An intellectually probing analysis.

ON VIOLENCE AND ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

A wide-ranging investigation of gender, power, and abuse.

British literary scholar and cultural critic Rose examines the impetus for and experience of violence, especially against women. Casting a wide net, she considers sexual predation and harassment; violence against transgender women, including by feminists who engage in “the coercive violence of gendering”; violence depicted in literary fiction; South Africa, where a woman is murdered every three hours and Cape Town is known as the rape capital of the world; and violence against migrant women and children. Although Rose focuses mainly on male violence, she argues that violence is not inherent in masculinity, and she takes issue with feminists who see women “solely or predominantly as the victims of their histories.” Nevertheless, she calls sexual harassment “the great male performative, the act through which a man aims to convince his target not only that he is the one with the power, which is true, but also that his power and his sexuality are one and the same thing.” Though she does not believe “that all women are at risk from all men,” she concedes “that a woman does not say she is scared of a man without cause and that when she does so, we must listen.” Drawing on Freudian psychoanalytic theory, Rose sees violence as “part of the psyche,” characterizing violent behavior as “a crime of the deepest thoughtlessness. It is a sign that the mind has brutally blocked itself.” Feminists, she asserts, must reckon with “the extraordinary, often painful and mostly overlooked range of what the human mind is capable of.” Like Hannah Arendt, Rose sees violence as “a form of entitlement” inflamed by “illegitimate and/or waning power.” The abuse of refugees and asylum seekers, for example, reflects “the violence of colonial expansion” as well as a “fight to preserve the privilege of the few against the many.”

An intellectually probing analysis.

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-374-28421-3

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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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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A sharp, entertaining view of the news media from one of its star players.

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GOING THERE

The veteran newscaster reflects on her triumphs and hardships, both professional and private.

In this eagerly anticipated memoir, Couric (b. 1957) transforms the events of her long, illustrious career into an immensely readable story—a legacy-preserving exercise, for sure, yet judiciously polished and insightful, several notches above the fray of typical celebrity memoirs. The narrative unfolds through a series of lean chapters as she recounts the many career ascendency steps that led to her massively successful run on the Today Show and comparably disappointing stints as CBS Evening News anchor, talk show host, and Yahoo’s Global News Anchor. On the personal front, the author is candid in her recollections about her midlife adventures in the dating scene and deeply sorrowful and affecting regarding the experience of losing her husband to colon cancer as well as the deaths of other beloved family members, including her sister and parents. Throughout, Couric maintains a sharp yet cool-headed perspective on the broadcast news industry and its many outsized personalities and even how her celebrated role has diminished in recent years. “It’s AN ADJUSTMENT when the white-hot spotlight moves on,” she writes. “The ego gratification of being the It girl is intoxicating (toxic being the root of the word). When that starts to fade, it takes some getting used to—at least it did for me.” Readers who can recall when network news coverage and morning shows were not only relevant, but powerfully influential forces will be particularly drawn to Couric’s insights as she tracks how the media has evolved over recent decades and reflects on the negative effects of the increasing shift away from reliable sources of informed news coverage. The author also discusses recent important cultural and social revolutions, casting light on issues of race and sexual orientation, sexism, and the predatory behavior that led to the #MeToo movement. In that vein, she expresses her disillusionment with former co-host and friend Matt Lauer.

A sharp, entertaining view of the news media from one of its star players.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-53586-1

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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