Social Sciences Book Reviews

WONDERLAND by Steven Johnson
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Nov. 15, 2016

"There's an infectious spirit of delight in the prose, which matches the themes in a book that will engage even those not entirely convinced by its thesis to take a look from a different perspective."
An illumination of how civilization advances through the ways in which it plays. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 18, 2016

"An endlessly fascinating kaleidoscope of American history. A fantastic historical resource."
From the Dutch to the British, featuring a concentration on the waves of Irish and German in the late 19th century, this thoroughgoing work offers a host of immigrant sagas that were integral to the creation of the New York City cauldron. Read full book review >

BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

"A delightfully witty, enjoyable read."
A Brit living in the United States exposes the dark side of the happiness business in her adopted country. Read full book review >
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

"From the rigidly stratified life in the 1920s and '30s during J&L's 'despotic prime,' to the brief, postwar golden age, 'a moment of civic equipoise,' to today's 'company town without a company,' where the combination of unemployment, drugs, and crime crushes hope, Price's football story is really that of America's Rust Belt in poignant miniature."
A senior Sports Illustrated writer tells a multigenerational story about Aliquippa, a Pennsylvania steel town, and its legendary high school football team. Read full book review >
BLOOD AT THE ROOT by Patrick Phillips
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 20, 2016

"An impressive reckoning with a shameful piece of the past that 'most natives of Forsyth would prefer to leave…scattered in the state's dusty archives or safely hidden in plain sight.'"
A history of white supremacy's endurance in a Georgia county. Read full book review >

WE GON' BE ALRIGHT by Jeff Chang
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 13, 2016

"A compelling and intellectually thought-provoking exploration of the quagmire of race relations."
In this collection, written "in appreciation of all the young people who would not bow down," outspoken journalist Chang (Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post-Civil Rights America, 2014, etc.) offers six critical essays addressing racial inequality and inequity and how these provocative, multifaceted issues impact virtually every culture. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"In her reporting, researching, and sharing, Boggs has performed a public service for those in a similar position—and for anyone interested in the implications of parenthood or in a story well-told and deeply felt."
So much more than a memoir about trying to conceive. Read full book review >
THE WORLD IN FLAMES by Jerald Walker
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"The key to the memoir's cumulative power is Walker's narrative command; the rite of passage is rockier than most, making the redemption well-earned."
A memoir in which a young boy comes to terms with the religious cult that had given his family hope. Read full book review >
CAST AWAY by Charlotte McDonald-Gibson
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"A powerfully written, well-documented account of a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions."
Giving faces to the headline stories about the flood of immigrants seeking asylum in Europe. Read full book review >
EXILED IN AMERICA by Christopher Dum
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"Dum's scholarly apparatus is on full display, which will please specialists but should not deter general readers. His exceptional view of what's happening to the weakest among us deserves a place on the same shelf with Matthew Desmond's groundbreaking book Evicted (2016)."
Dum (Sociology/Kent State Univ.) debuts with an ethnographic study of a year in the life of a residential motel. Read full book review >
NECESSARY TROUBLE by Sarah Jaffe
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"An essential guide to forces shaping our nation and the 2016 presidential election."
Journalist and Nation Institute fellow Jaffe debuts with an in-depth account of the wave of populist anger driving "a new era of protest and activism" in the United States. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: July 22, 2016

"An elucidating, nuanced study of gender and feminist dynamics perfect for our current political moment."
A timely study of gender and media that reaches back before the present American election to earlier delineations of white manhood and presidential power. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Kendare Blake
November 16, 2016

Bestseller Kendare Blake’s latest novel, Three Dark Crowns, a dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen. In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions. But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. The last queen standing gets the crown. “Gorgeous and bloody, tender and violent, elegant, precise, and passionate; above all, completely addicting,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >