What We Are Reading Today: Steadfast Democrats

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Updated 27 February 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Steadfast Democrats

Authors: Ismail K. White and Chryl N. Laird 

Black Americans are by far the most unified racial group in American electoral politics, with 80 to 90 percent identifying as Democrats — a surprising figure given that nearly a third now also identify as ideologically conservative, up from less than 10 percent in the 1970s. Why has ideological change failed to push more black Americans into the Republican Party? Steadfast Democrats answers this question with a pathbreaking new theory that foregrounds the specificity of the black American experience and illuminates social pressure as the key element of black Americans’ unwavering support for the Democratic Party, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

Ismail White and Chryl Laird argue that the roots of black political unity were established through the adversities of slavery and segregation, when black Americans forged uniquely strong social bonds for survival and resistance. 

White and Laird explain how these tight communities have continued to produce and enforce political norms—including Democratic Party identification in the post–Civil Rights era. The social experience of race for black Americans is thus fundamental to their political choices.


What We Are Reading Today: Trigonometric delights by Eli Maor

Updated 10 April 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Trigonometric delights by Eli Maor

Trigonometry has a reputation as a dry, difficult branch of mathematics, a glorified form of geometry complicated by tedious computation. 

In Trigonometric Delights, Eli Maor dispels this view. Rejecting the usual descriptions of sine, cosine, and their trigonometric relatives, he brings the subject to life in a compelling blend of history, biography, and mathematics. 

From the proto-trigonometry of the Egyptian pyramid builders and the first true trigonometry developed by Greek astronomers, to the epicycles and hypocycles of the toy Spirograph, Maor presents 

both a survey of the main elements of trigonometry and a unique account of its vital contribution to science and social growth. 

A tapestry of stories, curiosities, insights, and illustrations, Trigonometric Delights irrevocably changes how we see this essential mathematical discipline.