This section includes book notes of 150-300 words as well as some book reviews of 600-900 words on books of particular interest to the members of our group. If you have either suggestions for books you would like to review or see reviewed (including recent books of your own), please contact Cas Mudde.
Gianpaolo Baiocchi (ed.), Radicals in Power: the Workers ' Party (PT) and Experiments in Urban Democracy in Brazil, London and New York: Zed, 2003, 254 pp., GBP 14.95/USD 22.50, ISBN 1-84277-173-6 (pbk) / GBP 49.95/65.00, ISBN 184277-172-8 (hbk). Reviewed by Wendy Hunter (University of Texas at Austin) The Workers’ Party has become a leading political contender in Brazil. PT mayors govern an impressive array of Brazil’s cities, the party now commands the single largest bloc in Congress, and in 2002 the PT captured presidential office for the first time. Given the many odds it faced, how did the PT arrive at this point? The answer to this question may be found in Gianpaolo Baiocchi's edited volume. One recurring theme concerns the party's ability to reach out beyond trade unions, include broader social sectors, and provide for good governance in Brazil's municipalities. The "modo petista de governar" that the book describes so well consists of clean, efficient, and participatory government, complete with innovative and redistributive social programs, such as micro-credit schemes and the bolsa escola, an income subsidy for lower income families who keep their children enrolled in school. The volume contains an interesting variety of PT experiences in power. Refreshing is its effort to go beyond the highly studied cases of the center-south, such as Porto Alegre and São Paulo, and include less well known but important experiences like the PT administration in Belém, and the PT's state government in EspíritoSanto and the Federal District. The volume is more even-handed than many works on the PT. Various chapters point not only to the PT's successes but also to its challenges and failures in power. The first and last chapter by Gaianpalo Baiocchi, together with Rachel Meneguello's commentary, provide an excellent unifying framework for the book. They provide important insights on the past evolution of the PT, while offering suggestions as to how the party might develop in the future.
Catherine Besteman (ed.), Violence: A Reader, New York, Palgrave, 2002, 322 pp., USD 60.00, ISBN 0-333-94775-4 (hbk) / USD 20.00, ISBN 0-333-94776-2 (pbk). Reviewed by Amentahru Wahlrab (Denver University) Violence: A Reader serves as a wrenching yet insightful prequel to Manfred B. Steger and Nancy S. Lind’s 1999 collection of essays entitled Violence and its Alternatives. Besteman’s edited volume combines excerpts from classic texts as well as more recent scholarship within the fields of Anthropology and Sociology. The reader is