Social Sciences Book Reviews

PSYCHOLOGY
Released: April 1, 2015

"Occasionally ponderous and strident, Crawford's argument is both timely and passionate."
A philosopher mounts a polemic against self-absorption, subjectivism and conformity. Read full book review >
SELFISH, SHALLOW, AND SELF-ABSORBED by Meghan Daum
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: April 1, 2015

"A courageous defense of childlessness and a necessary corrective to the Cult of Mommy, but Daum's collection could have benefitted from a more diverse pool of contributors and a fuller consideration of contrary opinions."
Daum (The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion, 2014, etc.) compiles essays from a group of noted writers—including Kate Christensen, Geoff Dyer and Lionel Shriver—holding forth on the topic of deliberate childlessness.Read full book review >

WHITE BACKLASH by Marisa Abrajano
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 1, 2015

"The authors ponderously demonstrate that white voters who oppose unrestricted Latino immigration increasingly support the party that shares their concern and resists paying for social services for undocumented immigrants. Not worth the effort."
Two University of California, San Diego, political science professors set out to conclusively establish the obvious. Read full book review >
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: April 1, 2015

"Not all the speeches break new ground, but they are uplifting in their overarching focus: There is important work to be done in this world, regardless of the large and small events of our lives."
A collection of recent graduation speeches meant to inspire, edited by New Press education editor Grove and recent Harvard grad Ostrer. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: April 1, 2015

"To be read as both corrective and supplement to Foucault, Szasz, and Rieff. Often brilliant and always luminous and rewarding."
Far-ranging, illuminating study of minds gone awry across space and time. Read full book review >

SO YOU'VE BEEN PUBLICLY SHAMED by Jon Ronson
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: March 31, 2015

"Another intriguing journey from Ronson, who notes that our social media dark side grows ever darker when we believe we're superior to others—and anonymous."
The author of works about everyday psychopathologies takes a hard look at the dark side of shaming on social media. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 24, 2015

"An impressive debut offering explanations based on coherence between people, cases and the events they adjudicated."
Center for American Progress senior constitutional policy analyst Millhiser assesses the damage caused by the Supreme Court to the Constitution, government and the citizens whose rights have repeatedly been curtailed or abrogated in arbitrary, capricious, bigoted and arrogant proceedings. Read full book review >
THE WILD OATS PROJECT by Robin Rinaldi
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 17, 2015

"A sensitive, intimate and bold story."
A 40-something journalist's account of her yearlong open-marriage experiment and its consequences. Read full book review >
BETTER THAN BEFORE by Gretchen Rubin
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: March 17, 2015

"The airy, conversational writing style makes this a quick but not terribly substantial read."
A slight twist on the happiness message that made Rubin (Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life, 2009, etc.) famous, with few new insights.Read full book review >
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: March 17, 2015

"Bond renders a worthwhile subject into entertaining, informative reading."
London-based writer Bond wades into the murky reaches of the human psyche in this exploration of how other people's opinions shape our behaviors and attitudes. Read full book review >
DEEP VIOLENCE by Joanna Bourke
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: March 17, 2015

"A thoughtful but sometimes overly academic consideration of why thousands of people are, or should be, marching in the streets."
A dense treatise on the evil that men do to one another in the name of war. Read full book review >
WHERE YOU GO IS NOT WHO YOU'LL BE by Frank Bruni
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 17, 2015

"Written in a lively style but carrying a wallop, this is a book that family and educators cannot afford to overlook as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of college admissions."
New York Times op-ed columnist Bruni (Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-time Eater, 2009, etc.) shows why rejection by an Ivy League college need not be a disaster and may even be a blessing. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Frank Bruni
March 31, 2015

Over the last few decades, Americans have turned college admissions into a terrifying and occasionally devastating process, preceded by test prep, tutors, all sorts of stratagems, all kinds of rankings, and a conviction among too many young people that their futures will be determined and their worth established by which schools say yes and which say no. In Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni explains why, giving students and their parents a new perspective on this brutal, deeply flawed competition and a path out of the anxiety that it provokes. “Written in a lively style but carrying a wallop, this is a book that family and educators cannot afford to overlook as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of college admissions,” our reviewer writes. View video >