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 >

Released: Oct. 20, 2015

"A timely, significant examination of the distinction between sexual affinity and sexual identity."
How a politically conservative middle-class family defended their transgender daughter against bigotry and won a groundbreaking legal victory affirming gender identity. Read full book review >
CITY OF THORNS by Ben Rawlence
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"A significant, timely, and gloomy tale that reveals the human costs of a growing world crisis."
Former Human Rights Watch researcher Rawlence (Radio Congo: Signals of Hope from Africa's Deadliest War, 2012) tells the distressing story of Kenya's vast Dadaab refugee camp, where nearly 500,000 people fleeing civil war in nearby Somalia live in a "teeming ramshackle metropolis" the size of Atlanta.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 >
War: A Crime Against Humanity by Roberto Vivo
Released: April 25, 2015

"An important contribution to the study of both war and peace.
A sweeping history of war and peace—and an impassioned call to choose the latter over the former. Read full book review >
THE COSMOPOLITES by Atossa Araxia Abrahamian
Released: Nov. 10, 2015

"A slim but powerful book of great interest to students of international law and current events."
Swiss-Canadian-Iranian journalist Abrahamian looks closely at modern internationality and the legal liminality that can accompany it. Read full book review >
STONED by Aja Raden
Released: Dec. 1, 2015

"A lively, incisive cultural and social history."
A jewelry designer and historian's account of how the desire for diamonds, gold, and other precious stones and metals has shaped history. Read full book review >
THE CON MEN by Terry Williams
Released: Nov. 10, 2015

"A thoroughly researched academic study accessible to general readers."
Two sociology professors' survey of New York con artists and how these reviled but crafty opportunists manage to make a living in the city's informal economy. Read full book review >
Fight Like A Physicist by Jason, PhD Thalken
Released: Sept. 7, 2015

"An enlightening book for martial artists seeking a competitive edge."
Thalken explores how physics can be applied to martial arts. 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 >