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 >

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 >
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 >

STRANGERS IN THEIR OWN LAND by Arlie Russell Hochschild
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"A well-told chronicle of an ambitious sociological project of significant current importance."
An acclaimed liberal sociologist examines "the increasingly hostile split" between America's two major political parties and "how life feels to people on the right—that is…the emotion that underlies politics." Read full book review >
THE WORLD IN FLAMES by Jerald Walker
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"The key to the memoir's cumulative power is Walker's narrative command; the rite of passage is rockier than most, making the redemption well-earned."
A memoir in which a young boy comes to terms with the religious cult that had given his family hope. Read full book review >
UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT by Jessica Luther
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"Highly relevant, hard-hitting, much-needed information that reveals the widespread existence of rape by sports players on college campuses."
Investigative reporting that uncovers the rape culture surrounding college sports, particularly football. Read full book review >
CAST AWAY by Charlotte McDonald-Gibson
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"A powerfully written, well-documented account of a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions."
Giving faces to the headline stories about the flood of immigrants seeking asylum in Europe. Read full book review >
EXILED IN AMERICA by Christopher Dum
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"Dum's scholarly apparatus is on full display, which will please specialists but should not deter general readers. His exceptional view of what's happening to the weakest among us deserves a place on the same shelf with Matthew Desmond's groundbreaking book Evicted (2016)."
Dum (Sociology/Kent State Univ.) debuts with an ethnographic study of a year in the life of a residential motel. Read full book review >
GRAND HOTEL ABYSS by Stuart Jeffries
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"A rich, intellectually meaty history."
Life inside the 20th-century's reigning citadel of pessimism, as told through the lives and (often conflicting) philosophies of its key thinkers. Read full book review >
RAMPAGE NATION by Louis Klarevas
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"A deeply researched, clearly written study that educates while it horrifies."
Klarevas (Global Affairs/Univ. of Massachusetts-Boston) shares his research showing that mass shootings are more common than widely believed but can be decreased by addressing the conditions common to all the massacres. 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 >