Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged United States


Initially, it was the synoptic descriptions of Solo that drew me in. I saw phrases like “enigmatic,” “thought-provoking,” and “demanding,” along with geographical settings such as Berlin, Bulgaria, and New York City. The cover artwork interested me as well. It depicts the white silhouette of a man against a seafoam blue background; he has a cane and his upper body is dissolving into birds.

The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World is Still the Least Valued

Like many of my generation, I am a child of divorce. I watched as my newly single mother struggled to work, find and pay for childcare, and afford lawyers that could compete with my father’s during endless days of court. I watched as we plummeted into poverty while my wealthy father’s lifestyle barely changed. I am the daughter of a woman who chose to sacrifice her career to raise me, and who was subsequently penalized by a system that encouraged her to do precisely that.

Where Do Birds Live?

There are few things in life better than large, hardcover, richly-illustrated children’s books. As a child, these were the books I most often pulled from the library shelves. Beautiful visuals invite the eye to stay for a while, while skilled writing engages and challenges the mind.


Brittany: I’m one of those lit geeks who has long loved Jonathan Franzen. I read How To Be Alone on a solo trip to Japan when I was twenty, and it particularly spoke to me as an introverted writer. The better part of a decade later, I’m still so infatuated with that particular collection—though I’ve also read Franzen’s three previous novels, memoir, numerous pieces in The New Yorker, and his longtime partner Kathryn Chetkovich’s Granta essay “Envy” before it was so publicly associated with Franzen—that it was no stretch to know I’d like Freedom. I’ve also read a lot about Franzen’s process as a writer, and frankly, it seems few people have the commitment to churn out the type of work he produces. That doesn’t mean I think it’s above critique; it’s just that I admire his work ethic and generally, the end result.

Strip Club: Gender, Power and Sex Work

In Strip Club: Gender, Power and Sex Work, sociologist Kim Price-Glynn analyzes the organizational structure of a strip club to explore whose interests strip clubs serve and how. To gain an insider’s perspective, Price-Glynn spent fourteen months working as a cocktail waitress in a strip club. During this time, she observed, analyzed, and interviewed strippers, employees, and patrons.

Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists

Though editor Courtney E. Martin’s new book means to school baby boomer types who mock the millennial generation for their perceived apathy, Do it Anyway: The New Generation of Activists is a balm for burned out justice advocates of any age.

The United Cakes of America: Recipes Celebrating Every State

I’m the girl who never goes to a party empty-handed. I come bearing brownies, fudge, or cake balls for all of the guests. And every week I make my seventy-eight-year-old great uncle something decadent, and usually chocolate. He has an astounding sweet tooth, despite not having a single tooth left in his head. (Maybe it’s from all the sweets?) But, truth be told, I really dislike baking. It’s too scientific, too laborious, and feels like a chore. I much prefer the pinch-of-this, dash-of-that approach I take to cooking.

The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite

Obesity and the health issues that accompany it have long been a subject of intense discussion in the Western world, where the abundance of super-cheap and highly processed foods has been linked to many health disorders. David Kessler’s The End of Overeating is an important addition to the books written on the subject. Kessler has the background to take on this complex subject, having served as commissioner at the US Food and Drug Administration.

Speaking in Tongues

The award-winning documentary Speaking in Tongues spells out an intriguing paradox of America’s identity: Although we’re a nation that prides itself on diversity, we also militantly cling to monolingual education at the expense of culture, communication, and even academic achievement. Speaking in Tongues follows four San Francisco children, all of whom attend either a Spanish or Chinese immersion public school: a young African-American boy who lives in public housing but is gaining fluency at his Chinese school;

Universal Women: Filmmaking and Institutional Change in Early Hollywood

In Universal Women, Professor Cooper launches a multidisciplinary investigation into the mystery of why it was that Universal Film Manufacturing Company broadly supported women directors during the 1910s before abruptly reversing the policy.

The Tiger Next Door

"Experts estimate that there are now more tigers in private captivity in the USA than there are roaming wild in the world." This is the opening line from The Tiger Next Door, a compelling documentary about the surprisingly widespread practice of breeding, selling, and owning exotic animals in the United States. The film focuses on Dennis Hill, a big cat owner who resides in Indiana.

Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment

In the original 1997 edition of Living Downstream, Sandra Steingraber was the first to compare data on toxic releases with data from U.S. cancer registries. In the last ten years since this edition was published, there has been rapid growth in the understanding of environmental links to human cancer and new published findings that corroborate the evidence Steingraber compiled in 1997. With a Ph.D.

The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America

If you assume, as I did, that yoga came to the United States via the Maharishi in the 1970s, you’ll be surprised again and again as you read Stefanie Syman’s The Subtle Body.

Justice for Girls?: Stability and Change in the Youth Justice Systems of the United States and Canada

In Justice for Girls?, Canadian researchers Jane B. Sprott and Anthony N. Doob provide a comprehensive and concise overview on girls and juvenile delinquency in these two North American countries. Sprott and Doob address the misconception, fueled by media reports and newspaper articles circulating in the U.S. and Canada, that girls are committing more crimes, and more violent crimes.

subCITY: Out of Sight. Out of Mind.

In less than forty-five minutes, subCITY will shatter any notions you may have about access to mental health care in the United States, in Oregon in particular, the state where I live. Working for a mental health advocacy group, I'm reminded daily that the system is broken. But I didn't realize just how broken until I watched this film. The director/producer team of Kevin and Dawn D'Haeze has created a powerful indictment of our current mental health care system.

Unsafe for Democracy: World War I and the U.S. Justice Department’s Covert Campaign to Suppress Dissent

Even the preface to Unsafe for Democracy makes William H. Thomas Jr.’s political stances abundantly clear, but impressively, his political leanings have no negative effect on either his literary voice or his scholarship.

Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers

Radical Chic, noun: a small clique of the New York upper elite who, in order to appear groundbreakingly fashionable, support social movements and causes which ironically are at odds with the morays inherent to their identity Mau-mau, verb: to stubbornly and meticulously badger someone into supporting a cause; to petition while using one’s minority identity in such a way that a member of a majority is left without rebuttal Flak Catcher, noun: poorly paid and hardly respected public officials who are often used as human shields to protect their bosses from mau-mauing _(see definition

Silence Not, A Love Story

Everyone loves a love story, especially one with a happy ending, and award-winning playwright and journalist Cynthia L. Cooper’s latest play, a forty-four-scene two-act, is a whopper. Silence Not, A Love Story tells the improbable tale—based on a true story—of Gisa Peiper, a young Jewish student stifled by religious Orthodoxy, and Paul Konopka, a Catholic craftsman, who met in late-1920s Germany while working with the anti-fascist International Socialist Combat League, known as the ISK.

Same Sex, Different Politics: Success and Failure in the Struggles Over Gay Rights

Gary Mucciaroni’s Same Sex, Different Politics offers a useful, though ultimately limited, account of the LGBT rights movement. Trained as a political scientist, Mucciaroni’s interests lie in the varying degrees of success and failure over LGBT public policy issues. He questions why certain policy issues (such as adoption) fare better than others (most notably marriage equality).

American Muslim Women: Negotiating Race, Class, and Gender Within the Ummah

Jamillah Karim takes an extremely complex and contentious set of topics—race, class, gender and faith—and skillfully examines them within the framework of the ummah, or the Muslim community.

Letter from a Feminist After Attending the Inauguration

Dear Feminist Review readers, Having received the opportunity to attend the Inauguration of the first African American President, I did experience some nervousness. My companions in the motorcoach were virtual strangers to me. Except for the staff, most of the travelers were college students. Some had families; they had seen their own sons and daughters off to higher education and had finally chosen to pursue it themselves. Others were barely eighteen. The anticipation was palpable among us all regardless of our political affiliation.

Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men

Guyland is less of a place than an attitude, a realm of existence. Occupied by young, single, white men, its main demographic is middle class kids who are college-bound, college co-eds, or recent graduates in the United States. They live in communal housing with fraternity brothers or other recent grads. They work entry-level jobs but act aimless. They have plenty of time to party like they did in college and subsist on pizza, beer, and a visual diet of cartoons, sports, and porn. They hook up with women, but rarely form meaningful relationships.