Current Affairs Book Reviews

THE COMPLACENT CLASS by Tyler Cowen
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Feb. 28, 2017

"A book that will undoubtedly stir discussion—as many of Cowen's books do—with readers divided about how they stand based on where they currently sit."
An influential economist seeks to persuade readers that American citizens have gotten overly complacent, that a crisis point is near, and that a widespread rebellion may alter the existing order. Read full book review >
FAST-FOOD KIDS by Amy L. Best
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 28, 2017

"The book may be useful for sociology teachers and students, but general readers and policymakers will find this tough to digest."
A cultural analysis of what kids eat and why. Read full book review >

THE HOME THAT WAS OUR COUNTRY by Alia Malek
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 28, 2017

"Provocative, richly detailed reading."
A Syrian-American journalist/civil rights lawyer interweaves narratives about her family with the history of modern Syria. Read full book review >
LOWER ED by Tressie McMillan Cottom
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Feb. 28, 2017

"Cottom does a good job of making the name 'Lower Ed' stick, and she makes a solid case for reviewing the entire system of higher education for openness of opportunity."
An informal sociological study of diploma mills and their often ripped-off discontents. Read full book review >
ILLUSION OF JUSTICE by Jerome F.  Buting
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 28, 2017

"A fantastic look behind the scenes of the U.S. justice system."
A defense attorney from the trial made famous in Making a Murderer tells his story. Read full book review >

WHY I AM NOT A FEMINIST by Jessa Crispin
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 21, 2017

"Forget busting glass ceilings. Crispin has taken a wrecking ball to the whole structure."
A taut and spirited attack on contemporary mainstream feminism. Read full book review >
UNWARRANTED by Barry Friedman
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 21, 2017

"At once creative and conservative, Friedman offers a timely blueprint for recovering democratic control of local and national law enforcement."
A law professor diagnoses the ills of American policing and prescribes a healthy dose of sunlight. Read full book review >
CAPTURED by Sheldon Whitehouse
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Feb. 21, 2017

"The book reads more like a Democrat's attack on Republicans, but many of the ills it illuminates are bipartisan."
A United States senator argues that "there is virtually no element of the political landscape into which corporate influence has not intruded." Read full book review >
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Feb. 21, 2017

"A jargon-heavy, superficial primer on altered states tuned to a specific audience."
Two researchers survey the various ways that human beings alter their consciousness to improve performance. Read full book review >
TRUMP'S AMERICA by Scott Dikkers
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 21, 2017

"Sure to appeal to Onion fans and anyone unhappy with our current president."
A founding editor of the Onion provides a satirical guide to surviving Donald Trump's America. Read full book review >
WHISTLEBLOWER AT THE CIA by Melvin A. Goodman
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 15, 2017

"The causes of Goodman's vitriol are indeed worrisome, but his countless repetitions grow wearisome."
A former CIA analyst (1966-1990) deplores what he argues is the increasing deleterious politicization of the agency. Read full book review >
GLASS HOUSE by Brian Alexander
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Feb. 14, 2017

"A devastating and illuminating book that shows how a city and a country got where they are and how difficult it can be to reverse course."
A journalist examines how corporate America and the politics enabling it have corroded an Ohio city to its very foundation. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Yoojin Grace Wuertz
February 27, 2017

In Yoojin Grace Wuertz’s debut novel Everything Belongs to Us, the setting is Seoul in 1978. At South Korea’s top university, the nation’s best and brightest compete to join the professional elite of an authoritarian regime. Success could lead to a life of rarefied privilege and wealth; failure means being left irrevocably behind. For childhood friends Jisun and Namin, the stakes couldn’t be more different. Jisun, the daughter of a powerful business mogul, grew up on a mountainside estate with lush gardens and a dedicated chauffeur. Namin’s parents run a tented food cart from dawn to curfew; her sister works in a shoe factory. Now Jisun wants as little to do with her father’s world as possible, abandoning her schoolwork in favor of the underground activist movement, while Namin studies tirelessly in the service of one goal: to launch herself and her family out of poverty. But everything changes when Jisun and Namin meet an ambitious, charming student named Sunam, whose need to please his family has led him to a prestigious club: the Circle. Under the influence of his mentor, Juno, a manipulative social climber, Sunam becomes entangled with both women, as they all make choices that will change their lives forever. “Engrossing,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. “Wuertz is an important new voice in American fiction.” View video >