The Common Good

In the Stacks, April 18, 2012

Among my must reads are the Sunday New York Times Book Review and other book reviews I come across in various media outlets. There are too many books being published that I would love to read, but just don’t have the time. So, I rely on reading book reviews as one way of keeping in touch with what’s being written. 

Photo by Tischenko Irina/
Photo by Tischenko Irina/

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Here are my picks in this week’s books of interest:

‘The Richer Sex’

By Liza Mundy, reviewed by Rachel Shteir

A journalist argues that the increasing number of female breadwinners will change American culture.

Mundy predicts that women’s economic rise above men, which she calls “The Big Flip” — one of several cutesy terms she uses, along with “bread­women,” her word for female breadwinners — will benefit everyone. “Women’s earnings will bring about a new liberation for women but also for men,” she writes. … Its utopianism is one thing separating “The Richer Sex” from earlier manifestos and exposés about women, as well as from tedious conservative declamations warning that anything less than some mythical 1950s ideal is bad news. Another is Mundy’s fresh reporting and the reams of new social science research she summarizes to make her case.

‘Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power’

By Rachel Maddow, reviewed by Scott Shane

Rachel Maddow argues that the decision to take America to war has become too easy.

Some readers will come to Rachel Maddow’s first book expecting an entertaining left-wing screed against the military. They may be surprised to discover instead a lively but serious argument about American history … But especially in the last half-century, Maddow argues, the decision to go to war has become too easy. Congress’s constitutional prerogative to declare war has routinely been ignored. Only a tiny fraction of the American population serves or sends a family member to war, permitting a majority to remain oblivious to its grisly human price. … The book is a reminder that before Maddow became a face on nighttime television, she was a Rhodes scholar who earned a doctorate in politics at Oxford.

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