Current Affairs Book Reviews

INCARCERATION NATIONS by Baz Dreisinger
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"An eye-opening, damning indictment of the American prison system and the way its sins reverberate around the globe."
A writer and social activist chronicles her visits to prisons around the globe to gain insight into what works and doesn't work. Read full book review >
UNTANGLED by Lisa Damour
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"Expert information and counsel on helping parents raise well-rounded girls."
The director of the Laurel School's Center for Research on Girls offers parents concrete advice on how to help their teenage daughters navigate the often tumultuous teenage years. Read full book review >

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"A usefully organized, concise history of social movements that will appeal to newer generations of activists."
Optimistic overview of the recent surge in politically directed, nonviolent mass advocacy movements, focused on historical examples and the tactical future. Read full book review >
THE GHOST WARRIORS by Samuel M. Katz
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"A detailed book that is refreshingly full of sound research rather than polemic."
An action-packed, nondidactic examination of how Israel's special operation units rose to the challenge of the Palestinian intifada. Read full book review >
NEMESIS by Misha Glenny
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"Glenny does an admirable investigative job, delving deeply into the complicated causes and effects of Rio's drug trafficking."
A page-turning chronicle of the life and career of a favela don illustrates the larger challenges of a deeply impoverished, class-ridden Brazilian society.Read full book review >

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 >
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 >