Serious bureaucratic, technological and environmental issues, unpacked with facility, provide digestible food for thought.

COMEBACK

AMERICA'S NEW ECONOMIC BOOM

Morris (The Trillion-Dollar Meltdown, 2008, etc.) presents a persuasive, upbeat forecast of economic growth, starting now, for the United States.

The author has a companionable voice, affable and easy, but with words chosen for maximum clarity. He tackles three elements of the American economy that he identifies as the driving forces of recovery: hydrocarbons from shale; investment in infrastructure and manufacturing; and health care. Each of these forces has received black eyes and body blows of late, from both the left and right of the political spectrum, but Morris, though not starry-eyed, optimistically assesses all three. He walks readers through the controversial process of extracting oil and gas from shale, providing a highly entertaining minicourse in geology. Fracking has gone badly wrong, he writes, acknowledging spillage, leakage, emissions and compromised aquifers, but there are ways to contain this damage, if not eliminate it, through responsible drilling practices. Our crumbling infrastructure calls out for a Keynesian infusion, Morris writes, but the level of investment relative to GDP "has fallen off dramatically, to the point where it could actually inhibit the industrial recovery.” That recovery must be based on jobs created at home, writes the author, citing a consulting group that estimates “an American company will save only about 10-15 percent of costs by manufacturing a kitchen appliance in China, which is too little to justify the long delivery lead times and other aggravations that come with offshoring.” Health care, long hostage to vested interests, is a huge employer and also makes important contributions to biotech industries and innovation-driven productivity growth. Our taxes, pitifully low by historical standards, could be put to better use than endless warfare, he argues—infrastructure, old-age security and education, for example.

Serious bureaucratic, technological and environmental issues, unpacked with facility, provide digestible food for thought.

Pub Date: June 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61039-336-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: June 9, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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LET IT SHINE

STORIES OF BLACK WOMEN FREEDOM FIGHTERS

This exciting collective biography features ten important women in the historic struggle to win freedom and civil rights. Pinkney (Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra, 1998, etc.) tells the well-known stories of Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks. Other women such as Biddy Mason and Dorothy Irene Height are in the history books but are less familiar. They span the 18th and 19th centuries, from Sojourner Truth, born into slavery circa 1797, to Shirley Chisholm, born in 1924 and living today. Each story contains essential demographic and biographical information written in an accessible, informal style, which provides a vivid picture of the women’s lives, their personalities, backgrounds, and the actions that made them memorable. Many of the women also had to fight against prejudice toward women in addition to their causes. Some did not live to see the results of their struggle, but successful or not, all were courageous leaders who paved the way for a more democratic and inclusive America. The introduction gives the reader a glimpse into Pinkney’s own life and her rationale for the selection of biographies. A bibliography for further reading lists what are probably her research sources, but are not identified as such and quotations within the chapters are not footnoted in any way. Another quibble is a small mistake in the biography of Dorothy Irene Height as to the two degrees she received in four years. Both were in educational psychology, but Pinkney lists the bachelor’s as in social work. However, these flaws do not compromise the value of the book. Alcorn’s (Langston Hughes, not reviewed, etc.) paintings, oil on canvas, are as magnificent as his figures and add much to this handsome volume. Vibrant colors, rhythmic lines, and collage-like compositions are allegorical in design and convey the essence of each woman and her work. A truly inspiring collection for personal as well as institutional libraries. (Biography. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-15-201005-X

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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Provocative reading for anyone concerned about the intersection of race and capital punishment.

KILLING WITH PREJUDICE

INSTITUTIONALIZED RACISM IN AMERICAN CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

The story of the Supreme Court decision McCleskey v. Kemp (1987), which underscores “the lingering racial and socioeconomic inequalities endemic to capital punishment in the United States.”

In 1978 in Atlanta, Georgia, Warren McCleskey, an African-American, was arrested for killing a white police officer during a furniture store robbery. After years of litigation, writes Maratea (The Politics of the Internet: Political Claims-making in Cyberspace and How It’s Affecting Modern Political Activism, 2014, etc.), his death penalty sentencing was upheld by the Supreme Court in a decision that overlooked “compelling empirical data suggesting that Georgia’s death process was replete with systemic racial bias.” McCleskey was executed in 1991. In this thoughtful and disturbing account, the author traces the story of the case. He argues not that McCleskey was innocent but that he was sentenced to death under a system in which killers of white people were four times more likely as killers of blacks to be sentenced to death. The latter assertion, made by McCleskey’s lawyers, was based on a “detailed and peer-reviewed” study of 2,500 Georgia murder cases by University of Iowa law professor David C. Baldus. He concluded that all individuals convicted of murdering whites were far more likely to receive the death penalty. In its 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled the defense failed to show evidence of deliberate bias by law officials and dismissed the data on disparities in sentencing as inevitable in the criminal justice system. Noting that the decision “affirmed institutionalized racial disparities” in the capital punishment system, Maratea examines the force of “old habits of mind and racial attitudes” going back to the Civil War era. He finds that “capital punishment has borne a close resemblance to lynching in Georgia, where more extralegal executions of black Americans occurred than in any other state.” As lynchings declined in the 20th-century South, “the infliction of the death penalty by the courts increased,” according to historian William S. McFeely.

Provocative reading for anyone concerned about the intersection of race and capital punishment.

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4798-8860-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: New York Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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