Social Sciences Book Reviews

Released: Jan. 19, 2016

"An invaluable guide for those dealing with autism and an inspiring affirmation of every individual's contribution to 'the fabric of humanity.'"
How autism has been transformed over the past century into "a threat that stalk[s] the nation," giving pause to prospective parents. Read full book review >
THE CONFIDENCE GAME by Maria Konnikova
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"With meticulous research and a facility for storytelling, Konnikova makes this intriguing topic absolutely riveting."
What makes a con artist, and why are we duped by them? New Yorker columnist Konnikova (Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, 2013) takes us deeply into the art and psychology of the con game.Read full book review >

THE <i>DEFENDER</i> by Ethan Michaeli
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"A pertinent, well-fashioned American success saga."
This chronicle of the influential black Chicago newspaper simultaneously tracks the important issues pertaining to African-American history from the turn of the 19th century. Read full book review >
Crossroads by Christopher Conte
Released: June 3, 2015

"A strong collection of memoiristic writing that illuminates African womanhood while blending diverse styles and experiences."
Conte, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, collects 15 autobiographical essays by Ugandan women that question stereotypes of African femininity. Read full book review >
TRACE by Lauret Savoy
Released: Nov. 10, 2015

"Springing from the literal Earth to metaphor, Savoy demonstrates the power of narrative to erase as easily as it reveals, yielding a provocative, eclectic exposé of the palimpsest historically defining the U.S. as much as any natural or man-made boundary."
An earth scientist explores the broad historical branches extending from her own roots. Read full book review >

HUMANS OF NEW YORK by Brandon Stanton
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise."
Photographer and author Stanton returns with a companion volume to Humans of New York (2013), this one with similarly affecting photographs of New Yorkers but also with some tales from his subjects' mouths.Read full book review >
THE GAY REVOLUTION by Lillian Faderman
Released: Sept. 8, 2015

"Inspiring and necessary reading for all Americans interested in social justice."
The history of the struggle for gay rights in the United States. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 8, 2015

"Somewhat less supple than Simon Blackburn's Think (1999) as a general introduction to philosophy but an excellent, readable, and eminently practical guide."
It can't take you to the airport, but philosophy, as this spirited book argues, can do all sorts of great things—including contribute to our happiness. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 11, 2015

"A hackle-raising book about nature and human nature, venality and justice, and how disasters—before, during, and after—sharply mirror society."
How the most significant deleterious factor in natural disasters may be the human element. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 11, 2015

"As laws and mores continue to change at a rapid pace, this engaging study offers helpful historical and legal explanations."
This follow-up to lawyer Berkowitz's Sex and Punishment: Four Thousand Years of Judging Desire (2012) brings Western society's continued attempt at regulating sexual mores to the present.Read full book review >
PAID FOR by Rachel Moran
Released: Sept. 8, 2015

"Moran's thoughtful, highly readable, and provocative treatise shines a necessary light on a dark and underdiscussed topic."
Leaving her Dublin home and dysfunctional family at 14, Moran became homeless before she turned to prostitution to survive. Her stirring memoir chronicles her seven-year journey on the streets and in the brothels and examines the costs to society and her soul. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"The Bennetts administer a highly informative and entertaining smack down to get your head on straight."
Psychiatrist Michael Bennett and his comedy-writer daughter, Sarah, combine to demonstrate "why self-improvement is hard and sometimes impossible, even when we're strong-willed and well guided." Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
John Sandford
author of SATURN RUN
October 6, 2015

Saturn Run, John Sandford’s new novel, is quite a departure for the bestselling thriller writer, who sets aside his Lucas Davenport crime franchise (Gathering Prey, 2015, etc.) and partners with photographer and sci-fi buff Ctein to leave Earth’s gravitational field for the rings of Saturn. The year is 2066. A Caltech intern inadvertently notices an anomaly from a space telescope—something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don’t decelerate; spaceships do. A flurry of top-level government meetings produces the inescapable conclusion: whatever built that ship is at least 100 years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. A conclusion the Chinese definitely agree with when they find out. The race is on. “James Bond meets Tom Swift, with the last word reserved not for extraterrestrial encounters but for international piracy, state secrets, and a spot of satisfyingly underhanded political pressure,” our reviewer writes. View video >