Book reviews, Fall 2019

These reviews are now available to read through Project Muse and in the printed Journal, Volume 54 Number 3:


The Poem Electric: Technology and the Lyric, by Seth Perlow
Reviewed by Tanya Clement
"Examining a broad array of electronics—from radio to telephone to modern-day web browsers—Seth Perlow considers how these technologies transform poems that aren’t normally considered “digital.” Posing a necessary challenge to the privilege of information in the digital humanities, Perlow develops new ways of reading poetry, alongside and against the electronic equipment that is now ubiquitous in our world." (University of Minnesota Press)

IBM: The Rise and Fall and Reinvention of a Global Icon by James Cortada 
Reviewed by Jillian Foley
"A history of one of the most influential American companies of the last century." (MIT Press)

The Robotic Imaginary: The Human and the Price of Dehumanized Labor by Jennifer Rhee 
Reviewed by Leah Horgan
"Jennifer Rhee traces the provocative and productive connections of contemporary robots in technology, film, art, and literature. Centered around the twinned processes of anthropomorphization and dehumanization, she analyzes the coevolution of cultural and technological robots and artificial intelligence, arguing that it is through the conceptualization of the human and the dehumanized that these multiple spheres affect and transform each other." (University of Minnesota Press)

The Politics of Mass Digitization by Nanna Bonde Thylstrup 
Reviewed by Marc Kosiciejew
"A new examination of mass digitization as an emerging sociopolitical and sociotechnical phenomenon that alters the politics of cultural memory." (MIT Press)

Raymond Klibansky and the Warburg Library Network: Intellectual Peregrinations from Hamburg to London and Montreal
Reviewed by David Levy 
"The first interdisciplinary study of the Warburg Library network as an arena of intellectual transmission, transformation, and exchange, this volume reveals dynamics, agencies, and actors at play in the development of the Warburg Institute’s program and output, with a specific focus on the role of Raymond Klibansky." (McGill-Queen’s University Press)

Power Button: A History of Pleasure, Panic, and the Politics of Pushing by Rachel Plotnick
Reviewed by Hannes Mandel
"How did buttons become so ubiquitous? Why do people love them, loathe them, and fear them? In Power Button, Rachel Plotnick traces the origins of today's push-button society by examining how buttons have been made, distributed, used, rejected, and refashioned throughout history." (MIT Press)

The Scientific Journal: Authorship and the Politics of Knowledge in the Nineteenth Century by Alex Csiszar
Reviewed by Jon Tennant
"Alex Csiszar takes readers deep into nineteenth-century London and Paris, where savants struggled to reshape scientific life in the light of rapidly changing political mores and the growing importance of the press in public life. The scientific journal did not arise as a natural solution to the problem of communicating scientific discoveries. Rather, as Csiszar shows, its dominance was a hard-won compromise born of political exigencies, shifting epistemic values, intellectual property debates, and the demands of commerce." (University of Chicago Press)

Spotify Teardown: Inside the Black Box of Streaming Music by Maria Eriksson, Rasmus Fleischer, Anna Johansson, Pelle Snickars and Patrick Vonderau
Reviewed by Nick Seaver
"An innovative investigation of the inner workings of Spotify that traces the transformation of audio files into streamed experience." (MIT Press)

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez
Reviewed by Christine T. Wolf
"Discover the shocking gender bias that affects our everyday lives." (Penguin Books)