Social Sciences Book Reviews

VITAL LITTLE PLANS by Jane Jacobs
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Oct. 11, 2016

"A timely volume that supports Jacobs' aim to 'stir up some independent thinking urgently needed as a wake-up call for America.' A perfect complement to Robert Kanigel's excellent biography, Eyes on the Street (2016)."
A collection of short pieces by an outspoken champion of urban diversity. Read full book review >
EXILED IN AMERICA by Christopher Dum
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"Dum's scholarly apparatus is on full display, which will please specialists but should not deter general readers. His exceptional view of what's happening to the weakest among us deserves a place on the same shelf with Matthew Desmond's groundbreaking book Evicted (2016)."
Dum (Sociology/Kent State Univ.) debuts with an ethnographic study of a year in the life of a residential motel. Read full book review >

GRAND HOTEL ABYSS by Stuart Jeffries
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"A rich, intellectually meaty history."
Life inside the 20th-century's reigning citadel of pessimism, as told through the lives and (often conflicting) philosophies of its key thinkers. Read full book review >
TRAINWRECK by Sady Doyle
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Sept. 20, 2016

"A well-rounded, thoughtful analysis of what can make and break a woman when she's placed in the spotlight."
How and why women are alternately idolized and then given hell for being the way they are. Read full book review >
WE GON' BE ALRIGHT by Jeff Chang
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 13, 2016

"A compelling and intellectually thought-provoking exploration of the quagmire of race relations."
In this collection, written "in appreciation of all the young people who would not bow down," outspoken journalist Chang (Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post-Civil Rights America, 2014, etc.) offers six critical essays addressing racial inequality and inequity and how these provocative, multifaceted issues impact virtually every culture. Read full book review >

NECESSARY TROUBLE by Sarah Jaffe
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"An essential guide to forces shaping our nation and the 2016 presidential election."
Journalist and Nation Institute fellow Jaffe debuts with an in-depth account of the wave of populist anger driving "a new era of protest and activism" in the United States. Read full book review >
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

"A delightfully witty, enjoyable read."
A Brit living in the United States exposes the dark side of the happiness business in her adopted country. Read full book review >
CAST AWAY by Charlotte McDonald-Gibson
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"A powerfully written, well-documented account of a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions."
Giving faces to the headline stories about the flood of immigrants seeking asylum in Europe. Read full book review >
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: April 19, 2016

"A concise, informative look at the problem of obesity and the factors that make it a rapidly growing epidemic."
A short debut guide presents the common causes, complications, and cultural norms surrounding weight issues. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"Timely, controversial, and bound to stir already heated discussion."
An impassioned analysis of headline-making cases of police shootings and other acts of "state violence" against blacks and other minorities. Read full book review >
BORN BRIGHT by C. Nicole Mason
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"A thoughtful, well-crafted rejoinder to Claude Brown's half-century-old Manchild in the Promised Land, speaking to the power of hope and the institutional changes needed to make hope possible."
The aspirational story of a young African-American woman's rise from poverty. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

"A nuanced, forthright, emotionally compelling take on a painful subject."
How family dynamics can reflect racial prejudices in society as a whole. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Morgan Matson
July 25, 2016

The Unexpected Everything is a YA feel-good story of friendship, finding yourself, and all the joys in life that happen while you’re busy making other plans. Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan. Future? A top-tier medical school. Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around). Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else? Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks. So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too. Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all. “Romance fans will find plenty to enjoy, as Andie gradually lets down her guard and risks the messy and unpredictable wonder of first love,” our reviewer writes. “A novel best read on a lazy summer day with sand between the toes.” View video >