Republic of Spin and All the Presidents’ Gardens book covers

Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency (W.W. Norton, 2016), by David Greenberg. As voter skepticism about overly scripted politicians reaches a peak this election season, a new book confirms just how pervasive that scripting, or spin, is. Greenberg, an associate professor at the School of Communication and Information and a presidential historian, tracks the rise of the spin machine from William McKinley to Barack Obama, and the insidious ways public opinion has been courted, massaged, and manipulated over the years. From George Washington’s use of “ghostwriter” Alexander Hamilton to Ronald Reagan’s arsenal of rehearsed conversational techniques, readers are treated to an even-handed look at how the political system is fueled by spin.

All the Presidents’ Gardens: Madison’s Cabbages to Kennedy’s Roses—How the White House Grounds Have Grown With America (Timber Press, 2016), by Marta McDowell DC’79. This light-hearted romp through the White House gardens traces the green-thumb contributions of presidents and First Families, from James Madison’s vegetable garden to Roosevelt’s Victory Gardens to the Kitchen Garden of today, written by a landscape historian and horticulturalist at the New York Botanical Garden.

Junctures in Women’s Leadership: Business (Rutgers University Press, 2016), edited by Lisa Hetfield GSNB’07 and Dana M. Britton, and Junctures in Women’s Leadership: Social Movement (Rutgers University Press, 2016), edited by Mary K. Trigg and Alison R. Bernstein. These two volumes, each featuring 12 case studies exploring the decisions of women leaders, are part of a projected eight-volume series from the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

How exactly have women broken the glass ceiling of the business world? How did women get to leadership roles in the myriad struggles for social justice? And how did they overcome narrow cultural expectations and develop ways to effect change? Readers will encounter the inspiring stories of women such as social activists Eleanor Roosevelt and Gloria Steinem and entrepreneurs like Martha Stewart and Alice Waters.

You Could Look It Up: The Reference Shelf From Ancient Babylon to Wikipedia (Bloomsbury Press, 2016), by Jack Lynch. Lynch’s history of reference, from the Code of Hammurabi to Wikipedia and beyond, offers 50 finely wrought summaries of historical reference works that sought to aggregate fact. Through this engaging, subjective survey, Lynch, a lexicographer and professor in the Department of English at Rutgers University–Newark, demonstrates the impact of the internet on scholarly reference and knowledge itself.

Business Writing: What Works, What Won’t (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2015), by Wilma Davidson GSE’85. The third edition of this 1994 primer on business writing now covers social media and technology. From grammar basics to turning talk into text, and everything in between, Davidson’s readable guide should be part of every businessperson’s tool kit for turning out clear, compelling writing.

New Brunswick, New Jersey: The Decline and Revitalization of Urban America (Rutgers University Press, 2016), by Dorothea Berkhout, James W. Hughes ENG’65, GSNB’69,’71, and David Listokin GSNB’71,’78. New Brunswick has become a model of urban renewal and planning, and it’s documented in this book from three leaders at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. Using oral histories, archives, census information, and surveys, the authors reveal the decisions and planning that led to New Brunswick’s revitalization, which could serve as a blueprint for urban renewal nationwide. The renaissance started with the decision by Johnson & Johnson to build its world headquarters in the city; the growth of a theater district and entertainment amenities; the expansion of Rutgers into the city; and the rebuilding of public housing and its role in the city’s real estate appreciation.

FBI and an Ordinary Guy: The Private Price of Public Service (Page Publishing, 2015), by Mark Johnston SCJ’80. Johnston’s memoir covers his 30 years in law enforcement as an FBI agent in New York City and other cities. Johnston details his work fighting drug kingpins, the Mafia, motorcycle gangs, terrorists, and petty criminals—and how he found solace in his own family.