Manu S Pillai, the acclaimed author of a monumental historical study, The Ivory Throne: Chronicles of the House of Travancore (2015), presents himself here in a somewhat lighter vein, with a series of essays on interesting personalities, known and unknown, from Indian history both before and during British rule.

The Boundless Sea: Self and History, Gary Y Okihiro (University of California Press, October 2019)
The Boundless Sea: Self and History, Gary Y Okihiro (University of California Press, October 2019)

The last book in a trilogy of explorations on space and time from a preeminent scholar, The Boundless Sea is Gary Y Okihiro’s most innovative yet. Whereas Okihiro’s previous books, Island World and Pineapple Culture, sought to deconstruct islands and continents, tropical and temperate zones, this book interrogates the assumed divides between space and time, memoir and history, and the historian and the writing of history.

Frank Dikötter, author of the acclaimed People’s Trilogy, focuses his latest book on the special role personality cults have played in eight eerily effective 20th-century dictatorships. The wryly titled How to Be a Dictator reminds readers of the depressingly similar tactics tyrants have used throughout history to destroy rivals and win acquiescence, if not exactly adulation, of the people.

The Rise and Fall of America's Concentration Camp Law: Civil Liberties Debates from the Internment to McCarthyism and the Radical 1960s, Masumi Izumi (Temple University Press, September 2019)
The Rise and Fall of America’s Concentration Camp Law: Civil Liberties Debates from the Internment to McCarthyism and the Radical 1960s, Masumi Izumi (Temple University Press, September 2019)

The Emergency Detention Act, Title II of the Internal Security Act of 1950, is the only law in American history to legalize preventive detention. It restricted the freedom of a certain individual or a group of individuals based on actions that may be taken that would threaten the security of a nation or of a particular area. Yet the Act was never enforced before it was repealed in 1971.

130 Years of Medicine in Hong Kong  places particular focus on medical and financial factors. Each chapter begins with an abstract in the style of an academic paper and frequent subtitles help with the location of specific information. As Hong Kong has been heavily involved in a number of pandemic scares in the 21st century, a look at the history of the Hong Kong University Faculty of Medicine that has tackled SARS and various Avian influenzas reveals how historical factors can shape an institution.