Current Affairs Book Reviews

GIVE US THE BALLOT by Ari Berman
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"Not just a compelling history, but a cry for help in the recurring struggle to gain what is supposed to be an inalienable right."
An incisive look at the many issues surrounding the right to vote. Read full book review >
DOING GOOD BETTER by William MacAskill
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"Highly useful guidelines to finding the perfect charity worthy of your money."
How to determine which charities are the best to support. Read full book review >

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"For a country that uses standardized testing more than any other in the world, this skills-based model represents a shift in thinking that could very well establish a shift in results."
Embedded with teachers on the front lines of education, Mother Jones education reporter Rizga delivers a firsthand report on a "failing" school system.Read full book review >
THE BORN FREES by Kimberly Burge
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 3, 2015

"An affecting portrait of post-apartheid South Africa, particularly useful for writing instructors serving at-risk constituencies."
Journalist Burge recounts a sojourn in a township outside Cape Town working with a writing group called Amazw'Entombi, or "Voices of the Girls."Read full book review >
DANCING WITH THE DEVIL IN THE CITY OF GOD by Juliana Barbassa
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 28, 2015

"Energetic, intrepid reporting by an insider."
Frank, fluid dispatches from her hometown by an Associated Press correspondent relocated to Rio de Janeiro just as the city was supposed to be poised for greatness—or was it? Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 28, 2015

"Occasionally uneven, but an impassioned and honest memoir from an author determined to prove himself worthy."
This story of the personal struggle of an undocumented alien underscores the need for comprehensive immigration reform. Read full book review >
UNMANNED by William M. Arkin
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: July 28, 2015

"This well-informed but quirky analysis of the development of drone warfare and its ongoing effect on the nation's military strategy is the latest lament for the disappearance of personal honor and valor from warfare that began in 1914."
"I see drones and the Data Machine they serve…as the greatest threat to our national security, our safety, and our very way of life," writes journalist Arkin (American Coup: How a Terrified Government Is Destroying the Constitution, 2013, etc.) in this idiosyncratic survey of the American military's use of drones, from the war in Bosnia to the present day.Read full book review >
A THOUSAND MILES TO FREEDOM by Eunsun Kim
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 21, 2015

"An urgent cry for compassion for the author's fellow North Koreans, trapped and strangled of liberty and life."
A sobering account of survival of the fittest in North Korea by a young woman on the run for nearly a decade. Read full book review >
BEING BERLUSCONI by Michael Day
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 21, 2015

"As entertaining and shocking as one would hope for, but the book leaves readers with more questions than answers."
In the first comprehensive examination of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's life and career, Independent Italy correspondent Day paints a lively but noncomplex picture of an ambitious and deeply flawed man in a system that accommodated his numerous vices.Read full book review >
CIRCLING THE SQUARE by Wendell Steavenson
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: July 21, 2015

"An intensive firsthand exploration of modern Egyptian liberation and solidarity."
Impassioned coverage from the front lines of a historic Middle Eastern uprising. Read full book review >
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: July 16, 2015

"A practical overview of the untapped potentials of a substantial part of the economy."
An argument against bringing large corporations to local communities through tax incentives and grants, an approach the author claims is destructive to employment and investment. Read full book review >
NORTH KOREA UNDERCOVER by John Sweeney
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: July 15, 2015

"In a carefully footnoted and documented work, Sweeney has done his homework, though the snide tone grates."
The mocking account of an English investigative journalist's undercover visit to North Korea underscores the fact that the dire state is no laughing matter. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Sabaa Tahir
August 4, 2015

Sabaa Tahir’s novel An Ember in the Ashes reveals a world inspired by ancient Rome and defined by brutality. Seventeen-year-old Laia has grown up with one rule for survival: Never challenge the Empire. But when Laia’s brother Darin is arrested for treason, she leaves behind everything she knows, risking her life to try and save him. She enlists help from the rebels whose extensive underground network may lead to Darin. Their help comes with a price, though. Laia must infiltrate the Empire’s greatest military academy as a spy. Elias is the Empire’s finest soldier—and its most unwilling one. Thrown together by chance and united by their hatred of the Empire, Laia and Elias will soon discover that their fates are intertwined—and that their choices may change the destiny of the entire Empire. We talk to An Ember in the Ashes author Sabaa Tahir this week on Kirkus TV. View video >