Current Affairs Book Reviews

AUDACITY by Jonathan Chait
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 17, 2017

"Chait offers a well-organized, clearly written case that will be valuable to future historians in their assessments. The question is whether readers with different opinions about Obama's performance will alter those opinions."
A cogent argument that President Barack Obama has mostly succeeded in implementing his agenda. Read full book review >
REFINERY TOWN by Steve Early
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Jan. 17, 2017

"A specific tale of governance at the local level that should appeal to labor activists and scholars of urban studies."
In Richmond, California, overlooking scenic San Francisco Bay, is a company town bankrolled by Chevron. A resident reports, in some detail, on his town's fraught governance. Read full book review >

THE ART OF BEING FREE by James Poulos
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 17, 2017

"Provocative assertions buried in a confusing presentation."
A journalist expands on Alexis de Tocqueville's cultural critiques of American life. Read full book review >
NO WALL TOO HIGH by Xu Hongci
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 17, 2017

"An often harrowing, valuable account for students of daily life in the early years of the period culminating in China's little-documented civil war of the 1970s."
An early victim of Mao Zedong's totalitarian regime is swept up in a time of terror. Read full book review >
HOW AMERICA LOST ITS SECRETS by Edward Jay Epstein
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 17, 2017

"A wild and harrowing detective story and impressively evenhanded portrait of a very sticky case."
A nuanced portrait of the government contractor who absconded with top-secret National Security Agency documents in May 2013. Read full book review >

TEARS WE CANNOT STOP by Michael Eric Dyson
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 17, 2017

"The readership Dyson addresses may not fully be convinced, but it can hardly remain unmoved by his fiery prose."
The provocateur-scholar returns to the pulpit to deliver a hard-hitting sermon on the racial divide, directed specifically to a white congregation. Read full book review >
THE WEAPON WIZARDS by Yaakov Katz
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 17, 2017

"An enlightening look into one of the less-familiar corners of the modern military world."
Two Israeli journalists look at how their country has become an innovator in battlefield technology. Read full book review >
MODERATES by David S. Brown
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 16, 2017

"While mainly for specialists, this provocative and obviously timely analysis is an important reminder of the role that reason and compromise have played in bridging the gap between political extremes."
The moderate tradition in American politics. Read full book review >
AMERICAN HOOKUP by Lisa Wade
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 10, 2017

"An eye-opening, conversation-starting examination of sex on the American college campus."
How and why American college students are engaging in nonintimate one-night stands. Read full book review >
A WORLD IN DISARRAY by Richard Haass
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 10, 2017

"A highly learned but sometimes-ponderous survey that will appeal to policy wonks. For most readers, a long-form essay would have sufficed."
A public policy insider mines the nuances of states' sovereignty and legitimacy in an increasingly unstable world. Read full book review >
THE NEW ODYSSEY by Patrick Kingsley
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 10, 2017

"A powerful firsthand account of a crisis that will continue to receive even more attention in the years to come."
Bravely following the refugee crisis from the Middle East to the European Union as it gains volume and urgency. Read full book review >
OUR BODIES, OUR DATA by Adam Tanner
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Jan. 10, 2017

"A thorough report, carefully researched and well-documented, aimed at both general readers and policymakers."
A disturbing look at the threat to privacy created by the lucrative and growing health care data-mining industry. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Clinton Kelly
January 9, 2017

Bestselling author and television host Clinton Kelly’s memoir I Hate Everyone Except You is a candid, deliciously snarky collection of essays about his journey from awkward kid to slightly-less-awkward adult. Clinton Kelly is probably best known for teaching women how to make their butts look smaller. But in I Hate Everyone, Except You, he reveals some heretofore-unknown secrets about himself, like that he’s a finicky connoisseur of 1980s pornography, a disillusioned critic of New Jersey’s premier water parks, and perhaps the world’s least enthused high-school commencement speaker. Whether he’s throwing his baby sister in the air to jumpstart her cheerleading career or heroically rescuing his best friend from death by mud bath, Clinton leaps life’s social hurdles with aplomb. With his signature wit, he shares his unique ability to navigate the stickiest of situations, like deciding whether it’s acceptable to eat chicken wings with a fork on live television (spoiler: it’s not). “A thoroughly light and entertaining memoir,” our critic writes. View video >