Social Sciences Book Reviews

CITY OF DREAMS by Tyler Anbinder
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 18, 2016

"An endlessly fascinating kaleidoscope of American history. A fantastic historical resource."
From the Dutch to the British, featuring a concentration on the waves of Irish and German in the late 19th century, this thoroughgoing work offers a host of immigrant sagas that were integral to the creation of the New York City cauldron. Read full book review >
Indigenous Writes by Chelsea Vowel
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Sept. 9, 2016

"A convincing case for rejecting the prevailing policies of 'assimilation, control, intrusion and coercion' regarding aboriginal people."
A Canadian explores the many misconceptions about her country's indigenous citizens. Read full book review >

THE BITCH IS BACK by Cathi Hanauer
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Oct. 1, 2016

"A provocative collection about 'what happens later, after those frantic, demanding, exhausting years with work and very young kids and, sometimes, not enough money.'"
Successful women writers reflect on being mature and female in early-21st-century America. Read full book review >
THE ATTENTION MERCHANTS by Tim Wu
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Oct. 18, 2016

"Forget subliminal seduction: every day, we are openly bought and sold, as this provocative book shows."
When something online is free, then the product being sold is you. Wu (Columbia Law School; The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, 2010) elaborates on that sobering note. Read full book review >
PLAYING THROUGH THE WHISTLE by S.L. Price
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

"From the rigidly stratified life in the 1920s and '30s during J&L's 'despotic prime,' to the brief, postwar golden age, 'a moment of civic equipoise,' to today's 'company town without a company,' where the combination of unemployment, drugs, and crime crushes hope, Price's football story is really that of America's Rust Belt in poignant miniature."
A senior Sports Illustrated writer tells a multigenerational story about Aliquippa, a Pennsylvania steel town, and its legendary high school football team. Read full book review >

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 >
Kirkus Interview
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
author of SEINFELDIA
August 22, 2016

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s new bestseller Seinfeldia is the hilarious behind-the-scenes story of two guys who went out for coffee and dreamed up Seinfeld —the cultural sensation that changed television and bled into the real world. Comedians Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld never thought anyone would watch their silly little sitcom about a New York comedian sitting around talking to his friends. NBC executives didn’t think anyone would watch either, but they bought it anyway, hiding it away in the TV dead zone of summer. But against all odds, viewers began to watch, first a few and then many, until nine years later nearly 40 million Americans were tuning in weekly. In Seinfeldia, TV historian and entertainment writer Armstrong celebrates the creators and fans of this American television phenomenon, bringing readers behind-the-scenes of the show while it was on the air and into the world of devotees for whom it never stopped being relevant, a world where the Soup Nazi still spends his days saying “No soup for you!” “Armstrong’s intimate, breezy history is full of gossipy details, show trivia, and insights into how famous episodes came to be,” our reviewer writes. “Perfect for Seinfeldians and newcomers alike.” View video >