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Recent Publications — May 2017

 

Women and Leadership. By Deborah L. Rhode. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press. 2017. Pp. 242. $29.95. Women and Leadership opens by remarking on the double standards for male and female leaders on display during the 2016 presidential campaign and ends with a call to action: “[o]ur nation can afford to do no less” than to elevate women to “positions of power” (p. 138). Professor Deborah Rhode, a leading ethics scholar and Director of Stanford Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession, surveys women’s underrepresentation in U.S. politics, management, law, academia, and on corporate boards. Her discussion of the structural and psychological barriers and biases that women face draws on current research and an original survey. Throughout, Rhode also highlights how racism and racial inequalities magnify the sex-based problems that she explores; for example, women of color in management are less likely to receive senior-level support than are white women. Alongside diagnoses, in each sector Rhode offers concrete strategies for individuals and institutions. The chapter on women in politics underscores the need for a revived and reoriented women’s movement, one better attuned to women of color and young women. “None of this will be easy,” Rhode acknowledges (p. 55), but the cogent and accessible Women and Leadership is one step forward.

 

Crossroads for Liberty: Recovering the Anti-Federalist Values of America’s First Constitution. By William J. Watkins, Jr., Oakland, Cal.: Independent Institute. 2016. Pp. xx, 315. $32.95. The Articles of Confederation are often regarded as an unworkable failure, an ill-advised detour en route to a “more perfect Union.” In Crossroads for Liberty, William Watkins, Jr. reexamines America’s first structure of government and the values it embodied, tracing the document from its pre-Revolution origins to its ultimate replacement by the U.S. Constitution. Watkins first discusses the Federalist and Anti-Federalist debates, revisiting a spirited contest over the power to regulate commerce, executive power, federalism, and protections for individual liberties. Next, he imagines Anti-Federalist responses to the rise of the administrative state, the national debt, and modern jurisprudence. Ultimately, Watkins concludes that the Articles offered a model of limited government and decentralization that warranted slight modifications, but not a wholesale repudiation, and he offers a handful of modest fixes for the document: vesting the power to regulate foreign commerce in the national government, creating the tripartite separation of powers familiar to us today, and jettisoning the unanimity requirement for constitutional amendments. In rejecting the idea that the Articles of Confederation were unsalvageable, this succinct, thoroughly readable historical treatment of the Anti-Federalists underscores the value in retracing our constitutional steps.