Social Sciences Book Reviews (page 625)

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 17, 1991

"A superb study that does much to bring recent Latin American history into sharp focus while at the same time illuminating just what it is that allows societies—wherever they may be—to accept, and sometimes embrace, violence."
Rosenberg, a MacArthur ``genius''-award journalist with a strong sense of narrative, looks far beyond the usual lurid accounts of violence in Latin America to write a personalized book that digs down deeply into the continent's psyche. Read full book review >
RELIGION
Released: Sept. 16, 1991

"Still, there's much food for thought here—more than enough to sate human-potential devotees and to provide tantalizing tidbits for everyone else."
Running the gamut from Anglicanism to Zen, psychologist Anderson and consultant Hopkins present an uncritical examination of uniquely feminine aspects of faith. Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: Sept. 11, 1991

"Himmelfarb concludes that, although the definition of poverty will change, there will always be a stable reservoir of poor requiring the social conscience, compassion, and charitable action exemplified by the later Victorians."
In this erudite, sweeping, and subtle study of attitudes toward the poor in late Victorian England, formidable intellectual historian Himmelfarb (The New History and the Old, 1987; The Idea of Poverty, 1984, etc.; History/CUNY) shows that she is as gifted with ``moral imagination'' as the philanthropists she so much admires. Read full book review >
REFLECTIONS OF AN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION BABY by Stephen L. Carter
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Sept. 11, 1991

"Americans seems to overlook the harsh historical reality and pervasive attitudes that made affirmative action a necessity."
Affirmative-action programs have ``run their course'' and, according to this overworked, self-referential diatribe from Carter (Yale/Law), that's all to the good. Read full book review >
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Sept. 10, 1991

"An angry doctor's rambling and repetitious harangue, certain to arouse the ire of the medical establishment."
Kevorkian, gadfly of the medical profession and inventor of the ``suicide machine,'' speaks his mind on the ethics of death. Read full book review >

EDGE CITY by Joel Garreau
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 10, 1991

"Still, a provocative work that brings to popular attention a major restructuring that is, as Garreau says, all around us but largely ignored by professional architects and planners."
After the suburbanization of America in the 50's, when people followed new highways out to new one-family homes, came the malling of America in the 60's and 70's and then, in the 80's, the high- rise office buildings that brought the jobs suburb-ward and added critical mass to dozens of ``urban'' clumps now bigger than many of the major old cities they surround. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 6, 1991

"Feiler's first book (which, the publisher says, is the first book written by a Westerner who has taught in Japanese schools) is warm, intimate, and often very funny, bringing much-needed insight into Japanese grass-roots culture and the role of education in that land."
A young North American spends a year teaching in a rural Japanese school, where he watches day-to-day life with a delighted, observant eye. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 4, 1991

"Moreover, like the GOP, Brown doesn't discuss the S&L debacle, deficits, or any evidence counter to his claim that the GOP serves the economic self-interest of the middle class."
Polemic arguing that the Democratic Party is headed for the dustbin of history because the core electorate—the white middle- class—perceives it as dominated by minority concerns. Read full book review >
MAKE-BELIEVE MEDIA by Michael Parenti
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Sept. 2, 1991

"Prickly analysis, peppered with the remains of neatly dissected cultural icons."
Having previously taken aim at, among other topics, American foreign policy (The Sword and the Dollar, 1988) and media propaganda techniques (Inventing Reality, 1986), veteran progressive critic Parenti now delivers a swift kick to the assumption that American mass entertainment, although vapid, remains basically harmless. Read full book review >
ALL BUT THE WALTZ by Mary Clearman Blew
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

"A superbly realized vision."
In her first essay collection, Blew (a story collection, Runaway, 1990—not reviewed) joins the top echelon with 11 virtuoso pieces on life and death on the Montana Plains. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

"Blending scholarship and ironic detachment, an admirably balanced treatment of a politician who provoked anything but objectivity during his Marion Barry-like career. (Thirty-five b&w photographs—not seen.)"
The first full-length biography—and likely the authoritative one for years to come—of the flamboyant black congressman who, as civil-rights gadfly and as libertine, exemplified the gap between our nation's ideals and practices that was given a name in Gunnar Myrdal's ``American Dilemma.'' Blessed with good looks, eloquence, and a bully pulpit (he succeeded his father as head of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, the nation's largest black congregation), Powell became ``Mr. Civil Rights'' in the pre-King era by combining agitation and electoral politics. Read full book review >
WOMEN OF INFLUENCE, WOMEN OF VISION by Helen S. Astin
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

"A meandering portrait whose flat, nonchallenging style detracts substantially from the book's effectiveness."
A dry look at late-20th-century feminist leaders in academia, by a psychologist and professor of higher education at UCLA (Astin) and a senior program associate at the Center for Creative Leadership in San Diego (Leland). 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 >