Social Sciences Book Reviews (page 626)

NON-FICTION
Released: Aug. 2, 1993

A compelling, multidimensional look at Judaism and Spain—a land infamous for its medieval anti-Semitism but as yet unheralded as a haven from Hitler. Read full book review >
THE EXILE by David Rieff
NON-FICTION
Released: Aug. 2, 1993

"A tellingly detailed take on a notably cohesive ethnic minority's slow-motion absorption into the melting pot."
A skilled journalist's affecting and compassionate take on southern Florida's affluent, middle-aged Cubans—whose collective dream of returning to the fondly remembered island paradise of their privileged childhood has become anguishingly chimerical. Read full book review >

NON-FICTION
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

"Fascinating, detailed, and evangelical: a yellow brick road full of rare adventures, intriguing characters, and surprising vistas. (Twenty-four pages of photos—not seen)"
In an alternate history of modern American life from 1890 to 1927, Leach (History/Columbia; True Love and Perfect Union, 1980) offers an encompassing, learned, and fast-paced account of how entrepreneurs, manufacturers, bankers, clergymen, and government leaders produced a culture of consumers—as well as the rituals, morality, aesthetics, and institutions that identify the good with the goodies, acquisition with virtue. Read full book review >
THE ROAD TO MY FARM by Nora Janssen Seton
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

"A beguiling love letter to farms and farmers—from a woman of refreshingly independent thought who shares her unusual love in prose as rich in information as in style."
Like an adult playing make-believe, Seton (an agricultural scientist) lovingly describes the farm she yearns to own—one of ``those longings in life [that] are dull tugs from somewhere inside you.'' Daughter of a psychoanalyst and a novelist, Seton grew up in Northampton, Massachusetts, but from childhood on—when her mother became ill with the cancer that would kill her a decade later—she found solace in handling livestock. Read full book review >
VIRGINS AND OTHER ENDANGERED SPECIES by Dorothea Straus
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

"Better only to nibble at the early recollections—and then feast on the literary reminiscences: They really make the book."
Wispy memoirs of growing up in the cultivated German-Jewish milieu of N.Y.C., which take on more heft as Straus—widow of the late publisher Robert Straus—recalls with verve writers like Lillian Hellman and Jerzy Kosinski. Read full book review >

NON-FICTION
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

"Women on the cutting edge of sexuality, sexual ethics, and the exhilarating art of the personal essay."
Fascinating essays (most original) by 15 African-American women of the civil-rights generation on their experiences of love, lust, and a powerful desire for freedom. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

When in 1923 the American writer Jean Toomer (1894-1967) published Cane, his famous lyric and experimental novel of black southern life, he received immediate recognition and acknowledgment for having produced an American literary masterpiece. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: July 31, 1993

"A disappointing scrapbook seemingly designed more for the author than the reader."
An uneven—and even self-indulgent—mÇlange of autobiography and reportage from a Jewish writer with deep southern roots. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 30, 1993

"Another forgotten woman deservedly brought to our attention- -but in a work that's more a catalogue of her considerable accomplishments than a full portrait."
A workmanlike biography from Miller (History/University of the Pacific) of leading socialist and antiwar activist Kate Richards O'Hare (1876-1948), who was imprisoned for her opposition to WW I. Shaped by her childhood in rural Kansas, O'Hare went on to become one of the leaders of America's Socialist Party. Read full book review >
A MOTHER'S ORDEAL by Steven W. Mosher
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 29, 1993

"A searing and candid look at a place where the state brutally intrudes into the most intimate parts of a woman's life. (First serial rights to Ladies' Home Journal)"
The compelling story of a young Chinese mother, giving a human face to the recent, chilling news accounts of how China has dramatically—and forcibly—decreased its birth rate. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: July 28, 1993

"In spite of the limited and slanted population sampling: a persuasively argued, sympathetic contribution to the growing literature of male liberation."
In a vivid, precise, but limited study, Gerson (Sociology/ N.Y.U.) extends to men the problems she explored in Hard Choices (1985), a study of women's dilemmas with family and career. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: July 14, 1993

"A sound though scattered exposition, then, and a good basis for future research."
Yalom (a researcher at Stanford's Institute for Women and Gender Studies; Maternity, Morality, and the Literature of Madness, 1985, etc.—not reviewed) offers a diffuse literary and feminist perspective on the 138 memoirs of the French Revolution written by women (out of a total of 1,502). Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Katey Sagal
author of GRACE NOTES
April 10, 2017

In her memoir Grace Notes, actress and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children. Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age 52 with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. “While this book is sure to please the author’s many fans, its thoughtful, no-regrets honesty will no doubt also appeal to readers of Hollywood memoirs seeking substance that goes beyond gossip and name-dropping,” our critic writes. “A candid, reflective memoir.” View video >