Current Affairs Book Reviews

HEMP BOUND by Doug Fine
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 20, 2014

"A short, sweet, logical and funny argument for the potential of one of the world's most dynamic cash crops."
What might come back along with legalized pot? Only one of the strongest, most versatile plants in the world: hemp. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 20, 2014

"Roffman's debut adeptly straddles the line between academia and narrative nonfiction, delivering a slice of history that even teetotalers will appreciate."
A memoir/treatise on marijuana that rises above most similar discussions. Read full book review >

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 20, 2014

"Fascinating insight—though much must be read between the lines—into how the nation's data-mining apparatus works—and how it's supposed to work."
Does keeping America free from harm in the post-9/11 world require that Americans surrender their Fourth Amendment rights? The country's security apparatus behaves as if the answer is yes—the subject of this official report to President Barack Obama. Read full book review >
THE PEOPLE'S PLATFORM by Astra Taylor
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: April 15, 2014

"Not to be skimmed. A cogent and genuine argument for the true democratization of online culture."
A filmmaker turns her high-powered intellect not just on the Internet and its effect on our lives, but also on the sociological and economic forces that bend and shape it. Read full book review >
THE RULE OF NOBODY by Philip K. Howard
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 14, 2014

"Some may find the diagnosis persuasive, but the cures proposed may worsen long-standing inequities."
A blast against dysfunctional government, which Howard (Life Without Lawyers: Restoring Accountability in America, 2010, etc.) calls "a form of tyranny." Read full book review >

THE WRONG ENEMY by Carlotta Gall
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 8, 2014

"Gall admirably never loses sight of the human element in this tragedy."
A longtime New York Times war correspondent delivers a moving, on-the-ground chronicle of her years covering the Afghanistan War. Read full book review >
POISON SPRING by E.G. Vallianatos
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 8, 2014

"Readers of this overheated but often on-the-mark polemic will conclude that the safest tactic is organic food and a fly swatter."
"We spend our lives living in a chemical soup," writes Vallianatos (This Land Is Their Land: How Corporate Farms Threaten the World, 2006, etc.), who was a risk evaluator for the Environment Protection Agency from 1979 to 2004. With Jenkins (Journalism/Univ. of Delaware; What's Gotten Into Us: Staying Healthy in a Toxic World, 2011), he excoriates the agency for routinely yielding to outside pressure in regulating pesticides and other environmental pollutants. Read full book review >
THE DIVIDE by Matt Taibbi
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: April 8, 2014

"Rising from the text is a miasma of corporate and political malfeasance and immorality that mocks the platitudes of democracy."
Rolling Stone journalist Taibbi (Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America, 2010, etc.) once again rakes from the muck some most malodorous information about inequality in America. Read full book review >
"BOYS WILL BE BOYS" by Tracy Barker
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 8, 2014

"Barker's story shines an important light on the subject of sexual harassment in the workplace while exposing the shoddy ethical standards and procedures of Halliburton/KBR."
In 2004, seeking greater financial security for her family, military wife and mother Barker secured a one-year assignment working for Halliburton/KBR in Iraq. Her memoir chronicles her sexual abuse, the military contractor's attempted coverup and her prolonged battle for justice. Read full book review >
ALL THE PRESIDENTS' BANKERS by Nomi Prins
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: April 8, 2014

"A dense but worthy effort to explain how the economy went off the rails in recent years—and how we ended up in that situation in the first place."
A revealing look at the often symbiotic, sometimes-adversarial relationship between the White House and Wall Street. Read full book review >
THE MYTH OF THE STRONG LEADER by Archie Brown
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 8, 2014

"A sure-handed historical review with an engaging viewpoint."
Brown (Emeritus, Politics/Oxford Univ.; The Rise and Fall of Communism, 2009, etc.) addresses an apparent paradox in attitudes about political leaders. Read full book review >
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: April 8, 2014

"A balanced analysis of the future shape of the world's increasingly interdependent economies."
A veteran economist and money manager looks ahead at the currents and countercurrents likely to roil the global economy in the next thirty years. Read full book review >