Social Sciences Book Reviews (page 625)

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 >
ON CLOWNS by Norman Manea
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 1, 1992

Romanian-ÇmigrÇ novelist Manea here offers a rambling clutch of essays that effectively reproduce the sense of chaos and insecure self-definition that was (and still must be) the lot of the writer-citizen in the slipperiest, perhaps most psychotic of all the pre-1989 European hell-states, Ceausescu's Romania. Read full book review >
ANNA FREUD by Robert Coles
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 30, 1992

"No more than an introduction to Freud's work, but, because of the light it sheds on Coles's thought, of interest to his many admirers."
A slender but rewarding intellectual portrait and appreciation that ultimately reveals as much about Pulitzer Prize-winner Coles (Psychiatry and Medical Humanities/Harvard; The Spiritual Life of Children, 1990, etc.) as his subject. Read full book review >
REVOLUTION FROM WITHIN by Gloria Steinem
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 21, 1992

"A piquant counterpoint to recently revitalized, outer-directed feminist fashion."
In the wake of such feminist calls-to-arms as Susan Faludi's Backlash (p. 1133), Paula Kamen's Feminist Fatale (p. 1137), and Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth (p. 389), Steinem's inwardly turned examination of how men and women sabotage themselves by suppressing the ``child within'' appears decidedly retro. Read full book review >
GAY CULTURE IN AMERICA by Gilbert Herdt
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: Jan. 10, 1992

"Miguel: Sexual Life History of a Gay Mexican American'' proves a notable exception)."
Dedicated to ``the gay men and lesbians of American intellectual life''—a collection of generally scholarly essays that examine the status, behavior, and values of some segments of the gay community, emphasizing changes that have occurred since 1969's Stonewall Riot. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Vanessa Diffenbaugh
September 1, 2015

Vanessa Diffenbaugh is the New York Timesbestselling author of The Language of Flowers; her new novel, We Never Asked for Wings, is about young love, hard choices, and hope against all odds. For 14 years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, now 15, and Luna, six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life. “Diffenbaugh’s latest confirms her gift for creating shrewd, sympathetic charmers,” our reviewer writes. View video >