Current Affairs Book Reviews

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: May 24, 2016

"Refreshingly optimistic; in our diversity lies great strength, Levin writes, a strength that can be tapped once all the rancor is put aside. Highly recommended for readers of whatever political stripe."
A voice of both reason and establishment conservatism offers a prescription for renewed political discourse and bipartisan action. Read full book review >
FREE SPEECH by Timothy Garton Ash
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: May 24, 2016

"A thorough and well-argued contribution to the quest for global free speech norms."
A field guide to the challenges of setting standards for free speech in a "cosmopolis" of diverse cultures. 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 >
THE MIRROR TEST by J. Kael Weston
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: May 24, 2016

"Vivid pages soaked with blood, reverberating with cries of pain, loss, and regret."
A former U.S. State Department official who spent seven consecutive war years in Iraq and Afghanistan debuts with a damning memoir about our lies, failures, and horrors in the region. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 17, 2016

"An inspiring, well-rendered, deeply reported, and often infuriating account."
Salon contributing writer Dayen illuminates how, during the past 10 years, home buyers ended up illegally evicted from their residences as the result of dishonesty, greed, and heartlessness involving mortgage lenders, mortgage servicers, investment bankers, and unscrupulous lawyers. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: May 17, 2016

"A thoroughly impressive debut."
In his first book, a former infantry sergeant-turned-historian surveys more than 200 years of the administration of American military justice. Read full book review >
POWER WITHOUT CONSTRAINT by Chris Edelson
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: May 11, 2016

"A powerful warning about the future of constitutional government and an indictment of the ways it has been undermined in the recent past."
Edelson (Government/American Univ.; Emergency Presidential Power: From the Drafting of the Constitution to the War on Terror, 2013) raises troubling questions about the Barack Obama administration.Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: May 10, 2016

"Provocative, timely, and immensely rewarding reading."
The story of one of the longest-lasting negative metaphors in America politics: the limousine liberal. Read full book review >
THE MORNING THEY CAME FOR US by Janine di Giovanni
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: May 3, 2016

"This brilliant, necessary book will hopefully do for Syria what Herr's Dispatches (1977) did for Vietnam."
Newsweek Middle East editor di Giovanni (Ghosts by Daylight: A Modern-Day War Correspondent's Memoir of Love, Loss, and Redemption, 2013) dives headfirst into the nightmarish shadow world of modern Syria.Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: May 3, 2016

"An occasionally humorous, definitely informative look at what Americans eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all those snack times in between and how our eating habits are changing who we are."
How American food habits have changed over time. Read full book review >
PUMPKINFLOWERS by Matti Friedman
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 3, 2016

"A haunting yet wry tale of young people at war, cursed by political forces beyond their control, that can stand alongside the best narrative nonfiction coming out of Afghanistan and Iraq."
Powerful account of youthful Israelis maturing, fighting, and dying at a forgotten Lebanon outpost. 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 >