Current Affairs Book Reviews

THE GREAT DIVIDE by Joseph E. Stiglitz
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: April 20, 2015

"Smart, sometimes-stinging prose that rejects the doctrines of strangled government and artificial austerity, doctrines that require us to 'pay a high economic price for our growing inequality and declining opportunity.'"
Nobel Prize-winning economist Stiglitz (The Price of Inequality, 2012, etc.) examines some of the macro dollars-and-cents issues that separate the haves from the have-nots—and money is just of them. Read full book review >
BORDER ODYSSEY by Charles D. Thompson, Jr.
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 15, 2015

"A potent cri de coeur for a more compassionate, sane and humane border policy."
An exploration of 2,000 miles of fraught, rugged and deeply contested territory. Read full book review >

COAL WARS by Richard Martin
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 14, 2015

"Martin is unequivocal and persuasive: The best use of coal is in holiday stockings."
Coal will never stop blighting our planet, writes energy analyst Martin (SuperFuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the Future, 2012), and its good riddance can't come too soon.Read full book review >
FATEFUL TIES by Gordon H. Chang
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 13, 2015

"An intriguing exploration of a significant, if peculiar, aspect of American history."
Christopher Columbus carried a letter of introduction from his Spanish sovereigns to China's emperor. Thus, the discovery of America was an accidental consequence of the European desire to reach the riches of Asia. Read full book review >
DEMOCRACY IN THE DARK by Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr.
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 7, 2015

"A thorough, if sometimes discursive and loosely organized, presentation of a complex problem that is unfortunately lacking specific suggestions for solutions beyond a call for a general change in attitudes."
An exploration of the growth of American government secrecy. Read full book review >

EPIC MEASURES by Jeremy N. Smith
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 7, 2015

"A fascinating account of a charismatic visionary who successfully battles the convoluted politics of international health bureaucracies."
Smith (Growing a Garden City, 2010) a freelance journalist who covers health and environmental issues for Discover, the Chicago Tribune and other leading publications, chronicles an ambitious project to collect comparative data on global health issues.Read full book review >
MICHELLE OBAMA by Peter Slevin
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 7, 2015

"Slevin delivers a somewhat fawning portrait, but when necessary, he is willing to criticize and reveal his subject's missteps."
A Chicago-based journalist probes the fortunate yet humble upbringing of the first lady and, in a tedious refrain, her effective blackness. Read full book review >
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: April 7, 2015

"An intriguing report on unusual objectives pursued through outreach and debate."
Proceedings from the 2010 Mind & Life Institute conference, featuring dialogue with the Dalai Lama. Read full book review >
DRIVING THE FUTURE by Margo Oge
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 7, 2015

"An exhaustive, occasionally exhausting look at the long and winding road to a smart car future."
Environmental Protection Agency insider Oge meticulously recounts the political battles that have cleared the way for more intelligent, fuel-efficient transportation. Read full book review >
THE UNRAVELING by Emma Sky
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 7, 2015

"One might call the events Sky describes as a comedy of errors, except that there's nothing comedic about it. A tragedy of errors, then, crisply recounted by one who was there."
A grimly clinical assessment by a former high-ranking adviser of the "modern-day Crusade of ideologues and idealists" who drove the United States invasion of Iraq—to say nothing of their "ignorance, arrogance, and naivety." Read full book review >
WEED THE PEOPLE by Bruce Barcott
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 7, 2015

"Will the rest of the country follow suit? To judge by Barcott's useful book, you'd do well not to bet against it."
Journalist Barcott (The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman's Fight to Save the World's Most Beautiful Bird, 2008, etc.) goes on a long, strange trip to document the changing fortunes of Big Dope.Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 7, 2015

"A cautionary, timely gay rights manifesto with teeth."
The noted outspoken gay journalist and radio host passionately appeals to the gay community to resist complacency in the struggle for equality. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Luis Alberto Urrea
April 21, 2015

Examining the borders between one nation and another, between one person and another, Luis Alberto Urrea’s latest story collection, The Water Museum, reveals his mastery of the short form. This collection includes the Edgar-award winning "Amapola" and his now-classic "Bid Farewell to Her Many Horses," which had the honor of being chosen for NPR's "Selected Shorts" not once but twice. Urrea has also recently published a poetry collection, Tijuana Book of the Dead, mixing lyricism and colloquial voices, mysticism and the daily grind. We talk to Urrea about both of his new books this week on Kirkus TV. View video >