An insightful, educative treatise from a seasoned professional.



An account of the massive educational disruption caused by the pandemic.

Though Covid-19 hit everyone hard, Kamenetz, the lead digital education correspondent for NPR, focuses on its wide-reaching effects on children in this well-researched, enlightening book. The author goes into welcome depth on the consequences of a year without in-person schooling, chronicling her interviews with children who have health issues and compromised immune systems, those with special needs who function better with a regular routine, and those from low-income families who rely on the school lunch program. The parents are also an integral part of the book, and Kamenetz is sympathetic to their plights with lost jobs due to downsizing or the necessity of child care. Throughout, the author shares the small details of quotidian life, creating a crystal-clear picture of the extent to which the pandemic has affected children. During 2020 and 2021, countless children suffered greater hunger, had an indifference to schoolwork, and became fearful, depressed, anxious, and withdrawn. Their trauma equaled—or often exceeded—that of adults, but few received adequate assistance. Unfortunately, the author also shows how the trauma is not over for millions and that what they experienced during the height of the pandemic will haunt them for years. She is careful to note, however, that “not one of them is doomed.” After noting the ways that government, health, and education officials let children down, Kamenetz offers useful ideas on what areas must change, including an overhaul of the system that determines guidelines for special needs, placing more value on the work of caregivers, and revamping the entire welfare system. No one knows the long-term effects the pandemic will have on children, but Kamenetz gives readers areas to watch as time progresses and the pandemic waxes and wanes in the years to come.

An insightful, educative treatise from a seasoned professional.

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5417-0098-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Even if they're pie-in-the-sky exercises, Sanders’ pitched arguments bear consideration by nonbillionaires.


Everyone’s favorite avuncular socialist sends up a rousing call to remake the American way of doing business.

“In the twenty-first century we can end the vicious dog-eat-dog economy in which the vast majority struggle to survive,” writes Sanders, “while a handful of billionaires have more wealth than they could spend in a thousand lifetimes.” With that statement, the author updates an argument as old as Marx and Proudhon. In a nice play on words, he condemns “the uber-capitalist system under which we live,” showing how it benefits only the slimmest slice of the few while imposing undue burdens on everyone else. Along the way, Sanders notes that resentment over this inequality was powerful fuel for the disastrous Trump administration, since the Democratic Party thoughtlessly largely abandoned underprivileged voters in favor of “wealthy campaign contributors and the ‘beautiful people.’ ” The author looks squarely at Jeff Bezos, whose company “paid nothing in federal income taxes in 2017 and 2018.” Indeed, writes Sanders, “Bezos is the embodiment of the extreme corporate greed that shapes our times.” Aside from a few passages putting a face to avarice, Sanders lays forth a well-reasoned platform of programs to retool the American economy for greater equity, including investment in education and taking seriously a progressive (in all senses) corporate and personal taxation system to make the rich pay their fair share. In the end, he urges, “We must stop being afraid to call out capitalism and demand fundamental change to a corrupt and rigged system.” One wonders if this firebrand of a manifesto is the opening gambit in still another Sanders run for the presidency. If it is, well, the plutocrats might want to take cover for the duration.

Even if they're pie-in-the-sky exercises, Sanders’ pitched arguments bear consideration by nonbillionaires.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2023

ISBN: 9780593238714

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

Did you like this book?

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


“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?