Social Sciences Book Reviews (page 619)

BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Oct. 2, 1992

"Serrin has made Homestead's tragedy our own. (B&w photos—16 pages—not seen.)"
A profoundly moving elegy on the death of a legendary Pennsylvania steel town—and, by extension, the end of a century of Smokestack America—from Serrin (Journalism/NYU), a former labor correspondent for The New York Times. Read full book review >
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

"Revelatory eyewitness descriptions, plus sobering analysis, add up to a commendable addition to the growing literature on what's wrong with our health-care system."
Another strong plea for change in America's health-care system, this time with nursing homes under the spotlight. Read full book review >

A CHORUS OF STONES by Susan Griffin
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

"Somber, elliptical, and defeatist—certainly less than such a study might have been."
Griffin (Made from this Earth, 1983; Pornography and Silence, 1981, etc.) turns her thoughtful if chronically depressed gaze to the relationship between secrecy and violence, both in the world and in personal relationships. ``I cannot be certain how far back in human history the habit of denial can be traced,'' writes Griffin. ``But it is at least as old as I am.'' Beginning, then, with the birth of modern warfare in this century, she proceeds to interweave tales of evil made possible by governmental lies and secrets with personal recollections of the toxic falsehoods maintained by her own and others' families. Read full book review >
THE MALE EGO by Willard Gaylin
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

"His tempered commentary here has much of the same positive force as in his Rediscovering Love (1986)."
Like Sam Keen and Robert Bly, Gaylin (Adam and Eve and Pinocchio, 1990, etc.) recognizes a crisis for men, suggesting that ``two hundred years of modern civilization is undoing our evolution.'' Unlike those champions of revised masculinity, however, he rejects the quest for primitive man (``he is only too evident in our behavior''), as well as traditional measures of male success (trophy wives, the corner office), and argues instead for: more meaningful markers and rites of passage; rechanneling aggression into more adaptive patterns; and restoring feelings of pride by acknowledging the historical forces that have undermined them. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

"Lacking in original insights, but, still, a well-intentioned and thoroughly researched introduction to a painful subject."
An in-depth analysis of the print media's handling of sex crimes. Read full book review >

RELIGION
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

Berry, a New Orleans journalist, tips over a religious rock and finds a nest of corruption, deceit, and despair. Read full book review >
ACCEPTABLE RISKS by Jonathan Kwitny
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

"For a broader view of the work of AIDS activists, see Peter S. Arno and Karyn L. Feiden's Against the Odds (p. 363)."
An engrossing view from the trenches of the war on AIDS, by investigative reporter Kwitny (The Crimes of Patriots, 1987, etc.). Read full book review >
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

"A fascinating tour of the way minorities of any sort—the marginal, the alien, the politically impotent—reflect, adapt to, and influence their cultures."
Here, Miller extends his In Search of Gay America (1989) to foreign societies that are in transition, even crisis, exploring the ways in which gay men and women reflect the political, social, religious, and economic conditions of their cultures—in Egypt, China, Japan, Thailand, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Argentina, Uruguay, Denmark, and Australia. Read full book review >
THE MALE PARADOX by John Munder Ross
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

"But Ross's main message—that men must reject simple definitions of masculinity that deny its inherent contradictions—is worth pursuing."
Joining the men's chorus with a different tune, Ross (a psychoanalyst who teaches at both NYU Medical Center and Cornell Medical College) suggests that both new and traditional male stereotypes prevent men from examining the central conflict and mystery within them—the tension between aggressive impulses and what they consider feminine. Read full book review >
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

If mother-daughter relationships are socially rather than psychologically or biologically constructed, then the sources of the common paradigms of bonding/separation, love/hate, enmeshment/autonomy are to be found, according to Walters (Sociology, Georgetown Univ.), in films, TV shows, and magazines. ``Mother-bashing,'' Walters says, has dominated these media since the end of WW II, with daughters growing up through rebellion or self-destruction—encouraged, ironically, by the women's movement that blamed ``mom'' for being neglectful and not nurturing, as well as for being a victim, the symbol of what modern women should hold in contempt. Read full book review >
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

"Providing children with stories of right overcoming wrong—a list of recommended classics is included—is commendable, but the stirring tales may only highlight the morality gap, generating yet more classroom discussion of values."
A flawed but thought-provoking discussion about the moral education—or lack of it—of American children. 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 >