Social Sciences Book Reviews (page 621)

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 1992

An exotic, absorbing, rather odd life saga played out against the volatile politics of Iran. ``Dispossessed of her Persian heritage,'' Farmaian (b. 1921) fondly recalls her harem childhood as the 15th of 36 children, the third-born to her 16-year-old mother, who was the third of her father's eight wives. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 1, 1992

"The corrective, though, may not be to have more humane architecture or pedestrian pathways that rub middle-class noses in urban filth, poverty, misery, and violence—but to address these miseries directly."
What's in store for American cities? Read full book review >

ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Feb. 1, 1992

"A gripping life that rings true. (Sixteen b&w photographs—not seen.)"
Well-written life of singer-pianist Simone, as notable for its clear, strong voice as for its events, which are pretty strong too. Read full book review >
GERTRUDE AND ALICE by Diana Souhami
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 1992

"Photographs by Man Ray and Cecil Beaton stand out among 45 illustrations that convey Stein and her world."
Here, the odd, legendary, and passionate collaboration between Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas is eyed with detailed objectivity by London critic Souhami (Gluck: Her Biography, 1989- -not reviewed). ``Gertrude and Alice made a strange looking pair,'' Souhami begins. Read full book review >
THE TRIAL OF MADAME CAILLAUX by Edward Berenson
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 1, 1992

"Freshly researched, elegantly written, always engrossing. (Twelve b&w illustrations.)"
A skillful take on France's belle Çpoque, using the celebrated 1914 trial of Henriette Caillaux for the murder of Le Figaro editor Gaston Calmette as a springboard to examine a wide range of contemporary topics. Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: Feb. 1, 1992

"Occasionally repetitive and simplistic but nonetheless a warmhearted and genuinely inspiring introduction to compassion as a way of life."
The freewheeling author of the pop spiritual classic Be Here Now teams with fellow Hindu devotee Bush to guide inexperienced Americans on to the path of compassionate action—offering his own spiritual autobiography as testimony to the transforming power of love and social action. Read full book review >
MID-LANDS by Robert Murray Davis
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: Feb. 1, 1992

"Leisurely dig through leaf-meal on a southern life-path, best when the compost ripens."
Captivating memoir of life and customs in Boonville, Missouri, during the 1940's-50's. Read full book review >
ELEVATING THE GAME by Nelson George
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 1992

"A sharp, bold, on-the-money appraisal of an underexamined phenomenon. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)"
The role played by blacks in basketball has evolved, according to this resolute and profoundly perceptive history, from blacks' depiction ``as clowns, role models, and threats to its survival [to], ultimately, the game's very soul.'' George (The Death of Rhythm and Blues, 1988; Where Did Our Love Go?, 1985) traces the history of African-Americans in the sport from 1916, with the founding of the first black intercollegiate conference, through the renowned Harlem Rens of the 1920's and on to the schoolyards and projects of the inner cities and the modern era of Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. Read full book review >
ROWAN'S PROGRESS by James McConkey
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 1992

"A bit like viewing pictures of someone else's relatives- -provoking mild interest or a suppressed yawn."
Leisurely ponderings upon the history of the small Kentucky town where McConkey (Literature/Cornell; Kayo, 1987; To a Distant Island, 1984, etc.) once taught. Read full book review >
A SEASON IN SPAIN by Ann Walker
FOOD & COOKING
Released: Feb. 1, 1992

"A compelling inducement to cook—or to book a flight to Spain. (Maps, line art.)"
Travelogue, cookbook, wine guide, diners' journal, and a sampling of annual festivals: Region by region and season by season (grape harvest, pruning, bud-break), the Walkers (he: a San Francisco food-and-wine writer; she: a caterer) trace their travels and recall with enthusiasm and style the friendly people, delicious food, memorable encounters, vineyards and cellars and wine. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 1992

"A very satisfying account of individual triumphs and personal transformations, with strong pulling power."
Why are some women able to handle adversity while others remain victims? Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 1, 1992

"Ponderous, although well-researched, and suffering also from being intuitively obvious, to the extent that anyone seeking revelation as to how a national identity is forged, and stamped on its citizens, will be disappointed. (Fifteen halftones—not seen.)"
Here, social-historian Bodnar (Indiana Univ.) offers a moderately enticing analysis of the dynamic between national agendas and local attitudes as it surfaces in public ceremonies and commemorations. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Beatriz Williams
June 23, 2015

In Beatriz Williams’ latest novel Tiny Little Thing, it’s the summer of 1966 and Christina Hardcastle—“Tiny” to her illustrious family—stands on the brink of a breathtaking future. Of the three Schuyler sisters, she’s the one raised to marry a man destined for leadership, and with her elegance and impeccable style, she presents a perfect camera-ready image in the dawning age of television politics. Together she and her husband, Frank, make the ultimate power couple: intelligent, rich, and impossibly attractive. It seems nothing can stop Frank from rising to national office, and he’s got his sights set on a senate seat in November. But as the season gets underway at the family estate on Cape Cod, three unwelcome visitors appear in Tiny’s perfect life. “A fascinating look at wealth, love, ambition, secrets, and what family members will and won’t do to protect each other,” our reviewer writes. View video >