Social Sciences Book Reviews (page 2)

CITY OF THORNS by Ben Rawlence
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"A significant, timely, and gloomy tale that reveals the human costs of a growing world crisis."
Former Human Rights Watch researcher Rawlence (Radio Congo: Signals of Hope from Africa's Deadliest War, 2012) tells the distressing story of Kenya's vast Dadaab refugee camp, where nearly 500,000 people fleeing civil war in nearby Somalia live in a "teeming ramshackle metropolis" the size of Atlanta.Read full book review >
THIS IS WHY YOU'RE SINGLE by Laura Lane
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: Dec. 8, 2015

"Definitely not your mother's guide to finding the perfect guy: at once hilarious and seriously practical."
Cutting-edge dating advice for millennial women. Read full book review >

STONED by Aja Raden
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Dec. 1, 2015

"A lively, incisive cultural and social history."
A jewelry designer and historian's account of how the desire for diamonds, gold, and other precious stones and metals has shaped history. Read full book review >
THE CON MEN by Terry Williams
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Nov. 10, 2015

"A thoroughly researched academic study accessible to general readers."
Two sociology professors' survey of New York con artists and how these reviled but crafty opportunists manage to make a living in the city's informal economy. Read full book review >
THE COSMOPOLITES by Atossa Araxia Abrahamian
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Nov. 10, 2015

"A slim but powerful book of great interest to students of international law and current events."
Swiss-Canadian-Iranian journalist Abrahamian looks closely at modern internationality and the legal liminality that can accompany it. Read full book review >

TRACE by Lauret Savoy
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 10, 2015

"Springing from the literal Earth to metaphor, Savoy demonstrates the power of narrative to erase as easily as it reveals, yielding a provocative, eclectic exposé of the palimpsest historically defining the U.S. as much as any natural or man-made boundary."
An earth scientist explores the broad historical branches extending from her own roots. Read full book review >
LITTLE VICTORIES by Jason Gay
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"Gay's observations about his stumbles through life, and the little victories that come from learning from those stumbles, make for a rollicking good read."
Instructive essays in a comedic vein. Read full book review >
BECOMING NICOLE by Amy Ellis Nutt
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 20, 2015

"A timely, significant examination of the distinction between sexual affinity and sexual identity."
How a politically conservative middle-class family defended their transgender daughter against bigotry and won a groundbreaking legal victory affirming gender identity. Read full book review >
FIND ME UNAFRAID by Kennedy Odede
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A well-wrought, inspiring tale of 'change and justice' in a part of the world where they are often sorely lacking."
An impassioned tale of how an unusual Kenyan NGO became globally galvanized by the romance between its embattled Nairobi director and a resolute young Wesleyan University student. Read full book review >
A MIGHTY PURPOSE by Adam Fifield
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"This fine, engrossing portrait reveals Grant's unstoppable passion and remarkable achievements."
A biographical commemoration of a powerful champion of children's health. Read full book review >
DRINKING IN AMERICA by Susan Cheever
FOOD & COOKING
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"An intelligently argued study of our country's 'passionate connection to drinking.'"
A distinguished biographer and cultural historian offers a fascinating look at the place and function of alcohol throughout American history. Read full book review >
HUMANS OF NEW YORK by Brandon Stanton
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise."
Photographer and author Stanton returns with a companion volume to Humans of New York (2013), this one with similarly affecting photographs of New Yorkers but also with some tales from his subjects' mouths.Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >