Impassioned writers bearing witness to survival, creativity, and hope.

ALL THE WOMEN IN MY FAMILY SING

WOMEN WRITE THE WORLD: ESSAYS ON EQUALITY, JUSTICE, AND FREEDOM

Essays by women of color offer intimate, candid reflections on their lives.

Santana gathers an articulate, often moving collection of essays focused on cultural and gender identity, the meaning of home, work experiences, social justice, family and friendship, beauty, sexuality, illness, and journeys. Many of the contributors are Californians, either by birth or adoption, and reflect on their affinity for—or estrangement from—the communities in which they live, work, and raise their children. Brief biographies follow each essay, summarizing the writer’s accomplishments; still, despite achievements as writers, educators, and activists, most are likely to be unfamiliar to general readers. Among the recognizable names are actress America Ferrera, represented by an excerpt from her speech at the Women’s March in Washington on Jan. 21, 2017; Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, who celebrates the “great heritage of strength, courage, faith and belief” demonstrated by social reformers; Emmy Award–winning newscaster Belva Davis, whose essay takes the form of a letter to her granddaughter, urging her “to move through life with no barriers”; and novelist Natalie Baszile, who writes of her connection to Louisiana, where her father grew up. Fulbright scholar Ethel Morgan Smith writes about her friendship with the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, a relationship that foundered over Smith’s respect for Barack Obama and Angela Davis. Exasperated, Smith told her friend “she didn’t own all of the pain in history.” Pain is a recurring theme in essays that consider racism, xenophobia, and inequality. Black Latina Nuris Terrero reveals the challenges she faced as a single mother determined to break the cycle of violence that blighted her own family. Art historian Terezita Romo speaks to the need for “inclusive American art” in museums. “There are some moments in history,” essayist Hope Wabuke asserts, when writers “have a responsibility to look. To bear witness.” Other contributors include Jennifer De Leon, V.V. Ganeshananthan, and Porochista Khakpour.

Impassioned writers bearing witness to survival, creativity, and hope.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9972962-1-1

Page Count: 366

Publisher: Nothing But The Truth Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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