By Susan LevinePrinceton University Press 2008, 252 pp., $29.95 (hardcover) Warning: don't take this book to the beach, unless you are a wonk. It is not light reading, no matter what the attractive period cover photo or modestly snarky subtitle may imply. The fact is, this book was written by an academic — Levine is a professor of history at the University of Illinois-Chicago — and professorial prose marks every page. Most pages are thick with closely set type and paragraphs are loooong. ...

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