Despite occasional shopworn truisms, a generally inspiring assemblage of informed perspectives.

NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTED

TRUE STORIES OF WOMEN LEADERS IN TECH

A collection of interviews with female leaders in the high-tech industry discussing their experiences with gender bias.

After she was introduced to programming at 14 years old, debut author Rao Gluckman enthusiastically decided she wanted to become an engineer. She didn’t, however, anticipate the gender bias she would encounter when she pursued a position in management and joined the ranks of leadership. She sought out role models and mentorship among other women in positions of authority within the high-tech field, a strategy she became convinced could be helpful to other women as well. Consequently, Rao Gluckman, who currently manages a team of software engineers at a computer software company, spoke with accomplished female executives about their encounters with bias, their influences and inspirations, and their strategies for success, and she compiles 19 of those interviews here. The topics range widely—institutional bias, compensation, and the difficulty balancing the demands of work and family. One theme is the “imposter syndrome,” the discomfiting feeling of self-doubt even some of the savviest women suffer in a male-dominated industry. There are also incisive discussions of the illusion of meritocracy, a myth undermined by the ubiquity of bias. International perspectives are represented as well. Yanbing Li, a senior vice president and general manager, notes that there is much less bias in STEM fields in China. Each interview is prefaced by a “biosketch,” a brief synopsis of the subject’s experience and perspective, and ends with bulleted “takeways,” brief summaries of the exchange’s chief points. The author is a perspicacious interviewer and skillfully extracts illuminating insights and fresh perspectives from her subjects. For example, Alaina Percival, CEO and board chair for Women Who Code, observes that undercompensating women ultimately hurts companies that are unable to retain top talent as a result. The author’s prose can lazily default to clichés: Phrases like “and the world becomes your oyster” undermine the genuine insights shared. Also, some of Rao Gluckman’s own counsel is vague and overly general; her solution to the imposter syndrome problem: “By tackling it head on, becoming disciplined, and learning more about the area we are insecure about.”

Despite occasional shopworn truisms, a generally inspiring assemblage of informed perspectives.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 303

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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A standout immigrant coming-of-age story.

THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US

A MEMOIR

In her first nonfiction book, novelist Grande (Dancing with Butterflies, 2009, etc.) delves into her family’s cycle of separation and reunification.

Raised in poverty so severe that spaghetti reminded her of the tapeworms endemic to children in her Mexican hometown, the author is her family’s only college graduate and writer, whose honors include an American Book Award and International Latino Book Award. Though she was too young to remember her father when he entered the United States illegally seeking money to improve life for his family, she idolized him from afar. However, she also blamed him for taking away her mother after he sent for her when the author was not yet 5 years old. Though she emulated her sister, she ultimately answered to herself, and both siblings constantly sought affirmation of their parents’ love, whether they were present or not. When one caused disappointment, the siblings focused their hopes on the other. These contradictions prove to be the narrator’s hallmarks, as she consistently displays a fierce willingness to ask tough questions, accept startling answers, and candidly render emotional and physical violence. Even as a girl, Grande understood the redemptive power of language to define—in the U.S., her name’s literal translation, “big queen,” led to ridicule from other children—and to complicate. In spelling class, when a teacher used the sentence “my mamá loves me” (mi mamá me ama), Grande decided to “rearrange the words so that they formed a question: ¿Me ama mi mamá? Does my mama love me?”

A standout immigrant coming-of-age story.

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-6177-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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