Social Sciences Book Reviews (page 5)

FALAFEL NATION by Yael Raviv
FOOD & COOKING
Released: Nov. 1, 2015

"Readers wishing for a little more about food and a little less about nationalism may want to look elsewhere, but Raviv delivers an academic yet mostly accessible work of culinary anthropology."
What's in a falafel? By the lights of food-studies and nutrition adjunct professor Raviv, it's not just chickpeas and pita bread, but also identity. Read full book review >
MY WIFE WANTS YOU TO KNOW I'M HAPPILY MARRIED by Joey Franklin
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 1, 2015

"A candid, subtly profound collection."
Franklin (English/Brigham Young Univ.) meditates on the nature of manhood by reflecting on his life as a married father of three boys. Read full book review >

WAKING UP FROM WAR by Joseph Bobrow
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Nov. 1, 2015

"A sincere, prescriptive text on a vital subject that deserves a stronger treatment."
A practitioner of diverse palliative arts considers the towering problem of war-inflicted trauma on military members, their families, and the community. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"A useful history of an important, fairly unknown part of the American contribution to the Allied victory."
A long-overdue, sympathetic treatment of the barrage balloon operators who fought valiantly on the beaches of France. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"Not without its flaws, but a good choice for fans of David Halberstam's The Amateurs (1985), Daniel Boyne's The Red Rose Crew (2000), and similar books."
A brightly told story of the triumph of underdogs. Read full book review >

AND STILL I RISE by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"A must for the look-it-up shelf and a poignant reminder of how far we have come—and have yet to go."
A stirring chronology of advances—and some backward steps—in the long struggle for African-American civil rights. 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 >
Sleep Secrets by Ronald M. Bazar
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: Oct. 14, 2015

"A layperson's guide to possible impediments to successful sleep, including a variety of natural cures that lack strong scientific backing."
A guide to overcoming sleep problems, offering solutions that range from the ordinary to the esoteric. 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 >