More than 70 voices combine to create a powerful chorus singing a hymn of hope and gratitude.

READ REVIEW

JOURNEYS

AN AMERICAN STORY

A collection of pieces by immigrants in America (and some by their descendants), essays that coalesce to counter the narrative of fear offered by the loud anti-immigrant voices throughout the country.

The editors (also contributors) are both executives with the Loews Corporation. Divided into 10 sections, the text comprises the recollections and ruminations of a wide array of people with diverse personal histories from all over the world. Some contributors are well-known—e.g., Cory Booker, Michael Bloomberg, Barbara Boxer, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Tony Bennett, Marlo Thomas—while others are simply human beings whose stories feature events that are harrowing, inspiring, comforting, and sometimes depressing and shocking. Near the end are some contributions by representatives of a few institutions that help immigrants, including the American Ballet Theatre and the New-York Historical Society. There is even space for readers to write their own stories and a website to which to submit them. What emerges? Repeatedly the essayists write about the importance of education: For some, it was why they came here; for others, it became salvation once they arrived. Equally important is family. We read stories of families separated and reunited, of families who struggled here in poverty but worked hard and changed their lives. But the overwhelming message is clear: “Give us a chance.” These words, in various forms, come from Jews who escaped the Holocaust and the Soviet Union, from those fleeing poverty and hopelessness on just about every continent as well as religious and/or political persecution. Several evoke the lines from the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor.” Not everyone here is a writer—there are few impressive verbal displays—the power here resides in the lives, not necessarily the words. Other notable contributors include Nancy Pelosi, Gabrielle Giffords, and Wes Moore.

More than 70 voices combine to create a powerful chorus singing a hymn of hope and gratitude.

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-948122-01-6

Page Count: 360

Publisher: RosettaBooks

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more