Social Sciences Book Reviews

BLOOD AT THE ROOT by Patrick Phillips
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 20, 2016

"An impressive reckoning with a shameful piece of the past that 'most natives of Forsyth would prefer to leave…scattered in the state's dusty archives or safely hidden in plain sight.'"
A history of white supremacy's endurance in a Georgia county. Read full book review >
TRAINWRECK by Sady Doyle
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Sept. 20, 2016

"A well-rounded, thoughtful analysis of what can make and break a woman when she's placed in the spotlight."
How and why women are alternately idolized and then given hell for being the way they are. Read full book review >

JUNIPER by Kelley French
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 13, 2016

"A fierce and fact-filled love story with few holds barred."
Two skilled journalists collaborate on the most personal of stories: their extremely premature daughter's struggle to survive. Read full book review >
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: Sept. 13, 2016

"It's no match for Jesse Sheidlower's fluent, fun The F Word (1995), but Bergen's study is still a winner for the psycholinguistics nerd in the house."
An examination of the sub rosa language that sets us all atwitter—and athwart. Read full book review >
WHEN STRANGERS MEET by Kio Stark
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: Sept. 13, 2016

"Hardly groundbreaking but a pleasant little book about making connections."
Don't be a stranger advises this short book on connecting with others. Read full book review >

ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Sept. 13, 2016

"A wide-ranging, highly positive assessment of the El Sistema movement, serving as both inspiration and manual for would-be social activists."
In this follow-up to Tunstall's Changing Lives (2011), which examined the growth of El Sistema in Venezuela, the authors look at the expansion of this artistic-social project around the world. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 13, 2016

"A comprehensive primer for how to contemplate urban spaces as they evolve for the future."
A creative city planner takes inspiration from the ancients' sense of urban integrity to propound a holistic approach to crafting the city space. Read full book review >
THE NEW BETTER OFF by Courtney E. Martin
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Sept. 13, 2016

"Martin writes with conviction and enthusiasm; whether social scientists concur with her remains to be seen."
An exploration of how success in the United States is being redefined. Read full book review >
WE GON' BE ALRIGHT by Jeff Chang
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 13, 2016

"A compelling and intellectually thought-provoking exploration of the quagmire of race relations."
In this collection, written "in appreciation of all the young people who would not bow down," outspoken journalist Chang (Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post-Civil Rights America, 2014, etc.) offers six critical essays addressing racial inequality and inequity and how these provocative, multifaceted issues impact virtually every culture. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 11, 2016

"Repetitive, somewhat circular pleading weakens the case, but Singh's thesis merits discussion for anyone interested in curing a sick health care system."
A well-intended but imperfectly constructed argument for community-based health care by a physician-turned-medical activist. Read full book review >
Indigenous Writes by Chelsea Vowel
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Sept. 9, 2016

"A convincing case for rejecting the prevailing policies of 'assimilation, control, intrusion and coercion' regarding aboriginal people."
A Canadian explores the many misconceptions about her country's indigenous citizens. Read full book review >
THE ART OF WAITING by Belle Boggs
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"In her reporting, researching, and sharing, Boggs has performed a public service for those in a similar position—and for anyone interested in the implications of parenthood or in a story well-told and deeply felt."
So much more than a memoir about trying to conceive. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Jeff Chang
September 20, 2016

In the provocative essays in journalist Jeff Chang’s new book We Gon’ Be Alright, Chang takes an incisive and wide-ranging look at the recent tragedies and widespread protests that have shaken the country. Through deep reporting with key activists and thinkers, personal writing, and cultural criticism, We Gon’ Be Alright links #BlackLivesMatter to #OscarsSoWhite, Ferguson to Washington D.C., the Great Migration to resurgent nativism. Chang explores the rise and fall of the idea of “diversity,” the roots of student protest, changing ideas about Asian Americanness, and the impact of a century of racial separation in housing. “He implores readers to listen, act, and become involved with today’s activists, who offer ‘new ways to see our past and our present,’ ” our reviewer writes in a starred review. “A compelling and intellectually thought-provoking exploration of the quagmire of race relations.” View video >