Social Sciences Book Reviews (page 6)

WHO WE BE by Jeff Chang
Released: Oct. 21, 2014

"An intriguing attempt at cutting through the dissonance of a series of changing cultural milieus."
Sprawling examination of how American society has responded to multiculturalism and demographic diversity. Read full book review >
FRAGRANT by Mandy Aftel
Released: Oct. 16, 2014

"Evocative, heady and overflowing with history and lore."
The history and mystery of the power of scent. Read full book review >

THROWN by Kerry Howley
Released: Oct. 14, 2014

"An original fusion of topic and stance that will appeal to fans of NPR-style social investigations."
A philosophical examination of the maligned subculture of mixed martial arts "cage" fighting. Read full book review >
LOSING OUR WAY by Bob Herbert
Released: Oct. 7, 2014

"In vivid anecdotes and moving portraits, Herbert humanizes the many problems he uncovers, and he clearly believes that Americans can, and will, band together to set the nation on a new course."
Former New York Times opinion columnist Herbert (Promises Betrayed: Waking Up from the American Dream, 2005) reports on his cross-country trip investigating the lives of the 99 percent. Read full book review >
GLASS JAW by Eric Dezenhall
Released: Oct. 7, 2014

"More an illumination of the challenge than a pat solution."
Dezenhall (The Devil Himself, 2011, etc.) counsels beleaguered corporations on how to deal with bullying citizens and their social media attacks. Read full book review >

Released: Oct. 6, 2014

"A little book with a big message, bound to produce discussion among scientists and discomfort in devout churchgoers."
An exploration of what it means to be human by the noted sociobiologist and naturalist, twice the winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 5, 2014

"'Our view is…a deeply cynical one,' write the authors, and is 'unlikely to change anything about how people argue publicly about their preferred policies.' However, this disturbing book may provoke debate, dismay and considerable anger."
An examination of how selfishness and self-deception characterize political thinking. Read full book review >
THE VULGAR TONGUE by Jonathon Green
Released: Oct. 1, 2014

"In this abundantly detailed history, Green argues that a counterlanguage will always exist, providing a voice for the marginalized and expressing deep—and sometimes dark—human needs."
A lexicographer chronicles the language of the streets. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2014

"Despite irritating scholarly touches such as footnotes mixed in with text, Sussman delivers a lucidly written, eye-opening account of a nasty sociological battle that the good guys have been winning for a century without eliminating a very persistent enemy."
In this earnest, often angry history of a hot-button subject, Sussman (Physical Anthropology/Washington Univ.; co-author: Man the Hunted: Primates, Predators, and Human Evolution, 2005) argues that "biological races do not exist among modern humans and they have never existed in the past." Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 30, 2014

"Lively discussion, occasionally sloppy prose and refreshing candor from two keen observers."
Two accomplished black professionals alternate outspoken, provocative views that revolve around race relations in America. Read full book review >
BLACKBALLED by Darryl Pinckney
Released: Sept. 30, 2014

"Not a manifesto but a thoughtful examination of ideas that others have been circulating."
A slim volume of two essays that challenge the very notion of a "post-racial" America. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 30, 2014

"A pertinent, useful study of significant trends in the American political landscape."
An examination of how, "in the twenty-first century, American politics will be shaped, in large measure, by how Latinos are incorporated into the political system." Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Frank Bruni
March 31, 2015

Over the last few decades, Americans have turned college admissions into a terrifying and occasionally devastating process, preceded by test prep, tutors, all sorts of stratagems, all kinds of rankings, and a conviction among too many young people that their futures will be determined and their worth established by which schools say yes and which say no. In Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni explains why, giving students and their parents a new perspective on this brutal, deeply flawed competition and a path out of the anxiety that it provokes. “Written in a lively style but carrying a wallop, this is a book that family and educators cannot afford to overlook as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of college admissions,” our reviewer writes. View video >