Return to home
page Book Reviews, Book Lover Resources, Advice for Writers and Publishers
Home / The Bookwatch

The Bookwatch

Volume 17, Number 9 September 2022 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf Philosophy Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

Resurgence of Global Populism
Karyne E. Messina, EdD
9781032064512, $39.95 (softcover)

Resurgence of Global Populism: A Psychoanalytic Study of Projective Identification, Blame-Shifting and the Corruption of Democracy will engage college students and adults interested in the connections between political and psychological processes, and is recommended both for individual study and classroom assignment for standout discussion.

Karyne E. Messina considers the driving forces for the emergence and propagation of populism, closely examining the logic from which corrupt systems evolve and are promoted and fostered. Her examination moves from country to country as it considers the circumstances, appearance, and propagation of populism in Asia, Europe, and the U.S., drawing important connections and comparisons between the politics and people of different nations of the world.

This approach allows for an analysis that juxtaposes cultural and social influences on political processes, following how the psyches of nations and individuals are influenced by populist thinking. Important connections are drawn between the emergence of repressive laws and the underlying intentions and perceptions of the politicians and lawmakers involved.

One such case cited is Austria's banning of headscarves in the name of protection and altruistic perceptions. These types of laws, whether well-meaning or stemming from ignorance, hold wide-ranging ramifications. Messina's attention to defining and identifying circumstances of populist behavior in various world communities and populations moves between legal and political choices and their impacts, drawing connections that help readers understand how the hearts and minds of the public are affected.

While Trump's actions and representations are a primary focus, she places his politics and brand of beliefs within larger perspective, exploring his psychological manipulations and approaches and their impact on the world. From national histories of democratic efforts and struggles to individual responses and choices, Messina goes beyond identifying problems by providing possible solutions concerned readers can undertake to address the effects populist trends have on their own mental health.

One such opportunity lies in fine-tuning the pervasive influence of social media. Messina's ability to move from bigger-picture and global thinking to individual choice in reactions and actions offers hope. It ultimately empowers readers to not just better understand the methodology and circumstances of populist influences and efforts, but to identify and mitigate these effects.

In essence, Messina advocates for readers to cultivate a sense of resilience, whether when dealing with an authoritarian ruler or negotiating social media minefields. The result is a powerful blend of history, social and political inspection, and psychological investigation that operate on both a global and individual level to provide readers with food for thought and tools for response. Much more than a Trump-centric analysis, it places this man's influence and the wellsprings of his approaches into a larger picture of threat readers would do well to better understand.

While college-level library collections strong in social, psychological and political issues will be the target audience of this book, ideally it will not reside idly on a library's shelf, but will be chosen for classroom assignment and by discussion groups interested in considering and debating the forces of global populism's rise and effects on society and individuals alike.

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

As Deep As It Gets: Movies and Metaphysics
Randall E. Auxier
Open Universe
c/o Carus Books
315 - 5th Avenue, Peru, IL 61354
9781637700082, $19.95

As Deep As It Gets: Movies and Metaphysics belongs not just in media studies libraries and classrooms, but in collections strong in modern philosophy, using popular current movies and TV shows to explore philosophical insights. Auxier's discussion of movies goes beyond plot and character outlines to consider the deeper meanings and inspections in essays which go beyond education to invite discussion and debate. From political metaphors in movies to enlightening surveys of ethics, religion, and connections between modern media and ancient philosophers, Auxier draws seemingly disparate subjects together in a moving survey that is surprisingly lively for its title and subject. This will make As Deep As It Gets attractive to much more than a singular audience of modern-day philosophy students.

The Philosophy Shelf

Better Call Saul and Philosophy
Joshua Heter and Brett Coppenger, editors
Open Universe
c/o Carus Books
9781637700266, $24.95

Better Call Saul and Philosophy: I Think Therefore I Scam belongs in any media studies collection strong in analyzing television and films. Its subject goes beyond plot and character study, however, to delve into the moral and ethical dilemmas presented in Better Call Saul, requiring that readers have a basic familiarity with the subject in order to apply the philosophical reflections here. Joshua Heter and Brett Coppenger gather essays that are candid, contemporary, and often push the common scholarly tone boundaries of philosophical inspection. One such example is Joshua Luczak's "Saul's Bullshit's Not All Good, Man." Its inspection of truth, lies, and what occurs between them provides not just food for thought, but ideally discussion material highly recommended for any viewer of Better Call Saul, or for modern young philosophers who would more closely examine the connections and approaches of modern philosophy to movies and media.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Icarus Plot
Timothy Zahn
Baen Books
P.O. Box 1403, Riverdale, NY 10471
9781982191955, $25.00

The Icarus Plot provides the ongoing story of Gregory Rourke and his Kadolian partner Selene, who make profitable discoveries they can sell mostly legally. Their predictable partnership is challenged by an assignment to track down a mysterious woman and a secret project called Icarus. There are many reasons for reaching for the bigger payoff this effort involves. As it turns out, there are equal reasons for running from it like the wind. Timothy Zahn's fast-paced story of profit, escapades, and surprising revelations is highly recommended reading for sci-fi fans who enjoy mystery and swift action. Its unpredictable twists and turns will thoroughly engross.

The Jigsaw Assassin
Catherine Asaro
Baen Books
P.O. Box 1403, Riverdale, NY 10471
9781982191962, $16.00

The Jigsaw Assassin follows a futuristic serial killer whose work implicates those in political power, causing a ripple of response that threatens the political party and calls upon Major Bhaajan to solve the crime. As Bhaajan and her crew delve into political and criminal worlds beyond their usual ken, readers receive an action-packed story of interstellar politics, intrigue, and science fiction that proves satisfying fast-paced, creatively world-building, and hard to put down.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design