More than 850 book reviews

Tag Archive for ‘poverty’

An excellent Maisie Dobbs novel from Jacqueline Winspear

Elegy for Eddie (Maisie Dobbs #9), by Jacqueline Winspear @@@@ (4 out of 5) Throughout his life, Eddie Pettit was considered “slow.” Naive and trusting to a fault, he was indeed slow to understand much of what was said to him. But Eddie had two great gifts. He possessed a prodigious memory, not just for… Read More ›

A chilling tale, lucidly told, of a Second American Civil War

American War: A Novel, by Omar El Akkad @@@@@ (5 out of 5) In American War by Omar El Akkad, the Second American Civil War erupts in 2074 when Sara T. (“Sarat”) Chestnut is six years old. Four states in the Deep South have seceded in response to federal legislation banning the use of fossil fuels—and… Read More ›

Crimes against humanity in Scott Turow’s latest legal thriller

Testimony: A Novel, by Scott Turow @@@@@ (5 out of 5) In an interview on May 23, 2017, Scott Turow explained how he came to write a novel about a case at the International Criminal Court involving the massacre of 400 Roma (“Gypsies”). “‘In 2000, I was at a reception in The Hague and found… Read More ›

A superb tale of a future where artificial intelligence rules

This Perfect Day, by Ira Levin @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Centuries in the future, the people of Earth live under the control of an artificial intelligence called UniComp. A century and a half earlier, the computers governing the five continents had come together in the Unification. The result was a worldwide society free of… Read More ›

Is the U.S. on the road to totalitarianism?

1984, by George Orwell @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Ten days ago Donald Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States. The actions he’s already taken confirm the widespread suspicions about his authoritarian personality that so many remarked upon during his campaign. Many observers saw him as the heir to Adolf Hitler or Benito… Read More ›

Charm in abundance at the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

Precious and Grace (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency #17), by Alexander McCall Smith @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Precious Ramotswe is a “traditionally built” woman who founded and runs the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. She is known throughout Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, for her wisdom and her street smarts. She is also reflective, unfailingly kind,… Read More ›

The pleasures of reading Maisie Dobbs

A review of An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs #5), by Jacqueline Winspear @@@@ (4 out of 5) Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series is always a refreshing change from the blood and guts that are common fare in most other detective fiction. Maisie, who bills herself as a “Psychologist and Investigator,” is unlike any other protagonist… Read More ›

Paradise lost in a small Idaho town

A review of Wayward (Wayward Pines #2), by Blake Crouch @@@@ (4 out of 5) Spoiler alert: do NOT read this book (or this review!) unless you have already read Pines, the first novel in the Wayward Pines trilogy. Wayward is the second. It makes absolutely no sense as a standalone story. Now, assuming that… Read More ›

An intimate look at drug trafficking in Brazil

A review of Nemesis: One Man and the Battle for Rio, by Misha Glenny @@@@ (4 out of 5) Journalist Misha Glenny’s exploration of criminal gangs and drug trafficking in Rio de Janeiro focuses on one favela (slum) and one drug lord. It’s a fascinating and surprising tale that pokes under the covers of the… Read More ›

Hillbilly? Redneck? White trash?

A review of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J. D. Vance @@@@ (4 out of 5) Two recent books set out to paint a picture of working-class culture. One is White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, by Nancy Isenberg. I found the book to… Read More ›