Psychology Book Reviews (page 178)

Released: April 1, 1993

"MPSLUGetc Like Dad's good advice, but, despite real effort on the author's part, still delivered with too much dull oatmeal and yucky vitamins."
How to become a mensch—a decent person—is the question posed by Halberstam (Philosophy/NYU) in this slim volume marbled with insight and clichÇ. ``Relax,'' recommends Halberstam. ``You won't find any preaching here.'' But the man does preach, or at least offer pounds of avuncular advice, perhaps the necessary price of writing on morality. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1993

"Here's one man who proudly—even passionately—inhaled."
Readers of Food of the Gods (1992) will recall McKenna's diverting claim that the ingestion in ancient times of hallucinogenic mushrooms spurred human consciousness into wakefulness and sophistication. Read full book review >

Released: March 31, 1993

"Repetitious, thanks to its format; but even so a good introduction, along with Gardner's Frames of Mind (1983), to the theory of multiple intelligences."
A potpourri of previously published articles and lectures, as well as chapters written specifically for this book—all explaining what the theory of multiple intelligences is and how it can be applied in today's schools. Read full book review >
Released: March 22, 1993

"Stimulating—but dense and demanding."
From psychologist McAdams, a strong and engrossing argument for the relationship between storytelling and personal development. Read full book review >
Released: March 17, 1993

"Miroff ably demonstrates the paradoxes that lie at the heart of leadership, and shows how the noblest qualities of our best leaders can be a threat to democracy."
Miroff (Political Science/SUNY at Albany; Pragmatic Illusions, 1976) thoughtfully examines the lives of nine disparate American leaders, ``seeking to read from their stories the possibilities, limitations, and dangers of American political leadership.'' Miroff fits his subjects into four paradigmatic categories: ``aristocratic'' leaders of the early republic, like Hamilton and John Adams, strong-willed elitists who led passive followers; their modern successors, ``heroic'' leaders like Theodore Roosevelt and JFK, who, in distinctive ways, wielded power like kings; the ``democratic'' leaders like Lincoln and FDR, who balanced personal styles of leadership with a commitment to increasing the democratic enfranchisement of the American people; and the ``dissenters,'' like Eugene Debs, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Martin Luther King, Jr., who, in resisting the prevailing order, sought to bring politically powerless groups into civic life. Read full book review >

Released: March 15, 1993

"A peck of hardheaded, kindhearted advice; the author's best since Road. (First printing of 100,000)"
Peck's megahit, The Road Less Traveled (1978), offered cures for the psychospiritual ills of lone men and women; this does the same for human clusterings, large or small. Read full book review >
Released: March 15, 1993

"Clear writing and research, but heavily clinical."
Study of manic depression and inspiration that for many will be a hard read but that makes its points convincingly—if only fragmentarily—chapter by chapter. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1993

"Readers accustomed to more straightforward accounts may find Duff's musings difficult to accept; still, her insights into common attitudes toward illness, and into the changes wrought in an individual by illness, are often enlightening."
From the sickbed of a woman of ``mystical temperament'': very personal, sometimes quirky, essays on illness, blending 20th-century psychology with holistic spirituality. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1993

"Not earth-shattering, but provocative and solid nonetheless: a compelling demonstration that the social consequences of ubiquitous testing are by no means positive. (Illustrations.)"
A well-informed analysis of pervasive testing in America today, with a substantial historical overview, from cultural anthropologist Hanson (University of Kansas). Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1993

"An intriguing examination of an elusive topic, with a depth and range that go beyond predictable terrain."
The concept of place has been given relatively short shrift since the overthrow of environmental determinism. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 22, 1993

"Precious notions too slight and casual to carry us along."
A rambling and, ultimately, rather pointless retelling of ancient heroic tales, by a psychologist and author (Wisdom and the Senses, 1988, etc.) who tries without much success to connect the narratives to the daily realities of modern life. ``Myths are the prehistory of mankind,'' according to Erikson, who here traces our moral and psychic ancestry back to the sagas of the Greeks. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 12, 1993

"Unless you're one of Simmons's clients, it's hard to imagine reading straight through all 40 cases; but just as crowds apparently turn out to greet the famous shape-changer on his visits, you can count on followers seeking inspiration from these upbeat reports."
The word from experts is that lost weight rarely stays off, but TV fitness-guru and bestselling diet-book author Simmons (Richard Simmons' Better Body Book, 1983, etc.) never gives up on those desperate souls who write to him in despair, then successfully shed pounds in his program—or so he says. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >