Social Sciences Book Reviews

UPROOT by Jace Clayton
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"An engrossing tour of the global cutting edge, balanced between memoir, musicology, and technology."
Sharply detailed exploration of how technology and globalization have transformed participatory audio culture for top-dollar DJs and African ensembles alike. Read full book review >
Without Purpose of Evasion by John Thompson
SOCIAL SCIENCES

"An engrossing, in-depth look at the challenges of city planning in California through the eyes of a public servant."
A city manager strives to demonstrate the nobility of his bureaucratic position as he investigates the environmental costs of a development project. Read full book review >

LIFT by Daniel Kunitz
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: July 5, 2016

"An excellent contribution to the literature of athletic performance and of interest to anyone with a penchant for self-improvement—and not just physical."
A wide-ranging history of fitness. Read full book review >
RAMPAGE NATION by Louis Klarevas
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"A deeply researched, clearly written study that educates while it horrifies."
Klarevas (Global Affairs/Univ. of Massachusetts-Boston) shares his research showing that mass shootings are more common than widely believed but can be decreased by addressing the conditions common to all the massacres. Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"A highly thoughtful and entertaining treatment of a subject that merits serious consideration."
An internationally recognized leader in the field of childhood learning debunks the concept of "good parenting." Read full book review >

INVISIBLE MAN, GOT THE WHOLE WORLD WATCHING by Mychal Denzel Smith
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 14, 2016

"Realizing that he has more questions than answers, Smith cautiously sketches a useful blueprint for radical and intersectional politics in a country where a black child can grow up to be president but where living while black is still dangerous."
As black men are cut down by the police and self-appointed vigilantes, an activist wrestles with competing claims—from his family and community, his historically black university, the media, and white America—on his blackness and how it is to be lived. Read full book review >
Tao of Sustainability by Gregory Ripley
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Jan. 1, 2016

"An informative, well-presented application of traditional activities and philosophies to modern-day life."
Ripley (Primal Energy, 2014, etc.) offers a path back to nature in this philosophical work.Read full book review >
THE FIRE THIS TIME by Jesmyn Ward
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"Timely contributions to an urgent national conversation."
Poets, scholars, and essayists reflect on race in America. 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 >
THE ART OF WAITING by Belle Boggs
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 >
WHITE TRASH by Nancy Isenberg
HISTORY
Released: June 21, 2016

"A riveting thesis supported by staggering research."
A rigorously researched study of the entrenched system of racial classification that dispels many myths about American national identity. Read full book review >
JACKSON, 1964 by Calvin Trillin
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 28, 2016

"Haunting pieces that show how our window on the past is often a mirror."
A veteran reporter collects some significant pieces about race that originally appeared in the New Yorker, his publishing home since 1963. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Fernanda Santos
author of THE FIRE LINE
May 17, 2016

When a bolt of lightning ignited a hilltop in the sleepy town of Yarnell, Arizona, in June 2013, setting off a blaze that would grow into one of the deadliest fires in American history, the 20 men who made up the Granite Mountain Hotshots sprang into action. New York Times writer Fernanda Santos’ debut book The Fire Line is the story of the fire and the Hotshots’ attempts to extinguish it. An elite crew trained to combat the most challenging wildfires, the Hotshots were a ragtag family, crisscrossing the American West and wherever else the fires took them. There's Eric Marsh, their devoted and demanding superintendent who turned his own personal demons into lessons he used to mold, train and guide his crew; Jesse Steed, their captain, a former Marine, a beast on the fire line and a family man who wasn’t afraid to say “I love you” to the firemen he led; Andrew Ashcraft, a team leader still in his 20s who struggled to balance his love for his beautiful wife and four children and his passion for fighting wildfires. We see this band of brothers at work, at play and at home, until a fire that burned in their own backyards leads to a national tragedy. View video >