non-fiction

whitefolkstop

For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood – The Must-Read (US) Education Book of the Year

whitefolksFor White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education by Christopher Emdin
First published on March 22, 2016
Beacon Press
Source: Goodreads Giveaway
goodreads_logo

“Drawing on his own experience of feeling undervalued and invisible in classrooms as a young man of color and merging his experiences with more than a decade of teaching and researching in urban America, award-winning educator Christopher Emdin offers a new lens on an approach to teaching and learning in urban schools. Putting forth his theory of Reality Pedagogy, Emdin provides practical tools to unleash the brilliance and eagerness of youth and educators alike—both of whom have been typecast and stymied by outdated modes of thinking about urban education. Lively, accessible, and revelatory, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…and the Rest of Y’all Too is the much-needed antidote to traditional top-down pedagogy and promises to radically reframe the landscape of urban education for the better.” Source: Beacon Press.

5heartrating

Review:

Excellent distillation of urban studies, race-gender oriented critical-theory, and education philosophy applied to the urban classroom, for a non-academic audience.

This book was written for me (and for you, too, especially if you teach or are interested in the education debates). (more…)

secondhandtop

Unlimited Stars for Alexievich: THE Oral History of Eastern-Block Communism & the Transition to Capitalism

secondhandSecondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich
First English Translation
by Bela Shayevich on May 24, 2016
Random House
Source: ARC from Random House via Netgalley
goodreads_logo

The magnum opus and latest work from Svetlana Alexievich, the 2015 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature—a symphonic oral history about the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a new Russia. In Secondhand Time, Alexievich chronicles the demise of communism. Everyday Russian citizens recount the past thirty years, showing us what life was like during the fall of the Soviet Union and what it’s like to live in the new Russia left in its wake. Through interviews spanning 1991 to 2012, Alexievich takes us behind the propaganda and contrived media accounts, giving us a panoramic portrait of contemporary Russia and Russians who still carry memories of oppression, terror, famine, massacres—but also of pride in their country, hope for the future, and a belief that everyone was working and fighting together to bring about a utopia. Here is an account of life in the aftermath of an idea so powerful it once dominated a third of the world.” Source: Penguin Random House.

5heartrating5heartrating

Review

“We sit atop the ruins of socialism like it’s the aftermath of war.”

UNLIMITED STARS.

One of the best books I’ve ever read. THE most personally touching and relevant book I’ve EVER read. A book that penetrates the soul of my being and explains me to myself.
(more…)

mathlamenttop

(Another) Mathematician’s Lament – How School Cheats Us Out of Our Most Fascinating and Imaginative Art Form

A Mamathlamentthematician’s Lament: How School Cheats Us Out of Our Most Fascinating and Imaginative Art Form by Paul Lockhart
Published April 1, 2009
Bellevue Literary Press
Source: I bought it
goodreads_logo

“A brilliant research mathematician who has devoted his career to teaching kids reveals math to be creative and beautiful and rejects standard anxiety-producing teaching methods. Witty and accessible, Paul Lockhart’s controversial approach will provoke spirited debate among educators and parents alike and it will alter the way we think about math forever.” Source: Bellevue Literary Press

2starrating

As a mathematics teacher and long-time student of mathematics, I was overjoyed when I came across this book. Finally, I thought, an ode to the profound beauty and elegance of this most precise and direct human languages. And, hopefully, an expose on the state of mathematics education, and a plea to change course, maybe even some practical suggestions on how we may begin to do this.  (more…)

lovecanaltop

Love & a Hooker: The Birth of Public Awareness of Toxic Waste in the US – A Review of Love Canal

Llovecanalove Canal: A Toxic History from Colonial Times to the Present by Richard S. Newman
Published on May 2, 2016
Oxford University Press
Source: ARC from Oxford University Press via Netgalley
goodreads_logo

“The first book to place Love Canal in a long history of industrialization around Niagara Falls, stretching back to colonial times; Places grassroots environmental protest in a national and global context; Situates Love Canal in a long and complex environmental history its residents altered forever in the 1970s and 1980s; Draws on previously unused archived material and original oral histories” Source: Oxford University Press

5heartrating

Review

In the spring of 1953, the Niagara Falls School Board thinks itself mighty lucky for scoring the purchase of a site (Love Canal) for a new school for only $1. Ok, so it has been warned that underneath the seemingly idyllic pastoral landscape, a seething 20,000 tons of toxic waste percolates the earth. How this may be relevant, no one (wants) to guess, not even when the foundation of the new school sinks into an oily fetid pit. Undeterred, construction moves a few paces north, and the school opens in 1955. (more…)

deadlyrivertop

Cholera and Cover-Up in Post-Earthquake Haiti – A Forceful Expose of the Politicization of Science 

deadlyriver

Deadly River: Cholera and Cover-Up in Post-Earthquake Haiti by Ralph R. Frerichs
Published on May 3, 2016
Cornell University Press
Source: ARC from Cornell University Press via Netgalley
goodreads_logo

“In Deadly River, Ralph R. Frerichs tells the story of the epidemic—of a French disease detective determined to trace its origins so that he could help contain the spread and possibly eliminate the disease—and the political intrigue that has made that effort so difficult. The story involves political maneuvering by powerful organizations such as the United Nations and its peacekeeping troops in Haiti, as well as by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Frerichs explores a quest for scientific truth and dissects a scientific disagreement involving world-renowned cholera experts who find themselves embroiled in intellectual and political turmoil in a poverty-stricken country.” Source: Cornell University Press

4starrating

Review

Nine months after the catastrophic January 2010 earthquake that took over 220,000 lives, UN ‘peacekeeping’ troops from Nepal brought cholera to Haiti and unleashed an epidemic that continues to this day. It is estimated that 7% of Haitians now carry the bacteria; over 8000 have died. Yet, the UN denies culpability (although Ban Ki Moon has indicated that he understands the origin of the disease) and continues to fight “the most organized challenge to UN immunity yet” (New York Times). (more…)

nycexposedtop

History Repeats Itself – New York Exposed Exposes Modern Political Quandaries

nyexposedNew York Exposed: The Police Scandal That Shocked the Nation and Launched the Progressive Era by Daniel Czitrom
Published on April 29, 2016
Oxford University Press
Source: ARC from Oxford University Press via Netgalley
goodreads_logo

“A true-crime New York-based historical thriller featuring a colorful cast of turn-of-the-century figures–Tammany bosses, progressive do-gooders, and all the purveyors of vice and corruption;
the first thoroughly researched, thoughtfully written book about the Lexow investigation.” Source: Oxford University Press.

5heartrating

Review
You know that book that you just picked up that coincidentally seems to address everything that’s been swirling through your head recently, that is somehow connected to everything else you’ve been reading? Of course, it’s no coincidence, there is no such thing – only opportunities to learn, born of interest and active pursuit.

(more…)