Social Sciences Book Reviews (page 623)

HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

"A dazzling exposition, intellectually demanding but lightened by lively prose, that goes far to establish Young as the Joseph Campbell of the Nineties. (Line drawings—not seen.)"
Audacious anthropological speculation by Young (Literature/Univ. of Essex, England), who traces humanity's spiritual practices back to the ancients and beyond in an attempt to ``heal the rift that opened in the Western soul some 400 years ago when science and religion went their separate ways.'' Decrying today's scientism, or ``science as religion,'' Young calls for a return to ``foundations''—the mythological roots of our understanding of the universe. Read full book review >
A SPECIAL KIND OF HERO by Chris Burke
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

"The story of how ordinary people met extraordinary demands and how a special child became an unexpected success, marred in the telling by repetition and overattention to trivia. (Twenty- five b&w photographs—not seen.)"
Awkwardly told tale of how one family raised a Down's syndrome child to achieve far beyond expectations. Read full book review >

PSYCHOLOGY
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

"Withal, a fine, provocative and absorbing account of what makes humans human."
``The modern era, if it can be reduced to any single dimension, is especially characterized by its obsession with symbols and their management.'' So says Donald (Psychology/Queen's Univ., Kingston, Ontario), echoing the philosopher Ernst Cassirer a generation ago—with a difference. Read full book review >
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

Eight gay figures carve a niche in the American dream in this collection of engaging but often overzealous biographies. Read full book review >
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

"We don't find out here, but we may be inspired to expand our own little business in homage."
In case the title fails to warn you, this is a somewhat unfocused inspirational corporate history by the entrepreneurial cult heroine who founded the wildly remunerative ``environmentally conscious'' cosmetics company called The Body Shop. Read full book review >

HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

"Slick repackaging of standard advice."
Psychotherapists Barbach (For Each Other, 1982, etc.) and Geisinger team up here to write in praise of monogamy—ever-more appealing as the sexual revolution turns nasty. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

"Unconvincing infotainment. (Sixteen pages of photographsnot seen.)"
More B-movie journalism from the prolific Thomas (Journey into Madness, Desire and Denial, etc.), who turns a potentially important story on the Chinese democracy movement into serial melodrama. Read full book review >
IN THE REALM OF A DYING EMPEROR by Norma Field
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

A provocative, multileveled ``meditation'' on Emperor Hirohito's 1989 death, raising dark questions about Japan's war guilt in the context of its triumphant prosperity today. Read full book review >
AMERICAN MYTHOLOGIES by Marshall Blonsky
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

Now that the car is no longer the center of our technology, ``What is the new order in the making?'' In the style of Roland Barthes, Blonsky (Semiotics/New School for Social Research) sets out ``to decode a series of American myths,'' and the contents of his interviews with assorted celebrities and thinkers are at once astute and entertaining. Read full book review >
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

Impassioned and eloquent, jazz historian Collier (Duke Ellington, 1987; Louis Armstrong: An American Genius, 1983, etc.) here turns a critical eye to the history of self-interest among Americans and its phenomenal growth in recent times. Read full book review >
LOVE, SEX, DEATH, AND THE MAKING OF THE MALE by Rosalind Miles
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

"Engaging and fun to read, but for a more subtle study, see Myraim Miedzian's Boys Will Be Boys (p. 587)."
The lurid title suits this swift, wry, anecdotal survey of the pitiful confusion that Miles (The Women's History of the World, 1989; Women and Power, 1986) finds in the lives of adult men: Acculturated largely by women to identify with their penises (which makes them prone to violence), they are, she says, ``dislocated'' by the women's movement, frustrated, angry, and even more violent than historically they have been known to be. Read full book review >
AMERICA AT CENTURY'S END by Alan Wolfe
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

"Topical, contemporary, anecdotal, and of general appeal, but flawed by its lack of historical context, by its failure to relate properly the past 40 years of change to precedents and movements of earlier times."
Twenty-two clear, winning, and original essays by an eclectic group of distinguished sociologists who provide an ``evaluative portrait,'' limited but provocative, of selected areas of American life in the closing decades of the 20th century. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Fatima Bhutto
April 14, 2015

Set during the American invasion of Afghanistan, Fatima Bhutto’s debut novel The Shadow of the Crescent Moon begins and ends one rain-swept Friday morning in Mir Ali, a small town in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas close to the Afghan border. Three brothers meet for breakfast. Soon after, the eldest, Aman Erum, recently returned from America, hails a taxi to the local mosque. Sikandar, a doctor, drives to the hospital where he works, but must first stop to collect his troubled wife, who has not joined the family that morning. No one knows where Mina goes these days. But when, later in the morning, the two are taken hostage by members of the Taliban, Mina will prove to be stronger than anyone could have imagined. Our reviewer writes that The Shadow of the Crescent Moon is “a timely, earnest portrait of a family torn apart by the machinations of other people’s war games and desperately trying to survive.” View video >