Social Sciences Book Reviews (page 2)

VIOLENT BORDERS by Reece Jones
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 11, 2016

"With the building of border walls and the deaths of migrants much in the news, this work is both timely and necessarily provocative."
"Tear down this wall!" was Ronald Reagan's ringing challenge to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. Now, a geographer calls for more drastic action, arguing that border walls everywhere should come down. Read full book review >
ON LIVING by Kerry Egan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 25, 2016

"A moving, heartfelt account of a hospice veteran."
Lessons about life from those preparing to die. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 15, 2015

"Though passionate and informative, this opus becomes repetitive, meandering, and flamboyant in its implication that women should aspire to a 'whoring' experience."
A part memoir, part polemic about the plight of the upmarket escort takes a range of institutions and groups to task. Read full book review >
THE ATTENTION MERCHANTS by Tim Wu
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Oct. 18, 2016

"Forget subliminal seduction: every day, we are openly bought and sold, as this provocative book shows."
When something online is free, then the product being sold is you. Wu (Columbia Law School; The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, 2010) elaborates on that sobering note. Read full book review >
PLAYING THROUGH THE WHISTLE by S.L. Price
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

"From the rigidly stratified life in the 1920s and '30s during J&L's 'despotic prime,' to the brief, postwar golden age, 'a moment of civic equipoise,' to today's 'company town without a company,' where the combination of unemployment, drugs, and crime crushes hope, Price's football story is really that of America's Rust Belt in poignant miniature."
A senior Sports Illustrated writer tells a multigenerational story about Aliquippa, a Pennsylvania steel town, and its legendary high school football team. Read full book review >

VITAL LITTLE PLANS by Jane Jacobs
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Oct. 11, 2016

"A timely volume that supports Jacobs' aim to 'stir up some independent thinking urgently needed as a wake-up call for America.' A perfect complement to Robert Kanigel's excellent biography, Eyes on the Street (2016)."
A collection of short pieces by an outspoken champion of urban diversity. 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 >
WORDS ON THE MOVE by John McWhorter
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"As in most of his books, McWhorter proves to be a well-informed and cheerful guide to linguistics."
A brisk look at how and why words change. 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 >
YOU CAN'T TOUCH MY HAIR by Phoebe Robinson
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

"Up-and-down humor that sometimes gets to the heart of the realities of being black in America."
A black female comedian lays it all out there. Read full book review >
MUCH ADO by Michael Lenehan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 11, 2016

"A series of bright, clear photographs of what the author saw when he pulled aside the curtain in a Wisconsin Oz."
A veteran former editor and current freelance journalist delivers a swift story about being imbedded with a summer outdoor theater company mounting a production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. 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 >