Current Affairs Book Reviews

THE ROAD TAKEN by Henry Petroski
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"Anyone with an interest in the way things work will want this book—and will doubtless emerge as a fan of the ever curious author."
Noted engineer and writer Petroski (Civil Engineering/Duke Univ.; To Forgive Design: Understanding Failure, 2012, etc.) gives readers a characteristically eye-opening look at America's infrastructure.Read full book review >
AND THEN ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE by Richard Engel
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 19, 2016

"An intriguing journalistic memoir built around a lucid, alarming overview of where the Middle East has been and where it is heading."
A deft personal account of a career spent reporting from the Middle East, witnessing the evaporation of peace and stability. Read full book review >

SMALL DATA by Martin Lindstrom
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"Lindstrom's uncanny ability to detect and decipher seemingly unrelated clues will inspire reporters and detectives as well as companies looking for ways to develop new products and ideas."
A leading marketing guru recounts his firsthand experiences investigating the lives of consumers to develop global branding strategies. Read full book review >
THE FIGHT TO VOTE by Michael Waldman
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"A timely contribution to the discussion of a crucial issue."
A history of the right to vote in America. Read full book review >
AMERICAN GIRLS by Nancy Jo Sales
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"For parents with young daughters, this book is an ice-cold, important wake-up call."
What happens to teenage girls when their social lives play out online? Read full book review >

BLOOD YEAR by David Kilcullen
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 29, 2016

"Direct, insightful, and frightening, this book will prepare readers to see through the misguided, simplistic solutions to the problems of Middle Eastern policy and Islamic terror so common in this election year."
A "mid-level player in some of the key events of the past decade" delivers a dispassionate, discouraging analysis of how the Western counterterrorism effort has gone so terribly wrong. Read full book review >
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: March 1, 2016

"The authors are necessarily forceful, and they offer a well-written must-read for those ready to give up hope about politics and government in the United States."
An examination of how "the rapid proliferation of a system akin to oligarchy—within our own country—threatens to cripple our march forward." Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 1, 2016

"A worthwhile contribution to our ongoing national debate about the balance between national security and privacy and about the line between sedition and dissent."
Who poses the greater threat to the United States: the spymasters and their "enormous power" or the leakers "who occasionally expose them?" Read full book review >
EVICTED by Matthew Desmond
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: March 1, 2016

"This stunning, remarkable book—a scholar's 21st-century How the Other Half Lives—demands a wide audience."
A groundbreaking work on the central role of housing in the lives of the poor. Read full book review >
THROWING ROCKS AT THE GOOGLE BUS by Douglas Rushkoff
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: March 1, 2016

"A powerful exposé of an underdiscussed downside to the digital revolution."
Rushkoff (Theory and Digital Economics/CUNY, Queens; Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now, 2013, etc.) looks behind marketing hype to examine the nexus of digital technology and the economy.Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 2016

"A must-read for military buffs and a should-read for anyone who has given even a cursory thought to the U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq."
The search for the story behind an IED death leads to the history of the post-9/11 wars and the lives of the men and women who fight them. Read full book review >
THE END OF KARMA by Somini Sengupta
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 7, 2016

"A compelling portrait of what will soon be the world's most populous nation, one on the verge of great change—for better or worse."
India's young population is growing dramatically, writes Indian-American journalist Sengupta—and it's growing impatient with the roadblocks its elders have erected. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >