Social Sciences Book Reviews (page 626)

Released: June 1, 1992

Culinary historian Hess (coauthor, The Taste of America, 1977- -not reviewed) explores the rice cooking of South Carolina, where that food has been and is a ritual staple. Read full book review >
ONE'S COMPANY by Barbara Holland
Released: June 1, 1992

"A gift book that may help, disturb, and delight—though the generalities at times are like elevator stairs gone flat."
Holland (Hail to the Chiefs, 1990, etc.) wages an uphill battle against loneliness for widows, divorcÇes, and the aging. Read full book review >

Released: June 1, 1992

"But few readers can finish his powerful account without fearing for the future of freedom of the press—and of American democratic institutions."
Seldom have the American media appeared so hornswoggled, so cowardly, or so supine in defending the First Amendment as they are portrayed as being in this bitter polemic on Persian Gulf War coverage by the publisher of Harper's. Read full book review >
MAFIA COP by Lou Eppolito
Released: June 1, 1992

"NYPD buffs. (Photos—16 pages of b&w—not seen.)"
A Manhattan cop breaks family tradition—his uncles, cousin, father, and grandfather all were members of the Gambino crime family—and is accused of selling his shield after a highly decorated career. Read full book review >
CHINATOWN by Gwen Kinkead
Released: June 1, 1992

"Told in strong, clean prose: an exotic and fascinating journey by a modern-day, urban Marco Polo. (Eight pages of b&w photographs- -not seen.)"
Kinkead, a frequent New Yorker contributor, boldly knocks at the bamboo curtain shielding New York's Chinatown, until it lifts a bit—revealing a community so exotic as to be ``virtually a nation unto itself.'' To nearly all the Chinese whom Kinkead meets in Chinatown, she is a low faan (``barbarian'')—``an object of fear, distrust, indifference.'' Yet, with the help of a Hong Kong-born translator, she slowly gains the confidence of waiters, shopkeepers, restaurateurs, healers, and so on, drawing on their stories, as well as on scholarly research, to piece together this personable look at ``the largest Chinese community in the Western hemisphere.'' No mean feat, that: typical is the author's exploration of a dark alley leading to a decrepit tenement where she meets a withered ancient who says that Kinkead is the first white person he's spoken to in 60 years in Chinatown. Read full book review >

Released: June 1, 1992

"The man who once ran a pig for president has become a seasoned do-gooder, and this enjoyable if unabashedly sentimental collection may well succeed in convincing readers that working to ease suffering in the world can be a wonderful trip."
Legendary hippie Wavy Gravy presents 49 goofy and sometimes gripping autobiographical vignettes on everything from Woodstock to Janis Joplin's infectious laugh to the charitable Seva Foundation, using his own life and distinctly wavy sense of humor to get people to ``dare to struggle, dare to grin.'' ``What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 400,000.'' This sunny if unrealistic announcement, blasted through the loudspeakers at Woodstock, became emblematic for Gravy as, over the years, the toothless, grinning founding father of the still-thriving Hog Farm commune came to represent humanitarian and spiritual action as a fun pursuit, a prankster path. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 1992

"A sturdy jumping-off point that should leave interested readers poised to plunge into deeper, more challenging works."
A solid and well-written, if analytically unexceptional, overview of the complex experience of modern American women. Read full book review >
AMERICA EATS by Nelson Algren
Released: May 29, 1992

"Consider Algren's versions engaging documents and Szathm†ry's doable. (Thirty-five photographs—not seen.)"
In the Thirties, before he made his name with The Man With the Golden Arm, Algren was one of several soon-to-be-famous hungry writers hired by the WPA for the Illinois Writers Project's regional guides. Read full book review >
Released: May 26, 1992

"Essential for anyone with a deaf person in his or her life, or for anyone who wishes truly to understand two million deaf fellow Americans."
Lane (Psychology/Northeastern) follows up When the Mind Hears- -his 1984 history of the deaf—with an excoriating analysis of the oppression of the deaf in contemporary society. Read full book review >
Released: May 25, 1992

"Effective social history, then, as told by the participants. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)"
Very much in the populist spirit and style of Studs Terkel, the creator of the Foxfire series here documents the experiences of 20th-century civil-rights activists who had a strong connection with the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee. Read full book review >
Released: May 22, 1992

"And perhaps one of those will do a more successful job of picking up the threads and weaving a tapestry than she has done. (Illustrations—24—not seen.)"
A somewhat unfocused but heavily researched volume on the images and roles of aging women from Neanderthal times to the present. Read full book review >
Released: May 21, 1992

Nostalgia package for the ``silent generation'' of Eisenhower, a generation that today evidently thinks it was in no way silent. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >