Social Sciences Book Reviews (page 3)

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 5, 2014

"Intensely immersive reading."
A journalist tells the absorbing story of how wartime experiences shaped the lives and friendships of three female soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 4, 2014

"A powerful, rational guidebook to creating genuinely effective education, written in a manner useful not just for schoolteachers, but everyone involved in the care of children."
Ideas from a former principal on what makes for an exceptional teacher. Read full book review >

UNRULY PLACES by Alastair Bonnett
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: July 8, 2014

"A scintillating poke to our geographical imaginations."
A wonderful collection of a few dozen geographical enchantments, places that defy expectations and may disturb and disorient yet rekindle the romanticism of exploration and the meaning of place. Read full book review >
GIVE <i>WAR AND PEACE</i> A CHANCE by Andrew D. Kaufman
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 20, 2014

"Kaufman's enticing invitation may well persuade readers to finally dive into one of the world's most acclaimed—and daunting—novels."
At 1,500 pages, with a cast of nearly 600 characters, the book Henry James called a "loose baggy monster" looms as an intimidating project. But Kaufman (Literature/Univ. of Virginia; Understanding Tolstoy, 2011, etc.) thinks reading it is worth the effort: "Times are tough, anxiety and fear are pervasive, and people are searching for answers to questions big and small." Read full book review >
WEED LAND by Peter Hecht
HISTORY
Released: May 2, 2014

"A comprehensive and compelling report on the weed wars still raging across the country."
Sacramento Bee senior writer Hecht chronicles how "reefer madness" divided the Golden State's pot-loving community and forever changed America's attitudes toward marijuana. Read full book review >

YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL by David McCullough Jr.
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: May 1, 2014

"Neither sage nor curmudgeon, McCullough is a thoughtful pre-Socratic without a schadenfreude-soaked bone in his body."
The cult of exceptionalism, like celebrity worship, is draining us of our humanity and joy, suggests high school teacher McCullough, whose expertise comes from having nearly three decades of teaching experience and four children of his own. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 22, 2014

"First-rate reporting informs this thrilling narrative of hope."
A New York Times reporter delivers a gripping narrative about the recent court battles involving California's Proposition 8 (which outlawed gay marriage) and the Defense of Marriage Act. Read full book review >
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: April 15, 2014

"Compelling childbirth narratives told from fresh perspectives."
Thirty-one female writers (including the editors) narrate their highly personal experiences of giving birth, beginning with the choices they made in advance, and how the reality compared with their expectations. Read full book review >
THE PEOPLE'S PLATFORM by Astra Taylor
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: April 15, 2014

"Not to be skimmed. A cogent and genuine argument for the true democratization of online culture."
A filmmaker turns her high-powered intellect not just on the Internet and its effect on our lives, but also on the sociological and economic forces that bend and shape it. Read full book review >
Women, Feminism, and Islam by Adeel Zeerak
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: April 12, 2014

"A worthwhile read that corrects several misconceptions."
Zeerak (Islam: A Superior System of Life, 2012) considers the relationships between men and women and the role women play in Islam and the world. Read full book review >
A BIGGER PRIZE by Margaret Heffernan
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: April 8, 2014

"The step-by-step accumulation of argument and evidence is overwhelming in its thoroughness and attention to detail."
Entrepreneur Heffernan (Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril, 2011, etc.) systematically deconstructs the social myths associated with hypercompetitiveness while providing a formidable case about how counterproductive, and even perverse, it can be. Read full book review >
WHY NUDGE? by Cass R. Sunstein
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 25, 2014

"A provocative challenge to the fixed mindsets of left and right alike."
Harvard Law School professor Sunstein (Simpler: The Future of Government, 2013, etc.) takes up the question of the limits to government power in this intriguing revision of the Storrs Lectures on Jurisprudence he gave at Yale in 2012. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Bill Browder
author of RED NOTICE
March 24, 2015

Bill Browder’s Red Notice is a nonfiction political thriller about an American financier in the Wild East of Russia, the murder of his principled young tax attorney, and his mission to expose the Kremlin’s corruption. In 2007, a group of Russian law enforcement officers raided Browder’s offices in Moscow and stole $230 million of taxes that his fund’s companies had paid to the Russian government. Browder’s attorney Sergei Magnitsky investigated the incident and uncovered a sprawling criminal enterprise. A month after Sergei testified against the officials involved, he was arrested and thrown into pre-trial detention, where he was tortured for a year. On November 16, 2009, he was led to an isolation chamber, handcuffed to a bedrail, and beaten to death by eight guards in full riot gear. “It may be that ‘Russian stories never have happy endings,’ ” our reviewer writes about Red Notice, “but Browder’s account more than compensates by ferociously unmasking Putin’s thugocracy.” View video >