Social Sciences Book Reviews

HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE YOU MAKE by John Leland
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 23, 2018

"In this edifying and often quite moving book, Leland presents the 'lessons' taught by his subjects even as they themselves are learning them, and he does so with an empathy and thoroughness that deserve our gratitude."
New York Times reporter Leland (Why Kerouac Matters, 2007, etc.) chronicles the year he spent communing with the "oldest old," gleaning as much of value about his own life as about those he followed. Read full book review >
THE POLARIZERS by Sam  Rosenfeld
Released: Dec. 22, 2017

"A delight for policy wonks and politicos, Rosenfeld's insightful study of the development of political parties since World War II is highly instructive for our current moment."
An analysis of mid-20th-century American political movements and the rise of an ideology-based party system that paved the way for the current state of partisan dysfunction. Read full book review >

BLACK INK by Stephanie Stokes Oliver
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Jan. 30, 2018

"Revelatory, often moving essays by impressive writers."
Writers testify to the significance of reading and writing in their lives. Read full book review >
SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE by Ijeoma Oluo
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 16, 2018

"A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation."
Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 16, 2018

"A rich, complex book that makes splendid use of data to trace the recent renaissance of city neighborhoods and how children and the poor flourish in a time of relative peace."
A sociologist's account of the "stunning" decline in urban American violence in the past two decades. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 30, 2018

"A candid and revealing portrait of a man and a nation in turmoil."
The story of an American physician who faced medical, personal, and cultural challenges at a hospital in Jerusalem. Read full book review >
DAVID BOWIE MADE ME GAY by Darryl W.  Bullock
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 21, 2017

"Well-researched and brimming with intrigue, Bullock's comprehensive study not only makes the work of scores of musicians sing anew; it also demonstrates how the pendulum of acceptance can swing from era to era."
An encyclopedic look at the lives of formative Western LGBT musicians and performers. Read full book review >
OFF THE CHARTS by Ann Hulbert
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 10, 2018

"A persuasive argument for nurturing 'childhood normalcy' even for the stunningly gifted and talented."
A journalist vividly portrays the positive and negative impacts of being a child prodigy. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

"An eloquent affirmation of the vast capacity of the human heart."
An Academy Award-winning filmmaker makes her literary debut with the stunning account of Gladys Kalibbala, who has devoted herself to rescuing lost children in Uganda. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 12, 2017

"A welcome addition to the vast library on American religious discord."
Thoughtful study of the great schism between religious conservatives and progressives about women's control over their own bodies. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"A sharp, thoughtful, sometimes-surprising account of how we build trust with strangers now."
How technology is changing our attitudes toward trust. Read full book review >
WHY I'M NO LONGER TALKING TO WHITE PEOPLE ABOUT RACE by Reni  Eddo-Lodge
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Dec. 5, 2017

"A sharp, compelling, and impassioned book."
A London-based journalist offers her perspective on race in Britain in the early 21st century. 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 >