Book Review: Martin Ruef: Between Slavery and Capitalism: The Legacy of Emancipation in the American South

pup-cover.originalMartin Ruef: Between Slavery and Capitalism: The Legacy of Emancipation in the American South. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014. 285 pp. $35.00/£24.95, cloth.

Heather A. Haveman of the University of California, Berkeley recently took the time to write a review of Martin Ruef’s book, available now in the OnlineFirst section of Administrative Science Quarterly.

From the review:

This compelling analysis of the swiftly changing economic and social institutions in the American south after the Civil War should be of ASQ_v60n1_Mar2015_cover.inddinterest to economic and organizational sociologists, stratification researchers, and labor and economic historians. Ruef’s central argument is that the emancipation of slaves generated great uncertainty for all economic actors in the south—the former slaves themselves, the planters who used to own them, the agents of the Freedmen’s Bureau who sought to smooth the transition, and white workers, merchants, and politicians who had supported slavery as a central precept of southern society. As in neoclassical economic theory, these actors were often subject to classical uncertainty (Knight, 1921), in that they could not predict the outcomes of their decisions to engage (or not) in economic transactions: although the set of possible outcomes was known, their probability distribution was unknown. But more than that, Ruef shows that these actors faced true or categorical uncertainty (Knight, 1921): the set of possible outcomes was also unknown, which made the probability distribution of outcomes not just unknown, but unknowable.

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Book Review: Persuasion: History, theory, practice

9781603849982.jpg.400x0_q20Pullman, G. Persuasion: History, theory, practice. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett. 2013. 404 pp., plus index. $26.60, paperback.

Read the review by Rachel Cochran of the University of Alabama in Huntsville from the OnlineFirst section of International Journal of Business Communication.

From the review:

George Pullman achieves an outstanding feat. He provides a manual that BPCQ/IJBC3.inddaddresses the inner workings of human communication—from its history to its developmental theory and then finally to its oratorical and written practice. Meanwhile, he cleverly conceals the very rhetorical skills and tricks he exposes within the text. Pullman leaves no stone unturned; and if he does, he gives himself an out, playfully and artfully placing the burden of catching his possible mistakes with the reader.

He synthesizes theory, advice, and technique into a dense yet manageable format. This work is not only educational and intellectually compelling but also comical at times. Pullman provides his readers with points to ponder, words and peripheral history to pursue. In the “Note to Students” section, he writes, “This book is a command prompt. I’m not going to teach you anything. I’m going to challenge you to learn for yourself.”

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