Current Affairs Book Reviews (page 499)

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

A first-person account of how a nuclear-powered principal saved a Philadelphia school in a collapsing inner-city neighborhood. Read full book review >
CHARACTER FIRST by Joseph W. Gauld
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Hyde's program is worthy—but a plethora of patting-our-own- back anecdotes, as well as accolades from parents and former students, make this more testimonial than guidebook."
Louisa May Alcott would applaud the Hyde School experiment as outlined in this history by its founder and former headmaster. Read full book review >

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"An intriguing take on fourth-estate paragons who appear better able to cast stones than to fend them off. (Photographs—not seen)"
It's a rule of thumb that journalists tend to run for cover when under scrutiny—and the high-profile media icons who won The Washington Post a Pulitzer for their Watergate reporting are apparently no exceptions to the rule. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Of some interest to urban historians, but slow-going for general readers. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen)"
As crammed with facts and figures as a rush-hour express is with passengers, this history of the New York subway system stalls time and again. Read full book review >
AN EVIL CRADLING by Brian Keenan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Harrowing; exalting; unforgettable."
A hostage memoir unlike any other—because from the nearly unimaginable degradations that Keenan, a working-class Irishman, suffered for four and a half years at the hands of Muslim extremists, he's woven not only a compelling tale of endurance but an indelible testament to, as he puts it, ``the richness, perhaps even enchantment, of humanity.'' In 1986, Keenan, then 36 and teaching in Beirut, was snatched by Shi'ite gunmen—an act he describes in the kind of penetrative detail that distinguishes his narrative: ``I noticed two of [the gunmen] breathing very fast. Read full book review >

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"An impressive document that will interest WW II buffs, historians, and anyone who likes a tale of hands-on derring-do."
Exciting OSS/Serbo-Croatian adventure circa 1944, by Lindsay (Associate/Harvard's Center for International Affairs). Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Abraham doesn't pretend to have the answers—but she illuminates the problems with passion and skill."
Cool yet compassionate eyewitness report of an inner-city black family's struggle to cope with sickness and poverty. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"An engrossing look at a shadowy area of American life—and the dark underbelly of the Reagan years. (Eight pages of photographs)"
A startling portrayal of life at the frayed edges of the American Dream—of drag shows, transvestite hustlers, teenage hookers, flophouses—and murder most foul. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"While the author says little here about his private life, his episodic recollections of a news-gathering career in the world's combat zones and boondocks make for an absorbing chronicle. (Sixteen pages of photographs—not seen)"
A top foreign correspondent's anecdotal memoir that, despite its ramshackle structure, affords many pleasures and not a few surprises. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Levy does a service in pointing out that prosecutions of people on religious grounds aren't unthinkable—and indeed sometimes still occur."
In an eloquent, monumental study that retraces some of the ground covered in his Treason Against God (1981), Levy (Humanities/Claremont Graduate School; Original Intent and the Framers' Constitution, 1988) recounts the often shameful history in the West of ``the suppression of freedom of expression in the field of religious belief and experience.'' Although Levy focuses on the development of the concept, plus the common law, of blasphemy in the Anglo-American tradition, he covers the evolution of the offense everywhere in Judeo-Christian thought through the Reformation (Christian thinkers, he says, expanded the technical ancient Jewish understanding of blasphemy to encompass idolatry, heresy, sacrilege, and related offenses of nonconformist thinking). Read full book review >
ONLY WORDS by Catharine A. MacKinnon
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Although MacKinnon's passionate conviction sometimes causes her ideas to elide and her logic to blur, the ideas are original and gripping, her references are wide-ranging, her legal logic is provocative—and her latest is must reading for anyone interested in either fairness or free speech."
Three passionate, intellectually fascinating essays, each arguing an aspect of the case that sexual words and pictures may by their nature be bannable, even though they may also be Constitutionally protected speech—by University of Michigan law professor and noted feminist legal scholar MacKinnon (Feminism Unmodified, 1987, etc). Read full book review >
TEACHING DEMOCRACY by John A. Minahan
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

A somewhat fictionalized account of Minahan's semester at Brown ``in the early 1980's.'' There, as an adjunct lecturer, he taught a writing course called ``Democracy and Education,'' in which students discussed texts from the Declaration of Independence to the writings of E.D. Hirsch, and subjects from race, class, and gender to the ills of society. 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 >