Social Sciences Book Reviews (page 625)

BONES by Douglas Ubelaker
Released: Nov. 18, 1992

"The general reader in search of true-crime forensic suspense, though, will be better off with Christopher Joyce & Eric Stover's livelier Witnesses from the Grave (1990). (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)"
Bullet, stab, and hatchet wounds abound in this super-serious memoir/essay about police science—but Ubelaker (Curator of Anthropology/Smithsonian Institution) and Scammell (Mortal Remains, 1991) avoid sensationalism in discussing their gruesome subject, and give a close, often technical look at how skeletal remains aid in solving mysteries. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 16, 1992

"An overdose of unabashed sensationalism, then, that will ultimately turn off all but the most avidly celebrity-hungry ambulance-chasers. (Photos—24 pp.—not seen.)"
A century's worth of crimes, sex scandals, and other foibles of the idle rich, rewarmed by two New York Post reporters who covered the William Kennedy Smith rape trial. Read full book review >

GAY IDEAS by Richard D. Mohr
Released: Nov. 12, 1992

An insightful and iconoclastic series of essays on gay issues, by Mohr (Philosophy/Univ. of Illinois at Urbana; Gays/Justice, 1990, etc.—not reviewed). Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 10, 1992

"Let Us Now Praise Famous Men for the gay community: a substantial, lucid, and lyrical work of journalistic sociology."
A stereotype-shattering work by journalist and gay activist Rist (Christopher Street, The Nation, The Village Voice, etc.). Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 6, 1992

"Indispensable for prospective parents who may discover that they can just say no to doctor-dictated birth practices and can prescribe their own terms for having a baby."
From the author who 29 years ago roasted the funeral industry in The American Way of Death: a witty, pungent, comprehensive look at the frequently unfortunate practices that guide how American babies are born. Read full book review >

Released: Nov. 2, 1992

"Too valuable to be ignored, but too often testing the reader's patience."
Essays from the editor-in-chief of Ms., including: an interesting look back at the feminist wave she helped start 20 years ago; some fine partisan journalism; and some perfectly dreadful flights of fancy. Read full book review >
LATINOS by Earl Shorris
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

"Wide-ranging, groundbreaking, opinionated, and very important."
Personal, impassioned overview of the fastest growing minority in the US. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

"Many will be convinced by her knowledgeable, persuasive, and entertaining discussion—and the more skeptical will find fascinating tidbits for thought along the way."
Fisher (The Sex Contract, 1981)—research associate at the American Museum of Natural History, former ``house anthropologist'' for The Today Show, and one of our best science-popularizers—may find a large readership for her subject here: the influence of evolutionary biology and genetics on sex, love, marriage, divorce, and today's family. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

Love/hate relationships between sisters in childhood may continue unresolved, affecting self-image and adult relationships- -so says journalist Mathias (The Washington Post, Family Circle, etc.), who here offers shallow exploration as well as gushy encouragement for estranged sisters to reconnect. ``Our parents die, our children leave, we can separate from our husbands or lovers, but a sister remains part of us....'' Sisters, Mathias says, are not bonded by genetics or—because each sister experiences the family in a different way—even by shared history, but rather ``by their gender, which is trained from early childhood to be sensitive to others.'' Mathias's observations, based on interviews with more than 75 women, are intended to encourage therapists to consider more than birth order in evaluating the influence of the sister relationship and to encourage sisters to get past lifelong grievances and to reaffirm their loving connection. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

"The road to equality, paved with good intentions—and reams of barbed wire."
Contentious plea for boosting intelligence as the key to a classless society. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

"Has the feel of a magazine article padded out with term-paper material into a book."
How prejudices based on skin color (as well as hair texture and facial structure) affect the daily lives and life opportunities of blacks in their dealings with whites and—above all—with each other: A compilation of anecdotes with a familiar historical overview and mostly obvious conclusions. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

"In the end, Taylor resembles a physician who uses the most sophisticated equipment to diagnose a patient's condition—and then prescribes bloodletting as the cure."
A stinging, but ultimately one-dimensional, polemic that calls for dismantling race-conscious government, educational, and business policies that, in this conservative's view, worsen the white-black relations they sought to better. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Emma Straub
May 30, 2016

In Emma Straub’s new novel Modern Lovers, friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring. Back in the band’s heyday, Elizabeth put on a snarl over her Midwestern smile, Andrew let his unwashed hair grow past his chin, and Zoe was the lesbian all the straight women wanted to sleep with. Now nearing fifty, they all live within shouting distance in the same neighborhood deep in gentrified Brooklyn, and the trappings of the adult world seem to have arrived with ease. But the summer that their children reach maturity (and start sleeping together), the fabric of the adult lives suddenly begins to unravel, and the secrets and revelations that are finally let loose—about themselves, and about the famous fourth band member who soared and fell without them—can never be reclaimed. “Straub’s characters are a quirky and interesting bunch, well aware of their own good fortune, and it’s a pleasure spending time with them in leafy Ditmas Park,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >