A taut story, lucidly told. That the Bosox haven't won a World Series in umpteen years is embarrassing; the legacy of...




A withering look at the institutionalized racism of the Boston Red Sox, painted against the larger backdrop of citywide racism, from Bergen Record journalist Bryant.

Everyone knows that the Bosox traded away Babe Ruth, but less well known is that they passed on the opportunities to snare Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays. In this scorching and well-documented history of the team's racial attitudes, Bryant describes how the bigotry of the Yawkey family, owners of the club, and such important front-office and managerial figures as Eddie Collins, Joe Cronin, and Pinky Higgins resulted in the Red Sox being the last team—this in a city that cast itself as a bastion of tolerance—to cross the color line. But Boston's image of liberalism, as Bryant neatly sketches, was smoke and mirrors, showing its true face in the busing crisis of the 1970s, and, more insidiously, through “its hidden presuppositions of how black people should act, especially around whites.” Kicking and screaming, Boston signed its first black player in 1959, but that was not to be the end of it. From 1979 to 1984, the team had only two active black players, and even the team greats—Reggie Smith, Jim Rice, Ellis Burks—never felt at home in racially tense Boston; black players often referred to their stint with the team as a “jail sentence.” Even in the ’80s, there was a country-club attitude that allowed the racist Elks Club to entertain Bosox players—whites only. Bryant uses a number of lenses to gain a wide perspective on the situation: those of reporters like Dave Egan, Wendell Smith, and Peter Gammons; players from other sports, like Bill Russell of the Celtics; the ebb and flow of Boston politics; and the racial atmosphere that keeps Boston at a simmer, ready to corral the black community, as it did in the Charles Stuart case.

A taut story, lucidly told. That the Bosox haven't won a World Series in umpteen years is embarrassing; the legacy of racism, though, is poisonous. (16 b&w photographs)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-415-92779-X

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Routledge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2002

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


“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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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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