Current Affairs Book Reviews

THE NEW THREAT by Jason Burke
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"General readers looking for a comprehensive guide to this serious global challenge will find this a rewarding, if sobering, read."
A concise summary of the background and present state of Islamic militancy. Read full book review >
THE PLANET REMADE by Oliver Morton
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"An important account of cutting-edge research that will fascinate serious readers and demand the attention of policymakers."
Economist briefings editor Morton (Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet, 2008, etc.) offers a calm, rational discussion of deliberate technological interventions to cool the planet's climate system.Read full book review >

Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"Winchester's passionate research—on sea and land—undergirds this superb analysis of a world wonder that we seem hellbent on damaging."
The preternaturally curious writer about everything from the Oxford English Dictionary to volcanoes to the Atlantic Ocean (Atlantic: A Vast Ocean of a Million Stories, 2010, etc.) returns with a series of high-resolution literary snapshots of the Pacific Ocean.Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 19, 2015

"Goliath takes it right between the eyes in this unique take on the convoluted politics, science, and cultural issues at stake regarding fracking."
Out of the university and into the streets, Briggle (Philosophy/Univ. of North Texas) brings the practice of "field philosophy" to the question of whether fracking is feckless or feasible. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"Ross provides a learned, wise template for understanding the long-term relationship between two countries tethered to one another out of shared self-interest and geopolitical necessity and yet with sometimes-conflicting senses of the way forward."
A history of the sometimes-fraught, occasionally tense, but always essential relationship between the United States and Israel. Read full book review >

THE LAWS OF MEDICINE by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A splendid exploration of how medicine might be transformed."
Oncologist and Pulitzer Prize winner Mukherjee (Medicine/Columbia Univ.; The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, 2010) skillfully dives into the hidden side of medicine in this elaboration of the author's 18-minute TED talk.Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2015

"Serious readers will delight in these pages."
An unusually rewarding meditation on how a wild mushroom can help us see the world's ruined condition after the advent of modern capitalism. Read full book review >
THE NEW TSAR by Steven Lee Myers
Released: Sept. 29, 2015

"A highly effective portrait of a frighteningly powerful autocrat."
The reptilian, poker-faced former KGB agent, now Russian president seemingly for life, earns a fair, engaging treatment in the hands of New York Times journalist Myers.Read full book review >
BLACK FLAGS by Joby Warrick
Released: Sept. 29, 2015

"Warrick stops short of offering policy solutions, but he provides a valuable, readable introduction to a pressing international security threat."
Crisply written, chilling account of the personalities behind the emergence of the Islamic State, or ISIS. Read full book review >
A STREET DIVIDED by Dion Nissenbaum
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"A must-read for anyone interested in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian drama."
The revealing story of a street "at the epicenter of one of the world's most intractable conflicts." Read full book review >
EMPIRE OF FEAR by Andrew Hosken
Released: Sept. 15, 2015

"A tremendously useful, insightful study of the frightening spread of a culture of death."
An exploration of the spreading terror of the self-proclaimed new caliphate. Read full book review >
LET THERE BE WATER by Seth M. Siegel
Released: Sept. 15, 2015

"A major contribution to this hotly debated issue and to broader questions of environmental policy.
An in-depth report on how Israel has combined technological innovation with conservation to achieve a water surplus at home and become a world leader in water management. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Jason Gay
November 17, 2015

In the 1990s, copies of Richard Carlson’s Don't Sweat the Small Stuff (and its many sequels) were seemingly everywhere, giving readers either the confidence to prioritize their stresses or despondence over the slender volume’s not addressing their particular set of problems. While not the first book of its kind, it kicked open the door for an industry of self-help, worry-reduction advice guides. In his first book, Little Victories, Wall Street Journal sports columnist Gay takes less of a guru approach, though he has drawn an audience of readers appreciative of reportage that balances insights with a droll, self-deprecating outlook. He occasionally focuses his columns on “the Rules” (of Thanksgiving family touch football, the gym, the office holiday party, etc.), which started as a genial poke in the eye at the proliferation of self-help books and, over time, came to explore actual advice “both practical and ridiculous” and “neither perfect nor universal.” The author admirably combines those elements in every piece in the book. View video >