Social Sciences Book Reviews

UPROOT by Jace Clayton
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"An engrossing tour of the global cutting edge, balanced between memoir, musicology, and technology."
Sharply detailed exploration of how technology and globalization have transformed participatory audio culture for top-dollar DJs and African ensembles alike. Read full book review >
THE SELFISHNESS OF OTHERS by Kristin Dombek
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"A savvy, sharp study that only occasionally loses readers in the psychological brambles."
A personal and clinical deconstruction of the narcissistic personality. Read full book review >

BORN BRIGHT by C. Nicole Mason
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"A thoughtful, well-crafted rejoinder to Claude Brown's half-century-old Manchild in the Promised Land, speaking to the power of hope and the institutional changes needed to make hope possible."
The aspirational story of a young African-American woman's rise from poverty. Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"A highly thoughtful and entertaining treatment of a subject that merits serious consideration."
An internationally recognized leader in the field of childhood learning debunks the concept of "good parenting." Read full book review >
TWO HOMES, ONE CHILDHOOD by Robert E. Emery
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"Research and common sense back solid strategies that allow children to navigate the ups and downs of divorce with minimal damage."
How to ensure your child has a good life during and after your divorce. Read full book review >

PLAYING DEAD by Elizabeth Greenwood
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"Though earnestly researched, the narrative feels disjointed, and the book is never quite as engrossing as the potential for the intriguing content would suggest."
An investigation of the world of death fraud. Read full book review >
THE FIRE THIS TIME by Jesmyn Ward
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"Timely contributions to an urgent national conversation."
Poets, scholars, and essayists reflect on race in America. Read full book review >
NAVIGATING LIFE by Margaux Bergen
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"Bergen's more helpful suggestions about ways to live well would be better suited to a mother-to-daughter letter, with all of the straining to impress shorn away."
A guide to life started by a mother when her daughter was in elementary school and given to her on her first day of college. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"Timely, controversial, and bound to stir already heated discussion."
An impassioned analysis of headline-making cases of police shootings and other acts of "state violence" against blacks and other minorities. Read full book review >
POLARIZED by James E. Campbell
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 1, 2016

"A painstakingly methodical, exhausting process to conclude that there is really nothing to worry about."
A study of an American public grown more ideologically conflicted since the 1960s and why—or whether—it matters. Read full book review >
SHIFTING SANDS by Raja Shahadeh
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: July 29, 2016

"An accessible collection in which the editors and the contributors don't shirk from delivering necessary criticism but offer possibilities of hope for a troubled region."
This compilation by diverse writers lends nuanced insight into the complicated, volatile Middle East. Read full book review >
The Essence of Ethical Pragmatism by E. Dennis Brod
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: July 28, 2016

"Impressively free of political bias, but philosophically slight."
An updated version of philosophical pragmatism, offered as a cure for all that ails the world. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
author of SEINFELDIA
August 22, 2016

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s new bestseller Seinfeldia is the hilarious behind-the-scenes story of two guys who went out for coffee and dreamed up Seinfeld —the cultural sensation that changed television and bled into the real world. Comedians Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld never thought anyone would watch their silly little sitcom about a New York comedian sitting around talking to his friends. NBC executives didn’t think anyone would watch either, but they bought it anyway, hiding it away in the TV dead zone of summer. But against all odds, viewers began to watch, first a few and then many, until nine years later nearly 40 million Americans were tuning in weekly. In Seinfeldia, TV historian and entertainment writer Armstrong celebrates the creators and fans of this American television phenomenon, bringing readers behind-the-scenes of the show while it was on the air and into the world of devotees for whom it never stopped being relevant, a world where the Soup Nazi still spends his days saying “No soup for you!” “Armstrong’s intimate, breezy history is full of gossipy details, show trivia, and insights into how famous episodes came to be,” our reviewer writes. “Perfect for Seinfeldians and newcomers alike.” View video >