Current Affairs Book Reviews

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: July 22, 2016

"An elucidating, nuanced study of gender and feminist dynamics perfect for our current political moment."
A timely study of gender and media that reaches back before the present American election to earlier delineations of white manhood and presidential power. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: July 19, 2016

"The book reads like an extended game of Trivial Pursuit, featuring some who play very well and many more who play very poorly."
The story of the dumbing-down of the American brain, as we have all become increasingly dependent on letting our computers think for us. Read full book review >

THE END OF WHITE CHRISTIAN AMERICA by Robert P. Jones
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: July 12, 2016

"A missed opportunity to explore an important cultural change in the making."
A pundit considers the decline of Christian religious influence on American politics and culture. Read full book review >
HOW THE WORLD BREAKS by Stan Cox
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 12, 2016

"Though short on a clear thesis, the book is strong on examples of human adaptation in the face of catastrophe."
A frightening, from-the-trenches overview of "natural" and man-made disasters—and responses to them—across the globe. Read full book review >
BRAZILLIONAIRES by Alex Cuadros
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: July 12, 2016

"Well-rounded and -researched portraits of the staggering chasm between rich and poor in Brazil."
On the trail of enormous wealth in Brazil—an engine of national progress or a trench of impoverishment? Read full book review >

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: July 12, 2016

"A breezy, informative profile on foreign service that serves as an inviting primer for prospective diplomats and their admirers."
A career diplomat uses embassy cables to describe the complex lives of foreign service officers. Read full book review >
ALMIGHTY by Dan Zak
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: July 12, 2016

"A scrupulously reported, gracefully told, exquisitely paced debut."
Centering on a single episode, a powerful declaration of conscience,a Washington Post reporter tells an intensely unsettling story about living with our nuclear arsenal. Read full book review >
BLUFF by Anjum Hoda
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: July 12, 2016

"Sound post-Keynesian economic reasoning well argued—a book that one hopes, against the odds, the heads of the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England will entertain."
A financial cri de coeur from a banking insider. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: July 12, 2016

"A provocative yet grounded look at the U.S. food industry. Though the prospect of finding quality food products may prove increasingly challenging for most consumers, Olmsted provides encouraging tips to help navigate the many obstacles."
An investigation of the American food industry, providing examples of authentic and fraudulent products and how best to differentiate between the two. Read full book review >
THE GRID by Gretchen Bakke
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: July 12, 2016

"A lively analysis of the challenges renewables present to the production and distribution of electricity."
A primer on the challenges facing a power industry in transition. Read full book review >
THE DRONE EATS WITH ME by Atef Abu Saif
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 5, 2016

"Readers able to put aside the larger picture of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will find here a very human, up-close, and personal picture of war."
A searing memoir of daily life in Gaza from July 6 to Aug. 26, 2014, when the territory was under constant bombardment by Israel. Read full book review >
OBAMA'S GUANTÁNAMO by Jonathan Hafetz
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: July 5, 2016

"An alarming and important indictment of Obama's ineffectual approach to one of his signature campaign issues and of America's tarnished system of justice as a whole."
As Barack Obama's presidency comes to a close, lawyers who defend inmates at Guantánamo assess his broken promise to close the prison and the legacy he will leave. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Nancy Isenberg
author of WHITE TRASH
July 19, 2016

Poor Americans have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement. They were alternately known as “waste people,” “offals,” “rubbish,” “lazy lubbers,” and “crackers.” By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called “clay eaters” and “sandhillers,” known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds. Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over 400 years, in White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, Nancy Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. “A riveting thesis supported by staggering research,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >