The Born Frees, Future of Democracy, North Korea Memoirs, Pro Media, & More | Social Sciences Reviews, June 1, 2015

redstarBurge, Kimberly. The Born Frees: Writing with the Girls of Gugulethu. Norton. Aug. 2015. 288p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780393239164. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393248258. WOMENS STUDIES

bornfrees6915The Born Frees are the first generation growing up in postapartheid South Africa, i.e., those born in or after 1994 when Nelson Mandela became president. Yet the dissolution of apartheid did not represent the end of inequality, and for many black citizens suffering has continued. Journalist Burge spent a year in South Africa hosting a creative writing club for the Born Frees of Gugulethu, a town with a troubled history. Burge’s group provided a safe space for girls to gather without fear of judgement. Writing became an outlet for many involved, and the club itself grew into a platform to share thoughts about issues that matter the most to the girls. Specifically, Burge allowed for an expression and preservation of the female voice, and the Born Frees realized that both education and health play a major role in the elimination of poverty. The girls wrote about their lives, needs, hopes, feelings, and worries; Burge permits their stories to narrate the lingering effects of apartheid and contemporary life in South Africa. VERDICT Incredible and inspiring, this account belongs in every library and on every bookshelf.—Cicely Douglas, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., FL

redstarLawless, Jennifer L. & Richard L. Fox. Running from Office: Why Young Americans Are Turned Off to Politics. Oxford Univ. Jul. 2015. 232p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780199397655. $21.95; ebk. ISBN 9780199397679. POL SCI

runningfromoffice6915The nature of the current American political system is creating negative consequences. As Lawless (government & director, Women & Politics Inst., American Univ.; Becoming a Candidate) and Fox (political science, Loyola Marymount Univ.; coauthor, It Still Takes a Candidate) illustrate in this title, one such outcome is that younger people say they are disinclined to run for office in the future—at all levels of government. The authors draw on a large survey and in-depth interviews with high school and college students and conclude that the roots of the problem lie with a lack of conversations at home and within social circles and negative perception of politicians as leaders. This tendency threatens democracy because the best and brightest will not shape future governance. This effective treatise on the consequences of the great partisan divide in Washington will work well with The Networked Young Citizen, edited by Brian D. Loader and others, and Jay Childers’s The Evolving Citizen. VERDICT Recommended for students of American democracy, government officials, and young citizens.—Jacob Sherman, John Peace Lib., Univ. of Texas–San Antonio

redstarNeff, James. Vendetta: Bobby Kennedy Versus Jimmy Hoffa. Little, Brown. Jul. 2015. 384p. notes. index. ISBN . $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316251112. HISTvendetta6515
The white-hot courtroom battles between Jimmy Hoffa, president of the Teamsters—“the biggest, baddest, most powerful labor union in American history”—and ­Robert F. Kennedy, chief counsel for the 1957 Senate Select Committee on Improper Activities in Labor and Management and later as John F. Kennedy’s attorney general, gripped the United States during some of the bleakest days of the Cold War. Neff (investigations editor, The Seattle Times; The Wrong Man) captures the tension and hatred between the men in this impressively researched page-turner. The mobbed-up, charismatic Hoffa was able to avoid Kennedy’s charges of bribery, perjury, and wiretapping until 1964 when Hoffa’s streak of luck ended with his convictions for another wiretapping incident, and for robbing the Teamster pension fund. Interestingly, Neff concludes that Kennedy could not enjoy the fruits of his vendetta because he lost the will to hate after the assassination of his brother. ­VERDICT This enthralling account, based mostly on archival research, will appeal to Kennedy followers, true crime fans, and students and scholars of modern American history. ­Consider Evan Thomas’s Robert Kennedy for an earlier narrative of this feud and Jeff Shesol’s Mutual Contempt, which shows that ­Robert ­Kennedy’s abhorrence of Lyndon Johnson matched or surpassed his loathing of Hoffa. [See Q&A with Neff LJ 6/1/15; Prepub Alert, 1/25/15.]—Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA

Professional media

redstarAldrich, Margret. The Little Free Library Book. Coffee House. 2015. 200p. photos. ISBN 9781566894074. $25. PRO MEDIA

littlefreelibrarybook6915Todd Boll began the Little Free Library movement with the goal of building 2,510 libraries, one more than Andrew ­Carnegie. In just over five years, the campaign has inspired over 25,000 libraries worldwide. Aldrich (former editor, Utne Reader) pays homage to this movement and the individuals who have fostered its development. Well-chosen vignettes demonstrate how the movement not only promotes literacy but produces a sense of community and offers creative outlets for library designers. Interested readers will learn how to fund, build, stock, and curate their own library, as well as discover tips on overcoming challenges. The cover images encourage the reader to peek inside the book, just as their real-life counterparts inspire passers-by to stop and see what treasures the little library might contain. The myriad photos show the love of books and that reading knows no boundaries. VERDICT Lovers of books and libraries will adore this title, as will readers interested in folk art or successful grassroots movements. Be warned, Little Free Libraries are sure to spring up wherever this book is available.—Lydia Olszak, Bosler Memorial Lib., Carlisle, PA

Cultural Heritage Information: Access and Management. Neal-Schuman. (iResearch). 2015. 360p. ed. by Ian Ruthven & G. G. Chowdhury. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780838913475. pap. $110. PRO MEDIA

The rapid development of digitization technology has resulted in easier and more widespread access to online copies of cultural heritage resources (CHR), including audio, images, manuscripts, texts, and video material, while protecting the originals from unnecessary handling. Metadata and indexing are crucial factors in efficient access to CHR information. Editors Ruthven (information seeking & retrieval, Univ. of Strathclyde, Glasgow) and Chowdhury (information science, Northumbria Univ.) present a collection of essays by international scholars addressing challenges in developing policies and guidelines for optimal utilization of these technologies and elements of information seeking behavior that can inform the framework of next generation technologies. This first monograph in the series provides an overview of current trends and research interests in the fields of CHR information systems and services. Companion works include Anne Gilliland’s Conceptualizing 21st-Century Archives and Elizabeth Keathley’s Digital Asset Management. VERDICT Library and museum directors, IT personnel, and librarians and curators involved with digital resources can all find useful insights in the balanced array of writings. A valuable collection for students, theoreticians, and practitioners assessing their institutions’ next steps in providing access to digital assets.—Betty J. Glass, Univ. of Nevada Lib., Reno

George, Adrian. The Curator’s Handbook. Thames & Hudson. Aug. 2015. 320p. notes. index. ISBN 9780500239285. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780500772638. PRO MEDIA

This informative handbook to the multiple facets of the world of curatorship starts with the historic view of the curator and continues with a detailed examination of the multiple tasks and roles typically assigned to modern curators. George (senior curator, UK Government Art Collection) traces the evolution of an exhibition from its conception to the presentation of the idea, through contracts and loans, budgets and schedules, catalogs and didactic materials, as well as gallery design and public relations. Each chapter provides an essential discussion of the practicalities and possibilities involved; charts with diagrams and tables help clarify the issues at hand. Readers are taken through the curation process with precise writing and a formidable wealth of experience behind each inquiry and instruction. Frequent observations by the contributing museum directors add a personal touch and offer beneficial perspectives about the job. VERDICT Any student or novice curator will find this a vital part of their curriculum; it is a resource that should be on the shelf of any curator working in a museum in the 21st century. A much-needed manual for contemporary practitioners of the fine art of curatorship, written with an eye to the everyday applications necessary for the evolution of an exhibition.—Paula Frosch, ­Metropolitan Museum of Art Lib., NY

North Korea Memoirs

Kim, Eunsun with Sébastien Falletti. A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea. St. Martin’s. Jul. 2015. 240p. tr. from Korean by David Tian. ISBN 9781250064646. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466870888.

Kim, Joseph with Stephan Talty. Under the Same Sky: From Starvation in North Korea to Salvation in America. Houghton Harcourt. Jun. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780544373174. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780544373181. AutoBIOG

underthesamesky6915The United States harbors a fascination with North Korea that was rekindled with the change of leadership in late 2011; the death of Kim Jong-il and the ascension of his son Kim Jong-un resulted in extensive media attention. Joseph Kim’s Under the Same Sky and Eunsun Kim’s A Thousand Miles to Freedom (no relation between the authors) add to this wave of recent consideration by detailing the complexities of life as North Korean defectors. Both authors enjoyed their early childhoods in North Korea and reminisce frequently about school and memories of treats such as ice cream and candy. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, however, both writers faced difficult times, eventually sneaking across the guarded North Korean border into China, where they hid from authorities before traveling to the United States and South Korea, respectively. In spite of the similar story lines, the memoirs are substantially different.

A Thousand Miles to Freedom speaks out against the North Korean regime and is interspersed with political commentary. As an abundance of writings on this topic currently exist, Eunsun Kim’s observations add little to the conversation and occasionally distract from the actual story, which vividly depicts family life in the region and is unique in its detailing of existing as a refugee in China, where Eunsun’s mother was essentially sold to a farmer with whom the family was sent to live. The descriptions of time spent in China, the escape to Mongolia, and subsequent move to South Korea are fascinating and will certainly interest many readers.

Under the Same Sky’s subtitle may mislead readers into assuming this narrative is anti-North Korea; however, Joseph Kim primarily focuses on his family, experience on the streets surviving as a thief, and subsequent time spent in jail. The cultural insights, such as mentions of Kim’s favorite foods, school, dating, and burial rites, make the book enjoyable to read. This account differentiates itself by focusing on the author’s private life, not the government. VERDICT Both volumes put a human face to an often misunderstood country and will appeal to a wide range of readers. [See Prepub Alert, 1/25/15.]—Casey Watters, Shanghai Jiao Tong Univ.

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The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue.
Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Badkhen, Anna. Walking with Abel: Journeys with the Nomads of the African Savannah. Riverhead. Aug. 2015. 320p. illus. ISBN 9781594632488. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698142718. MEMOIR


Miller, Judith. The Story: A Reporter’s Journey. S. & S. 2015. 400p. notes. index. ISBN 9781476716015. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781476716039. COMM


Howard, Vicki. From Main Street to Mall: The Rise and Fall of the American Department Store. Univ. of Pennsylvania. (American Business, Politics, & Soc.). Jun. 2015. 304p. photos. notes. index. ISBN 9780812247282. $34.95; ebk. ISBN 9780812291483. BUS

Karlgaard, Rich & Michael S. Malone. Team Genius: The New Science of High-Performing Organizations. Harper Business. Jul. 2015. 304p. notes. index. ISBN 9780062302540. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062302564. BUS

Lipman, Victor. The Type B Manager: Leading Successfully in a Type A World. Prentice Hall. Aug. 2015. 224p. notes. ISBN 9780735205437. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698402584. BUS

Stone, Adam N. Unbrandable: How To Succeed in the New Brand Space. Thames & Hudson. Jul. 2015. 184p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780500291924. pap. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780500772607. BUS


Hirschi, Jane S. Ripe for Change: Garden-Based Learning in Schools. Harvard Education. 2015. 176p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781612507729. $66; pap. ISBN 9781612507712. $33. ED

Kelsky, Karen. The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide to Turning Your Ph.D. into a Job. Three Rivers: Crown. Aug. 2015. 448p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780553419429. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780553419436. CAREERS

Kreamer, Anne. Risk/Reward: Why Intelligent Leaps and Daring Choices Are the Best Career Moves You Can Make. Random. Jun. 2015. 224p. bibliog. ISBN 9781400067985. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780812997712. CAREERS

redstarOchshorn, Susan. Squandering America’s Future: Why ECE Policy Matters for Equality, Our Economy, and Our Children. Teachers Coll. Jul. 2015. 192p. notes. index. ISBN 9780807756706. pap. $27.95. ED


Bikont, Anna. The Crime and the Silence: Confronting the Massacre of Jews in Wartime Jedwabne. Farrar. Sept. 2015. 576p. tr. from Polish by Alissa Valles. photos. ISBN 9780374178796. $30. HIST

Boardman, John. The Greeks in Asia. Thames & Hudson. Jun. 2015. 240p. illus. maps. notes. index. ISBN 9780500252130. $50. HIST

Kershaw, Alex. Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family’s Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris. Crown. Aug. 2015. 320p. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780804140034. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780804140041. HIST

redstarLee, Erika. The Making of Asian America. S. & S. Sept. 2015. 416p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781476739403. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781476739427. HIST

redstarMoore, Susanna. Paradise of the Pacific: Approaching Hawaii. Farrar. Aug. 2015. 352p. photos. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780374298777. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781429944960. HIST

Rael, Patrick. Eighty-Eight Years: The Long Death of Slavery in the United States, 1777–1865. Univ. of Georgia. Aug. 2015. 400p. photos. notes. index. ISBN 9780820333953. $89.95; pap. ISBN 9780820348391. $32.95. HIST

Robertson, John. Iraq. Oneworld Pubs. Sept. 2015. 384p. maps. notes. index. ISBN 9781851685868. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781780744193. HIST

Roker, Al. The Storm of the Century: Tragedy, Heroism, Survival, and the Epic True Story of America’s Deadliest Natural Disaster; The Great Gulf Hurricane of 1900. Morrow. Aug. 2015. 320p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780062364654. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062364678. HIST

redstarStrathern, Paul. Death in Florence: The Medici, Savonorola, and the Battle for the Soul of a Renaissance City. Pegasus. Aug. 2015. 456p. illus. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781605988269. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781605988276. HIST

redstarToll, Ian W. The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942–1944. Norton. Sept. 2015. 672p. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780393080643. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780393248203. HIST

Yalom, Marilyn with Theresa Donovan Brown. The Social Sex: A History of Female Friendship. Harper Perennial. Sept. 2015. 384p. notes. index. ISBN 9780062265500. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062265517. HIST

Law & Crime

Fiss, Owen. A War Like No Other: The Constitution in a Time of Terror. New Pr. Jun. 2015. 352p. ed. by Trevor Sutton. notes. index. ISBN 9781620970973. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781620970980. LAW

Hake, Terrence with Wayne Klatt. Operation Greylord: The True Story of an Untrained Undercover Agent and America’s Biggest Corruption Bust. Ankerwycke: American Bar Association. Jun. 2015. 350p. ISBN 9781627229197. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781627229203. CRIME

Krakauer, Jon. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town. Doubleday. 2015. 384p. bibliog. ISBN 9780385538732. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385538749. CRIME

Macedo, Stephen. Just Married: Same-Sex Couples, Monogamy & the Future of Marriage. Princeton Univ. Jul. 2015. 240p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780691166483. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781400865857. LAW

Pascente, Fred with Sam Reaves. Mob Cop: My Life of Crime in the Chicago Police Department. Chicago Review. Jun. 2015. 336p. photos. ISBN 9781613731345. $26.95. CRIME


Eaton, Barry. No Goodbyes: Life-Changing Insights from the Other Side. Tarcher. Aug. 2015. 320p. notes. ISBN 9780399172656. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698181953. PARAPSYCH

Political Science

Aris, Sabah. The Baghdad Lawyer: Fighting for Justice in Saddam’s Iraq. Ankerwycke: American Bar Association. Jul. 2015. 304p. index. ISBN 9781627229685. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781627229692. POL SCI

Hart, Gary. The Republic of Conscience. Blue Rider. Jun. 2015. 240p. ISBN 9780399175237. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698197282. POL SCI

redstarPowell, Jonathan. Terrorists at the Table: Why Negotiating Is the Only Way to Peace. Palgrave Macmillan. Jun. 2015. 336p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781250069887. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781466878914. POL SCI

Sweeney, John. North Korea Undercover: Inside the World’s Most Secret State. Pegasus. Jul. 2015. 336p. photos. notes. index. ISBN 9781605988023. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781605988030. POL SCI


Brogaard, Berit & Kristian Marlow. The Superhuman Mind: Free the Genius in Your Brain. Avery. Aug. 2015. 288p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781594633683. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698190368. PSYCH

redstarNisbett, Robert E. Mindware: Tools for Smart Thinking. Farrar. Aug. 2015. 336p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780374112677. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780374710675. PSYCH

Social Science

redstarMorris, Aldon D. The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. DuBois and the Birth of Modern Sociology. Univ. of California. Aug. 2015. 320p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780520276352. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780520960480. SOC SCI

Winfrey Harris, Tamara. The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America. Berrett-Koehler. Jul. 2015. 160p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781626563513. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9781626563537. WOMENS STUDIES

Travel & Geography

Ultan, Lloyd & Shelley Olson. The Bronx: The Ultimate Guide to New York City’s Beautiful Borough. Rutgers Univ. Jun. 2015. 224p. photos. maps. index. ISBN 9780813573199. pap. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780813573205. TRAV

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  1. David Tian says:

    For the record, the translation of “A Thousand Miles to Freedom” was from French to English, not from Korean to English.