Current Affairs Book Reviews

NECESSARY TROUBLE by Sarah Jaffe
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"An essential guide to forces shaping our nation and the 2016 presidential election."
Journalist and Nation Institute fellow Jaffe debuts with an in-depth account of the wave of populist anger driving "a new era of protest and activism" in the United States. 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 >

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 >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: July 22, 2016

"An elucidating, nuanced study of gender and feminist dynamics perfect for our current political moment."
A timely study of gender and media that reaches back before the present American election to earlier delineations of white manhood and presidential power. 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 >

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 >
SPIRAL by Mark Danner
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: June 14, 2016

"A chilling cautionary tale of Orwellian repercussions."
A somber examination of why the war on terror has stretched over 15 years and appears to have no end in sight. Read full book review >
BUT WHAT IF WE'RE WRONG? by Chuck Klosterman
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: June 7, 2016

"Replete with lots of nifty, whimsical footnotes, this clever, speculative book challenges our beliefs with jocularity and perspicacity."
An inquiry into why we'll probably be wrong about almost everything. Read full book review >
THE INVENTION OF RUSSIA by Arkady Ostrovsky
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: June 7, 2016

"An astute, accessible, illuminating navigation of the idea that the 'only consistent feature in Russia's history is its unpredictability.'"
A focused, bracing look at how the control of the media has helped plot the Russian political trajectory from dictatorship and back again. Read full book review >
TO PROTECT AND SERVE by Norm Stamper
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: June 7, 2016

"A vivid, well-written, vitally important book."
Most of the nation's approximately 18,000 police departments receive scathing criticism from one of their own: an author who began as a San Diego beat cop in 1966 and rose to become a police chief in Seattle. Read full book review >
SECONDHAND TIME by Svetlana Alexievich
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: May 24, 2016

"Profoundly significant literature as history."
A lively, deeply moving cacophony of Russian voices for whom the Soviet era was as essential as their nature. Read full book review >
ROGUE JUSTICE by Karen J. Greenberg
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: May 24, 2016

"A sophisticated study of executive tyranny in the never-ending war on terror."
A terrifying history of American surveillance in the 21st century that shows how the government has eroded civil liberties since 9/11. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
author of SEINFELDIA
August 22, 2016

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s new bestseller Seinfeldia is the hilarious behind-the-scenes story of two guys who went out for coffee and dreamed up Seinfeld —the cultural sensation that changed television and bled into the real world. Comedians Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld never thought anyone would watch their silly little sitcom about a New York comedian sitting around talking to his friends. NBC executives didn’t think anyone would watch either, but they bought it anyway, hiding it away in the TV dead zone of summer. But against all odds, viewers began to watch, first a few and then many, until nine years later nearly 40 million Americans were tuning in weekly. In Seinfeldia, TV historian and entertainment writer Armstrong celebrates the creators and fans of this American television phenomenon, bringing readers behind-the-scenes of the show while it was on the air and into the world of devotees for whom it never stopped being relevant, a world where the Soup Nazi still spends his days saying “No soup for you!” “Armstrong’s intimate, breezy history is full of gossipy details, show trivia, and insights into how famous episodes came to be,” our reviewer writes. “Perfect for Seinfeldians and newcomers alike.” View video >