Current Affairs Book Reviews

Of Literary Circles and Nightingales by Radka Yakimov
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 1, 2016

"A compact, but wideranging tale of dislocation in Sofia."
Yakimov (Ashes of Wars, 2011, etc.) tells the story of several interconnected people in Bulgaria in this novel. Read full book review >
HOW EVERYTHING BECAME WAR AND THE MILITARY BECAME EVERYTHING by Rosa Brooks
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"Legal theorists and policymakers will approve the scholarship and close analysis; general readers will appreciate the sensitive storytelling, the wit, and the uncommon good sense."
A former senior Defense Department adviser explores the military's expanded role in a time when the lines between war and peace are dangerously blurred. 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 >
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"Solid reporting combined with engaging stories—even about campaign finance reform."
A blistering account of concerted Republican efforts to quiet the political voices of minorities, students, and the poor. Read full book review >
RUTHLESS by Ron Miscavige
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 3, 2016

"A sad and painful but bravely told story. Acknowledging his son's mistakes and hoping things will change, the author concludes, 'David, I forgive you.'"
A father's nightmarish account of the Church of Scientology's transformation into a "coercive" cult under the authoritarian leadership of his son, David Miscavige. Read full book review >

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 15, 2016

"Pungent, embittered, eye-opening observations of a conflict involving lessons still unlearned."
A scathing dispatch from an embedded journalist in Afghanistan. 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 >
RAMPAGE NATION by Louis Klarevas
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"A deeply researched, clearly written study that educates while it horrifies."
Klarevas (Global Affairs/Univ. of Massachusetts-Boston) shares his research showing that mass shootings are more common than widely believed but can be decreased by addressing the conditions common to all the massacres. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 28, 2016

"A cogent, detailed policy review, effectively studded with first-person recollections, that probably won't sway Obama's conservative critics."
A measured insider's account of President Barack Obama's foreign policy, arguing that the very aspects that bring conservative derision represent subtle, long-term strengths. Read full book review >
ANGELA MERKEL by Matthew Qvortrup
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 1, 2016

"This eye-opening biography, drawing from rich behind-the-scenes knowledge, is necessary reading for anyone who wants to broaden his or her perspective on the world today."
A biography of German Chancellor Angela Merkel (b. 1954) that provides insight and clarity into Germany's often underreported role in shaping the European political landscape. Read full book review >
INVISIBLE MAN, GOT THE WHOLE WORLD WATCHING by Mychal Denzel Smith
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 14, 2016

"Realizing that he has more questions than answers, Smith cautiously sketches a useful blueprint for radical and intersectional politics in a country where a black child can grow up to be president but where living while black is still dangerous."
As black men are cut down by the police and self-appointed vigilantes, an activist wrestles with competing claims—from his family and community, his historically black university, the media, and white America—on his blackness and how it is to be lived. Read full book review >
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: June 14, 2016

"Stern's T-shirt slogan puts it well: 'It's really not that complicated.' Pipe dream it may be, but this is a book eminently worth talking about."
Want pie in the sky? How about convincing Americans to accept the "almost un-American" premise of a guaranteed income for all? Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Fernanda Santos
author of THE FIRE LINE
May 17, 2016

When a bolt of lightning ignited a hilltop in the sleepy town of Yarnell, Arizona, in June 2013, setting off a blaze that would grow into one of the deadliest fires in American history, the 20 men who made up the Granite Mountain Hotshots sprang into action. New York Times writer Fernanda Santos’ debut book The Fire Line is the story of the fire and the Hotshots’ attempts to extinguish it. An elite crew trained to combat the most challenging wildfires, the Hotshots were a ragtag family, crisscrossing the American West and wherever else the fires took them. There's Eric Marsh, their devoted and demanding superintendent who turned his own personal demons into lessons he used to mold, train and guide his crew; Jesse Steed, their captain, a former Marine, a beast on the fire line and a family man who wasn’t afraid to say “I love you” to the firemen he led; Andrew Ashcraft, a team leader still in his 20s who struggled to balance his love for his beautiful wife and four children and his passion for fighting wildfires. We see this band of brothers at work, at play and at home, until a fire that burned in their own backyards leads to a national tragedy. View video >