid readers have a special book that becomes inseparable from themselves, part of their existence. Without this special book, what I call a “soul book,” a fulfilling life would be difficult. There are also books that are like family or friends—dependable, loving, present when you need them, always willing to provide help and support, but not necessarily consulted regularly or assimilated into one’s existential core. And then there are books that are acquaintances, that surface periodically at points in a reader’s life, often to exert a surprising force or influence that belies the infrequency of one’s association with them. For me, Victor Turner’s The Forest of Symbols has been an acquaintance, as I have had only three interactions with the book, each separated by a number of years. With its inclusion on CUP’s anniversary list of 150 notable publications, I have the opportunity to remember these meetings and renew my acquaintance.
Continue reading “150 Notable Books: Getting Acquainted with Victor Turner’s The Forest of Symbols”
Yet again, the controversial Palestinian leader Hajj Amin al-Husayni is making headlines. In May 2019, in a Washington post op-ed, Middle East studies scholar Dr. Maha Nassar addressed recent critics of US House Representative Rashida Tlaib, saying that ‘by citing the pro-Nazi propaganda of Mufti Hajj Amin al-Husayni to claim that “Palestinian leaders at the time sided with Hitler,” they conflate the statements and actions of a single individual with those of an entire people.’ This conflation is indeed a problem.
Notorious for siding with the Nazis during the Second World War and for his inclusion on the UN War Crimes Commission list, Husayni’s prewar career comes into focus in Statecraft by Stealth. When writing the book, I tried to address the Mufti’s prewar career without being unduly influenced by our knowledge of his collaboration with the Nazis. In fact, I argued that he showed little interest in the Nazis before the war. It is helpful to examine the beginning of Husayni’s career in order to better understand the events which led up to his disastrous choices of the 1940s.
Continue reading “On Brand – the Fashion Choices of Hajj Amin al-Husayni”
A few weeks ago, I received an email about the Cornell Library and Press Service and Recognition Awards. This is the first time we’ve participated in an official program like this.
A number of Cornell University Press staff nominated their colleagues. It was exciting to see staff appreciating each other in an open forum.
As we zero in on our second straight year of break-even performance, I nominate our entire staff. Their willingness to embrace change and innovation has produced outstanding results.
Everyone in Sage House has contributed to the Press’s success.
Continue reading “Hiking Cascadilla Gorge with Ange”