Next book

POISON IVY

HOW ELITE COLLEGES DIVIDE US

A convincing indictment of elite colleges for reproducing inequality while hiding behind their historical clout.

A potent investigation into how elite colleges and universities in the U.S. perpetuate economic inequalities and fail to properly address the country’s ongoing racial divide.

None

Many people believe that private, elite colleges reward merit and hard work, and while that may be true, there are countless other factors at play. Mandery—a Harvard graduate, Emmy and Peabody winner, and author of A Wild Justice: The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America, among other books—plainly shows how “elite colleges are guilty of cementing, reproducing, and exacerbating inequality in America.” Ivy League colleges, and others of their ilk, open their doors mainly to those least in need. “For the overwhelming majority,” the author notes, “they take children who have been the beneficiary of a lifetime of privilege, convert that privilege into a degree of value, steer these students into careers in finance, cultivate disdain for those who work for the common good, [and] systematically disadvantage the handful of poor students of color who manage to make it through their gates.” On the other hand, public universities are “producing the lion’s share of upward mobility” and encouraging public service careers. The trend of excluding talented, low-income students from elite colleges is exacerbated by standardized testing biases, tax exemptions for higher education, the hoarding of endowments, and admissions criteria privileging legacy students and accomplishments (science fair awards, volunteering, expensive extracurricular activities, etc.) that favor affluent applicants. Mandery offers a variety of strategies to counter this problem—e.g., basing admissions decisions on high school rank and increasing the sizes of entering classes. Of course, students attend college for reasons other than status: gaining access to specific occupations, transitioning to adulthood, or just the sheer joy of learning. Living a decent and satisfying life, as Mandery shows, hardly depends on a degree from Harvard or Princeton.

A convincing indictment of elite colleges for reproducing inequality while hiding behind their historical clout.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-62097-695-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

Next book

WHAT THIS COMEDIAN SAID WILL SHOCK YOU

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

The comedian argues that the arts of moderation and common sense must be reinvigorated.

Some people are born snarky, some become snarky, and some have snarkiness thrust upon them. Judging from this book, Maher—host of HBO’s Real Time program and author of The New New Rules and When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden—is all three. As a comedian, he has a great deal of leeway to make fun of people in politics, and he often delivers hilarious swipes with a deadpan face. The author describes himself as a traditional liberal, with a disdain for Republicans (especially the MAGA variety) and a belief in free speech and personal freedom. He claims that he has stayed much the same for more than 20 years, while the left, he argues, has marched toward intolerance. He sees an addiction to extremism on both sides of the aisle, which fosters the belief that anyone who disagrees with you must be an enemy to be destroyed. However, Maher has always displayed his own streaks of extremism, and his scorched-earth takedowns eventually become problematic. The author has something nasty to say about everyone, it seems, and the sarcastic tone starts after more than 300 pages. As has been the case throughout his career, Maher is best taken in small doses. The book is worth reading for the author’s often spot-on skewering of inept politicians and celebrities, but it might be advisable to occasionally dip into it rather than read the whole thing in one sitting. Some parts of the text are hilarious, but others are merely insulting. Maher is undeniably talented, but some restraint would have produced a better book.

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781668051351

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 13


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2020

Next book

BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 13


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2020

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Close Quickview