Essential reading for digital policymakers—and citizens seeking change in this arena.

READ REVIEW

FIBER

THE COMING TECH REVOLUTION—AND WHY AMERICA MIGHT MISS IT

The great promise of “cheap, unlimited connectivity” via fiber-optic cables.

In South Korea, Sweden, and many other Asian and northern European countries, enormous amounts of data travel through fiber directly into homes, providing limitless communications capacity. In this comprehensive account, Crawford (Harvard Law School; Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age, 2013), a former science and technology adviser for Barack Obama, argues that, lacking fiber-to-the-home connections, most Americans “suffer from totally inadequate, horribly expensive connectivity that cuts whole populations off from opportunity, adequate health care, and a decent education, and thwarts the development of new businesses.” In the United States, fiber connects cities but stops short of entering neighborhoods. Instead, information comes into 84 percent of homes through far more limited copper wire. That is like traveling through a 2-inch-wide pipe as opposed to the 15-mile-wide river afforded by fiber. Drawing on five years of research and interviews in cities from Stockholm to Santa Monica and Chattanooga, Crawford describes how fiber is made, its ability to encode information on pulses of light, and why “very-high-capacity wireless connections—5G—require fiber to run deep into neighborhoods and buildings.” An unabashed booster of fiber to the home, she details the impacts of so-called “last-mile fiber connectivity” (China is installing some 20,000 such connections daily), including greatly improved opportunities for everything from business, learning, and medical care to urban problem-solving. Fiber’s huge broadband capacity makes possible a remarkable, reliable virtual presence. “Fiber plus advanced wireless capability is as central to the next phase of human existence as electricity was a hundred years ago,” writes the author. At present, unregulated cable and phone monopolies control expensive into-the-home connections, with no incentive to upgrade to fiber. If the benefits of fiber connectivity are to reach beyond urban, affluent areas into rural and poor households, it will require local leadership and new federal policies.

Essential reading for digital policymakers—and citizens seeking change in this arena.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-300-22850-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE

Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more