Current Affairs Book Reviews (page 497)

BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

"Impressive research and a clear message—if somewhat tedious in the telling."
An earnest dissertation on environmentalism as a complex social movement that began in response to industrialization, urbanization, and the closing of the frontier. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

"A revealing glimpse of an American institution in transition. (Photographs)"
The publisher is trumpeting how Kessler's revelations here of William Sessions's abuses of office led to the former FBI director's dismissal—but those revelations form only one small part of Kessler's comprehensive, largely approving examination of how today's FBI emerged from the shadow of J. Edgar Hoover. Read full book review >

UNFINISHED CONQUEST by Victor Perera
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

"A harrowing study of our hemisphere's own killing fields- -admirably written, painstakingly researched. (Twenty-eight photographs—not seen)"
Shattering examination of Guatemala's bloody civil war, combining oral history, investigative journalism, personal narrative, and ethnography. Read full book review >
WORTH IT ALL by Jim Wright
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

"Perhaps—but there's no question that Wright's memoir offers much stimulating food for thought. (First printing of 25,000)"
Provocative tale of US Latin-American policy, by a major participant. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

"Fourteen fugitive pieces by a major novelist deserve some attention, if only to illuminate his far superior fiction."
A miscellaneous collection of nonfiction that will do little to enhance Doctorow's reputation as a writer. Read full book review >

SEXUAL VIOLENCE by Linda A. Fairstein
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 24, 1993

"A very strong and complete education in this singularly repugnant crime. (For another, not quite so compelling, memoir of prosecuting rape, see Alice Vachss's Sex Crimes, p. 585) (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen) (First serial to Glamour and Cosmopolitan)"
Gripping depiction of the prosecutor's view of rape, by the current head of Manhattan's Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 22, 1993

"A brilliant young contrarian voice, Ö la Mary McCarthy. (First serial to The New York Times Magazine)"
A gifted young Princeton University graduate student, daughter of novelist Anne Roiphe, defies current campus-based feminist assumptions, questioning the phenomena of date rape, hate speech, ``Take Back the Night'' marches, and the basis for the popularity of feminist legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon (see above). Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 21, 1993

"A delightfully witty complement to Ved Mehta's Up at Oxford (p. 841), full of anecdotes and food for thought."
An agreeable account of a year spent studying at Cambridge and Oxford. Read full book review >
FIDEL CASTRO by Robert E. Quirk
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 20, 1993

"A balanced, well-written, and definitive examination of the long, turbulent, and often unheroic career of the architect of Cuba's revolution. (Photographs)"
In a vivid, fascinating portrait of Cuba's ``Maximum Leader,'' Quirk (The Mexican Revolution and the Catholic Church, 1910-29, 1973, etc.—not reviewed) traces Castro's evolution from marginalized radical to Communist dictator. Read full book review >
LEAVING BIRMINGHAM by Paul Hemphill
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 15, 1993

"A moving record of a painful personal journey toward acceptance of a deeply flawed parent and place. (Sixteen b&w photos)"
Timed for the 30th anniversary of Birmingham's infamous summer of racial violence: a memoir from Birmingham native son Hemphill that's as much about two men—his father and himself—as about the mind-set of a particular city. Read full book review >
LIAISON by Joyce Wadler
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 15, 1993

"Compelling and faintly bittersweet. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen)"
High-class retelling of the real-life affair behind the mistaken-sex plot of M. Butterfly. Read full book review >
FRENCH LESSONS by Alice Kaplan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 15, 1993

"The major impression Kaplan gives here is of how very interesting life can be to a French professor, especially at a time when French intellectuals dominate academic critical thought— making this enjoyable reading for Francophiles, perhaps, but not for many others."
``What do students need to know about their teachers?'' asks Kaplan (French Literature/Duke; Reproductions of Banality, 1986, etc.—not reviewed): ``How do I tell them who I am, why I read the way I do?'' Here, the author is thinking of the mysteries of her own teacher, Paul de Man—but her memoir, though artful, hasn't the intellectual force or interest of de Man's writing. 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 >