Nonfiction on Young Hitler, the Trans Generation, Sexual Offenses in Low-Wage Work | Xpress Reviews

Readers might be better served by either of Thomas Weber’s works than this one; more useful for scholars than the general public, would be relevant reading for fans of CN Lester; the pervasive sexualized violence in low-wage work and how urgent the need for both regulatory and cultural change

Week ending April 13, 2018


Ham, Paul. Young Hitler: The Making of the Führer. Pegasus. Jun. 2018. 320p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781681777474. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781681778198. HIST

Independent scholar Ham focuses on Adolf Hitler’s formative years, from his life on the margins of Viennese society through the trenches of World War I and into the maelstrom of postwar German politics. In addition to providing a detailed recounting of Hitler’s personal history, Ham also places most events and ideologies of the time into their historical context. In the end, Ham argues that Hitler’s worldview, ideology, and political style were not created by World War I but were instead “drawn out” by his wartime experiences. The author does not incorporate any new source material, and his assertion that few historians have considered the importance of World War I to Hitler is belied by a number of studies, most significantly Hitler’s First War: Adolf Hitler, the Men of the List Regiment, and the First World War and Becoming Hitler: The Making of a Nazi, both by Thomas Weber. Furthermore, Ham employs the epilog to link Hitler and Nazism to contemporary political climates in the Western world. While the assertion that Hitler is a model for many alt-right figures may be true, but the linkage to this work’s thesis is unclear.

Verdict A supplemental purchase for public libraries with large history collections; readers might be better served by either of Weber’s works.—Frederic Krome, Univ. of Cincinnati Clermont Coll.


Travers, Ann. The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) Are Creating a Gender Revolution. New York Univ. Jun. 2018. 288p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781479885794. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781479832354. SOC SCI

Travers (sociology, Simon Fraser Univ., BC; Writing the Public in Cyberspace) brings their personal and professional experience here. The book, noted by the author as being for academics and individuals who wish to support transgender children, first introduces readers to the concept of transgender children and then walks readers through challenges that transgender children face in schools, in public spaces, with their parents, and navigating health care. A list of recommendations, resources, children interviewed, and a glossary wrap up the research. Travers provides many anecdotes and has a reasonably hefty bibliography but rarely brings statistics into the study. Few topics receive the attention they deserve owing to the vastness of this subject. Scholarship at large and Travers as an author still grapple with discussing gender in established patriarchal terms while also arguing for a postgender conceptualization of the world, which often results in seemingly contradictory semantics and philosophy.

Verdict Overall a more useful text for scholars than the general public, this work contains valuable passages nonetheless and would be relevant reading for fans of CN Lester’s Trans Like Me.—Abby Hargreaves, Dist. of Columbia P.L., Washington


Yeung, Bernice. In a Day’s Work: The Fight To End Sexual Violence Against America’s Most Vulnerable Workers. New Pr. Mar. 2018. 240p. notes. index. ISBN 9781620973158. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781620973165. SOC SCI

Yeung (Ctr. for Investigative Reporting) draws on years of investigative reporting by multiple journalists to document the systemic sexual violence endured by women, many of them undocumented immigrants of color, in some of America’s most low-paying, unregulated industries. She focuses on the experience of female workers in farm, janitorial, and domestic service industries, all three of which have structural conditions making them ripe for exploitation of workers. Yeung weaves together stories of women workers and activists—often former industry workers themselves—who are making change. For example, one chapter focuses on the work of Vicki Márquez at the Maintenance Corporation Trust Fund, a nonprofit in California seeking to end exploitation in the janitorial field; another centers on the story of domestic worker June Barrett and efforts to pass legislation regulating an industry largely exempt from federal labor laws. Readers who have worked in these industries, who have been or are undocumented or dependent on abusers for income will no doubt recognize their own experience in the cases Yeung profiles.

Verdict In clear and compelling prose, Yeung reminds us how pervasive sexualized violence is in low-wage work and how urgent the need for both regulatory and cultural change.—Anna J. Clutterbuck-Cook, Massachusetts Historical Soc., Boston

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