Social Sciences Book Reviews

AMERICAN FIRE by Monica Hesse
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: July 11, 2017

"A true-crime saga that works in every respect."
A captivating narrative about arson, persistent law enforcers, an unlikely romantic relationship, and a courtroom drama. Read full book review >
WE ARE DATA by John  Cheney-Lippold
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: May 2, 2017

"Essential reading for anyone who cares about the internet's extraordinary impact on each of us and on our society."
How algorithms shape our lives online. Read full book review >

JANESVILLE by Amy  Goldstein
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: April 18, 2017

"A simultaneously enlightening and disturbing look at working-class lives in America's heartland."
A Midwestern town struggles to survive in the aftermath of an economic disaster. Read full book review >
AWAKENING by Nathaniel Frank
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 24, 2017

"Frank's strikingly detailed, essential reportage reminds readers of the gay community's enduring fight for equality."
A diligent archive of gay marriage equality from its roots as a hopeful pipe dream to its realization as a civil right. Read full book review >
DOWN THE UP STAIRCASE by Bruce D. Haynes
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 11, 2017

"A candid and profoundly personal contribution to America's racial history."
A family's story reflects social upheaval. Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: March 21, 2017

"A compelling history of a nation grappling with the moral and legal freedoms that the founders strived to ensure."
Sexual expression, obscenity, contraception, and abortion are the focus of this wide-ranging legal, political, and social history. Read full book review >
NO ONE CARES ABOUT CRAZY PEOPLE by Ron Powers
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: March 21, 2017

"This hybrid narrative, enhanced by the author's considerable skills as a literary stylist, succeeds on every level."
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Powers (Mark Twain: A Life, 2005, etc.) presents two searing sagas: an indictment of mental health care in the United States and the story of his two schizophrenic sons. Read full book review >
TEARS WE CANNOT STOP by Michael Eric Dyson
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 17, 2017

"The readership Dyson addresses may not fully be convinced, but it can hardly remain unmoved by his fiery prose."
The provocateur-scholar returns to the pulpit to deliver a hard-hitting sermon on the racial divide, directed specifically to a white congregation. Read full book review >
GLASS HOUSE by Brian Alexander
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Feb. 14, 2017

"A devastating and illuminating book that shows how a city and a country got where they are and how difficult it can be to reverse course."
A journalist examines how corporate America and the politics enabling it have corroded an Ohio city to its very foundation. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 28, 2017

"There are countless kernels of amazing achievement and courage throughout this jam-packed, engaging history."
A history of the federal push to bolster women's rights from successive presidents since John F. Kennedy—and the resulting clashes with traditional conservative constituencies. Read full book review >
WHY I AM NOT A FEMINIST by Jessa Crispin
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 21, 2017

"Forget busting glass ceilings. Crispin has taken a wrecking ball to the whole structure."
A taut and spirited attack on contemporary mainstream feminism. Read full book review >
THE EGYPTIANS by Jack Shenker
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 3, 2017

"A troubling yet highly engaging catch-up on the state of incomplete revolution in Egypt."
A sharp jab at the neoliberal economics adopted by Egypt over the last decades, which ultimately spurred grass-roots revolt. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Brad Parks
author of SAY NOTHING
March 7, 2017

In Brad Parks’ new thriller Say Nothing, judge Scott Sampson doesn’t brag about having a perfect life, but the evidence is clear: a prestigious job. A beloved family. On an ordinary Wednesday afternoon, he is about to pick up his six-year-old twins to go swimming when his wife, Alison, texts him that she’ll get the kids from school instead. It’s not until she gets home later that Scott realizes she doesn’t have the children. And she never sent the text. Then the phone rings, and every parent’s most chilling nightmare begins. A man has stolen Sam and Emma. For Scott and Alison, the kidnapper’s call is only the beginning of a twisting, gut-churning ordeal of blackmail, deceit, and terror; a high-profile trial like none the judge or his wife has ever experienced. Their marriage falters. Suspicions and long-buried jealousies rise to the surface. Fractures appear. Lies are told. “The nerve-shredding never lets up for a minute as Parks picks you up by the scruff of the neck, shakes you vigorously, and repeats over and over again till a climax so harrowing that you’ll be shaking with gratitude that it’s finally over,” our critic writes in a starred review. View video >