Social Sciences Book Reviews

HEAVY by Kiese Laymon
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 16, 2018

"A dynamic memoir that is unsettling in all the best ways."
A challenging memoir about black-white relations, income inequality, mother-son dynamics, Mississippi byways, lack of personal self-control, education from kindergarten through graduate school, and so much more. Read full book review >
WE CAN'T BREATHE by Jabari Asim
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 16, 2018

"A sharp vision that challenges readers to shift perspective and examine conventional narratives."
A collection of essays that go wide and deep into the black experience in America. Read full book review >

SHE WANTS IT by Jill Soloway
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 16, 2018

"An assumption-exploding, smart account of creativity, work, and a decidedly unconventional life."
An adroit memoir from the creator of Transparent. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 16, 2018

"A little more storytelling and reporting might have made this an even more compelling narrative, but this is an incisive and useful narrative on the puzzle of urban development."
A brief, cogent analysis of gentrification in Chicago. Read full book review >
THEM by Ben  Sasse
Released: Oct. 16, 2018

"A sensible and thoughtful yet hardly groundbreaking political analysis."
The future of the republic depends on humility, empathy, and respect for pluralism. Read full book review >

Released: Oct. 16, 2018

"Not much to surprise politically aware readers, but a solid appeal to small-r republican virtues and an altogether readable polemic."
A gimlet-eyed look at the mean corridors of power in Washington, with a welcome reminder that this, too, shall—might?—pass. Read full book review >
AN UNLIKELY JOURNEY by Julián Castro
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 16, 2018

"A timely, inspiring memoir."
The former San Antonio mayor and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development tells the story of how he rose from humble origins to live the American dream. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 9, 2018

"Etiquette, it seems, is a complex and involved business, but Goodman helps us navigate the shoals of another era's sensibilities in a way that is also illuminating of our own."
With exhaustive research and in gleeful detail, Goodman (How to Be a Tudor, 2016, etc.) explores the gamut of misconduct in Stuart and Tudor England, including offensive speech and gestures, the perverse delights of mockery and ridicule, the ripostes of physical violence, and a gallery of repellent habits and repulsive displays of bodily functions. Read full book review >
IN MY FATHER'S HOUSE by Fox Butterfield
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 9, 2018

"The occasional shoehorning of academic theories into the Bogle narrative barely mars an outstanding book of sociology and criminology."
A follow-up of sorts to All God's Children, the author's 1995 book about an African-American family mired in multiple generations of imprisonment. This time, the author chronicles a "a white family with a sizable number of inmates to illustrate this perverse legacy while removing race as a factor in the discussion." Read full book review >
THE RECKONINGS by Lacy M. Johnson
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Oct. 9, 2018

"Johnson negotiates a path between vengeance and hand-wringing despair in this thoughtful and probing collection."
Who pays the costs of violence, whether waged against a person, group, or environment? That's the broad question Johnson (Creative Nonfiction/Rice Univ.) tackles in this follow-up to her 2014 memoir, The Other Side. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 9, 2018

"A fascinating way to look at the fracturing of a nation presumed to be united; it's one that offers little hope for less polarization anytime soon."
Big data comes to the service of big generalizations about American tribes, and it speaks volumes about how we divide along many fronts, not least of them political. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 9, 2018

"Wonkish but of broad interest to students of geopolitics, international affairs, and economics."
The longtime political journalist limns the rise of Trumpian nationalism in the face of a bewilderingly global world. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Katey Sagal
author of GRACE NOTES
April 10, 2017

In her memoir Grace Notes, actress and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children. Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age 52 with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. “While this book is sure to please the author’s many fans, its thoughtful, no-regrets honesty will no doubt also appeal to readers of Hollywood memoirs seeking substance that goes beyond gossip and name-dropping,” our critic writes. “A candid, reflective memoir.” View video >