Though the subject matter may be fluffy, the treatment is substantive and significant, representing an important...

CANDY

A CENTURY OF PANIC AND PLEASURE

A history of the creation and consumption of candy in America.

In the introduction, Kawash (Emerita, Women’s and Gender Studies/Rutgers Univ.; Dislocating the Color Line: Identity, Hybridity, and Singularity in African-American Narrative, 1997) recalls being asked by another parent, upon offering her son some jelly beans, “Oh, so I guess you’ll start giving him crack now too?” The author doesn’t use this anecdote as an opening to complain about the food police. Instead, she lays out a well-researched, enjoyable history of the manufacture, consumption, marketing and legislation of candy in America, beginning in the 1840s and concluding with an examination of “candification”—the increasingly popular use of candy-making techniques and ingredients in ordinary foods. The comparison of candy to street drugs, though rude, is nevertheless rooted in history. In the chapter “Demon Candy, Demon Rum,” Kawash explains the cultural link between candy and alcohol, and in “Fake Sweets and Fake Food,” she describes the fears of previously unknown ingredients and adulterated candy that gripped the American media in the 19th century. One of the major strengths of the book is the author’s ability to identify historical attitudes toward candy that map remarkably well onto current fears about processed foods, all while avoiding imposing an agenda on readers. Though the subject matter covered is exhaustive—including the sugared-cereal panic in the 1980s, the role of the military in candy manufacture, the rise of the candy bar as a meal replacement, the marketing of candy-making as a potential source of income to women, and more—the book never feels overly detailed or impenetrably academic.

Though the subject matter may be fluffy, the treatment is substantive and significant, representing an important contribution to the literature about what, and how, we eat in 21st-century America.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-86547-756-8

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Faber & Faber/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

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

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more