Current Issues from Military Contractors to Educating At-Risk Youth | Nonfiction Previews, Sept. 2014, Pt. 1

Banks, David with G.F. Lichtenberg. Soar: How Boys Learn, Succeed, and Develop Character the Eagle Way. 37 Ink: Atria. Sept. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9781476760957. $26.99. SOCIAL SCIENCE
In 2004, Banks received permission to build an all-boys public school in New York City’s soarmarginalized South Bronx, arguing that a rigorous blend of college prep–style instruction and community mentoring could effectively channel the competitiveness and peer concerns of young minority males and move them forward. The success of the Eagle Academy for Young Men fits right in with President Obama’s newly announced “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative.

Daniels, Cora & John L. Jackson Jr. Impolite Conversations: On Race, Politics, Sex, Money, and Religion. Atria. Sept. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781476739113. $25.
Daniels (Black Power Inc.), a contributing writer for Essence whose work has been widely published, and cultural anthropologist Jackson, the first-ever Richard Perry University Professor of Communication and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, exchange views in alternating chapters on the hot-button issues of race, politics, sex, money, and religion. They promise unsettling opinions often expressed in private but rarely in public, so be prepared.

Denevi, Timothy. Hyper: A Personal History of ADHD. S. & S. Sept. 2014.  304p. 9781476702575. $26. PSYCHOLOGY
Today, four million children are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and promptly medicated. Denevi was diagnosed in the 1980s at age six and prescribed medication that caused a psychotic reaction, which took some time—and several different treatments, some bizarre—to reverse. Here, Denevi discusses his personal struggles with hyperactivity while detailing the history of its diagnosis (it was first recognized in the late 1800s and has since been blamed on everything from bad morals to government conspiracy) and the sometimes questionable drugs used to treat it. An important topic, just coming to the fore.

Galbraith, James K. The End of Normal: The Great Crisis and the Future of Growth. S. & S. Sept. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781451644920. $26. ECONOMICSendofnormal
The Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, Galbraith contends that our inability to reinvigorate the stalled economy worldwide stems from the misapprehension that we can return to the status quo of 1950s–2000s, perceived as an era of flourishing growth save for some bumps in the 1970s. In fact, growth has been uneven since that decade, and factors like increasingly expensive resources and the labor-saving results of the digital revolution mean that we must plan instead for modest growth. Bound to make some people mad.

Hagedorn, Ann. The Invisible Soldiers: How America Outsourced Our Security. S. & S. Sept. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9781416598800. $28. POLITICAL SCIENCE/INTERNATIONAL SECURITY
A former Wall Street Journal staff writer, Hagedorn (Savage Peace) here reports on the rise of private military and security companies, tapped by the Bush administration when it faced a prolonged Iraq War without enough troops. Now these outside-the-boundaries soldiers don’t just assist U.S. forces, whom they eventually outnumbered in Iraq, but replace them upon withdrawal, guard U.S. embassies, assist in counterterrorism and homeland security, and more. Dangerous? Yes; what if one of these international companies pitted itself against U.S. troops?

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.