University Press Roundup

And we’re back! Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

With the current crisis in Ukraine and Crimea at the forefront of the international community’s thoughts, Sage House News, the Cornell University Press Blog, has some in-depth reading suggestions for a more comprehensive understanding of the historical bases for the region’s political tensions, issues, and possible outcomes. Author Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia, also contributes with advice to President Obama in helping to diffuse the situation as published in NYMag.

After the implosion of Mt. Gox, the subsequent suicide of a Bitcoin exchange’s CEO, the rising number of national governments ruling Bitcoin as illegitimate, and finally the revelation (and later denial) of the identity of Bitcoin’s enigmatic creator, the cryptocurrency, despite its esoteric origins and supporters, has remained in the spotlight these last few weeks. Harvard University Press author and self-proclaimed “cyber skeptic” David Golumbia raises a dialogue protesting the feasibility of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as sustainable alternatives to fiat currencies. Citing “incredible volatility and lack of regulation” as insidious traits detrimental to Bitcoin’s mainstream acceptance, even among the most risk-tolerant, Golumbia concludes that only regulation–antithetical to the philosophies of cryptocurrency’s most outspoken proponents–would save Bitcoin from the boom and bust cycles that have plagued it.

Displeased with the unflinching barrage of historical inaccuracies throughout 300: Rise of an Empire, a follow-up to Zach Snyder’s grandiloquent retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae, historian and OUP author Paul Cartledge speaks out to set the record straight with five things the film gets wrong. We’re not sure that the creators of the film intended for its events to align Herodotus’s The Histories with archaeological findings (indeed, the first film comports itself as a frame narrative in which a soldier with a penchant for exaggeration and story-telling attempts to rile up his brothers in arms), but Cartledge’s expertise on the Graeco-Persian wars, displayed more fully in his book After Thermopylae, is a more than welcome complement to what will likely be an over-the-top Spring flick.

Yale Press author Laura DeNardis wants to know, “How do we solve the problem of the Internet?” Describing the all-pervading quality of the Internet in our personal and professional lives, DeNardis, in her book The Global War for Internet Governance, looks to understand ways in which the Internet is already being governed, as well as the how, why, and who behind those seeking to govern it in the future. From privacy concerns over social media, to net neutrality and online surveillance, the Internet is a complex and technical landscape for governments and individuals alike to navigate in our increasingly digital world. You can watch DeNardis speak more on the subject here.

Happy belated Mardi Gras! To honor the Louisianian period of revelry culminating the day prior to Ash Wednesday, NYU Press’s From the Square shares an excerpt from Kevin Fox Gotham’s award-winning book, Authentic New Orleans, which touches on the celebration’s religious and cultural roots in history.

That’s it for this week. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading. Thanks!

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