An education-reference book recommendation: The Epic City: The World on the Streets of Calcutta

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2DrMXkt.
…The Epic City is a wonderful, beautifully written and even more beautifully observed love letter to Calcutta’s greatness: to its high culture, its music and film, its festivals, its people, its cuisine, its urban rhythms and, above all, to its rooted Bengaliness.
Book description from amazon.com:
Shortlisted for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the YearA masterful and entirely fresh portrait of great hopes and dashed dreams in a mythical city from a major new literary voice.Everything that could possibly be wrong with a city was wrong with Calcutta.When Kushanava Choudhury arrived in New Jersey at the age of twelve, he had already migrated halfway around the world four times. After graduating from Princeton, he moved back to the world which his immigrant parents had abandoned, to a city built between a river and a swamp, where the moisture-drenched air swarms with mosquitos after sundown. Once the capital of the British Raj, and then India’s industrial and cultural hub, by 2001 Calcutta was clearly past its prime. Why, his relatives beseeched him, had he returned? Surely, he could have moved to Delhi, Bombay or Bangalore, where a new Golden Age of consumption was being born. Yet fifteen million people still lived in Calcutta. Working for the Statesman, its leading English newspaper, Kushanava Choudhury found the streets of his childhood unchanged by time. Shouting hawkers still overran the footpaths, fish-sellers squatted on bazaar floors; politics still meant barricades and bus burnings, while Communist ministers travelled in motorcades. Sifting through the chaos for the stories that never make the papers, Kushanava Choudhury paints a soulful, compelling portrait of the everyday lives that make Calcutta. Written with humanity, wit and insight, The Epic City is an unforgettable depiction of an era, and a city which is a world unto itself.
The book is rated 3.99/5 at goodreads.com, from 70 ratings. See 17 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2CUs2W0.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2CUstzC.

An education-reference book recommendation: Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2CV2doF.
If Handy is not always ambitious or thorough, he puts extraordinary care into replicating and preserving those feelings. “Myself, I wouldn’t eat a Sendak,” he writes, “but I honor the gesture.”
Book description from Google Books:
An irresistible, nostalgic, insightful—and totally original—ramble through classic children’s literature from Vanity Fair contributing editor (and father) Bruce Handy. “Consistently intelligent and funny…The book succeeds wonderfully.” —The New York Times Book Review “A delightful excursion…Engaging and full of genuine feeling.” —The Wall Street Journal “Pure pleasure.” —Vanity Fair “Witty and engaging…Deeply satisfying.” —Christian Science MonitorIn 1690, the dour New England Primer, thought to be the first American children’s book, was published in Boston. Offering children gems of advice such as “Strive to learn” and “Be not a dunce,” it was no fun at all. So how did we get from there to “Let the wild rumpus start”? And now that we’re living in a golden age of children’s literature, what can adults get out of reading Where the Wild Things Are and Goodnight Moon, or Charlotte’s Web and Little House on the Prairie? In Wild Things, Bruce Handy revisits the classics of American childhood, from fairy tales to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and explores the backstories of their creators, using context and biography to understand how some of the most insightful, creative, and witty authors and illustrators of their times created their often deeply personal masterpieces. Along the way, Handy learns what The Cat in the Hat says about anarchy and absentee parenting, which themes link The Runaway Bunny and Portnoy’s Complaint, and why Ramona Quimby is as true an American icon as Tom Sawyer or Jay Gatsby. It’s a profound, eye-opening experience to reencounter books that you once treasured after decades apart. A clear-eyed love letter to the greatest children’s books and authors, from Louisa May Alcott and L. Frank Baum to Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss, Mildred D. Taylor, and E.B. White, Wild Things will bring back fond memories for readers of all ages, along with a few surprises.
The book is rated 3.77/5 at goodreads.com, from 578 ratings. See 163 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2DjPEnP.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2DmU9y4.
Google Books preview available in full post.

An education-reference book recommendation: Little Soldiers: An American Boy, a Chinese School, and the Global Race to Achieve

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2Ds5sFa.
Chu vividly sketches these differences in terms that will make readers ponder what they actually think about rote memorization and parents question their preferences for their own children.
Book description from Google Books:
New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice; Real Simple Best of the Month; Library Journal Editors’ PickIn the spirit of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Bringing up Bébé, and The Smartest Kids in the World, a hard-hitting exploration of China’s widely acclaimed yet insular education system—held up as a model of academic and behavioral excellence—that raises important questions for the future of American parenting and education.When students in Shanghai rose to the top of international rankings in 2009, Americans feared that they were being “out-educated” by the rising super power. An American journalist of Chinese descent raising a young family in Shanghai, Lenora Chu noticed how well-behaved Chinese children were compared to her boisterous toddler. How did the Chinese create their academic super-achievers? Would their little boy benefit from Chinese school? Chu and her husband decided to enroll three-year-old Rainer in China’s state-run public school system. The results were positive—her son quickly settled down, became fluent in Mandarin, and enjoyed his friends—but she also began to notice troubling new behaviors. Wondering what was happening behind closed classroom doors, she embarked on an exploratory journey, interviewing Chinese parents, teachers and education professors, and following students at all stages of their education. What she discovered is a military-like education system driven by high-stakes testing, with teachers posting rankings in public, using bribes to reward students who comply, and shaming to isolate those who do not. At the same time, she uncovered a years-long desire by government to alleviate its students’ crushing academic burden and make education friendlier for all. The more she learns, the more she wonders: Are Chinese children—and her son—paying too high a price for their obedience and the promise of future academic prowess? Is there a way to appropriate the excellence of the system but dispense with the bad? What, if anything, could Westerners learn from China’s education journey? Chu’s eye-opening investigation challenges our assumptions and asks us to consider the true value and purpose of education.
The book is rated 4.15/5 at goodreads.com, from 352 ratings. See 73 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2CZPFfO.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2D0flZH.

An education-reference book recommendation: No Apparent Distress: A Doctor’s Coming-of-Age on the Front Lines of American Medicine

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2CUzEYD.
Pearson’s vivid writing sometimes lulls you into the trance of a good story — character, voice, plot, conflict — but there’s always the sucker punch at the end to remind you of the gruesome endpoint of the American health care system…
Book description from Google Books:
A brutally frank memoir about doctors and patients in a health care system that puts the poor at risk. In medical charts, the term “N.A.D.” (No Apparent Distress) is used for patients who appear stable. The phrase also aptly describes America’s medical system when it comes to treating the underprivileged. Medical students learn on the bodies of the poor—and the poor suffer from their mistakes. Rachel Pearson confronted these harsh realities when she started medical school in Galveston, Texas. Pearson, herself from a working-class background, remains haunted by the suicide of a close friend, experiences firsthand the heartbreak of her own errors in a patient’s care, and witnesses the ruinous effects of a hurricane on a Texas town’s medical system. In a free clinic where the motto is “All Are Welcome Here,” she learns how to practice medicine with love and tenacity amidst the raging injustices of a system that favors the rich and the white. No Apparent Distress is at once an indictment of American health care and a deeply moving tale of one doctor’s coming-of-age.
The book is rated 4.13/5 at goodreads.com, from 311 ratings. See 69 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2CWGT2l.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2CW4eAZ.
Google Books preview available in full post.

An education-reference book recommendation: Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2CV2doF.
If Handy is not always ambitious or thorough, he puts extraordinary care into replicating and preserving those feelings. “Myself, I wouldn’t eat a Sendak,” he writes, “but I honor the gesture.”
Book description from Google Books:
An irresistible, nostalgic, insightful—and totally original—ramble through classic children’s literature from Vanity Fair contributing editor (and father) Bruce Handy. “Consistently intelligent and funny…The book succeeds wonderfully.” —The New York Times Book Review “A delightful excursion…Engaging and full of genuine feeling.” —The Wall Street Journal “Pure pleasure.” —Vanity Fair “Witty and engaging…Deeply satisfying.” —Christian Science MonitorIn 1690, the dour New England Primer, thought to be the first American children’s book, was published in Boston. Offering children gems of advice such as “Strive to learn” and “Be not a dunce,” it was no fun at all. So how did we get from there to “Let the wild rumpus start”? And now that we’re living in a golden age of children’s literature, what can adults get out of reading Where the Wild Things Are and Goodnight Moon, or Charlotte’s Web and Little House on the Prairie? In Wild Things, Bruce Handy revisits the classics of American childhood, from fairy tales to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and explores the backstories of their creators, using context and biography to understand how some of the most insightful, creative, and witty authors and illustrators of their times created their often deeply personal masterpieces. Along the way, Handy learns what The Cat in the Hat says about anarchy and absentee parenting, which themes link The Runaway Bunny and Portnoy’s Complaint, and why Ramona Quimby is as true an American icon as Tom Sawyer or Jay Gatsby. It’s a profound, eye-opening experience to reencounter books that you once treasured after decades apart. A clear-eyed love letter to the greatest children’s books and authors, from Louisa May Alcott and L. Frank Baum to Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss, Mildred D. Taylor, and E.B. White, Wild Things will bring back fond memories for readers of all ages, along with a few surprises.
The book is rated 3.77/5 at goodreads.com, from 566 ratings. See 159 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2DjPEnP.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2DmU9y4.
Google Books preview available in full post.

An education-reference book recommendation: Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2Cdw23k.
The innocuous title of Suzy Hansen’s “Notes on a Foreign Country” offers little sense of the eloquent and impassioned prose that lies within the book’s covers.
Book description from Google Books:
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book • Named a Best Book of the Year by New York Magazine and The Progressive”A deeply honest and brave portrait of of an individual sensibility reckoning with her country’s violent role in the world.” —Hisham Matar, The New York Times Book ReviewIn the wake of the September 11 attacks and the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Suzy Hansen, who grew up in an insular conservative town in New Jersey, was enjoying early success as a journalist for a high-profile New York newspaper. Increasingly, though, the disconnect between the chaos of world events and the response at home took on pressing urgency for her. Seeking to understand the Muslim world that had been reduced to scaremongering headlines, she moved to Istanbul.Hansen arrived in Istanbul with romantic ideas about a mythical city perched between East and West, and with a naïve sense of the Islamic world beyond. Over the course of her many years of living in Turkey and traveling in Greece, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Iran, she learned a great deal about these countries and their cultures and histories and politics. But the greatest, most unsettling surprise would be what she learned about her own country—and herself, an American abroad in the era of American decline. It would take leaving her home to discover what she came to think of as the two Americas: the country and its people, and the experience of American power around the world. She came to understand that anti-Americanism is not a violent pathology. It is, Hansen writes, “a broken heart . . . A one-hundred-year-old relationship.”Blending memoir, journalism, and history, and deeply attuned to the voices of those she met on her travels, Notes on a Foreign Country is a moving reflection on America’s place in the world. It is a powerful journey of self-discovery and revelation—a profound reckoning with what it means to be American in a moment of grave national and global turmoil.
The book is rated 4.18/5 at goodreads.com, from 399 ratings. See 82 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2CGHe9U.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2CdwoXI.
Google Books preview available in full post.

An education-reference book recommendation: Between East and West: Across the Borderlands of Europe

A critic review (source Washington Times) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2D4bASQ.
Anne Applebaum’s book is a valuable reminder of the devastation those wars wrought. Though it is beautifully written with brilliant vignettes, it also has cogent histories peppered with phrases such as “They lost everything”, “It was bombed,” “He was sent to Siberia.” It’s a pleasure to read and important to think about…
Book description from Google Books:
An extraordinary journey into the past and present of the lands east of Poland and west of Russia – an area defined throughout its history by colliding empires, and only now emerging from the clamp of Soviet rule. Traveling from the former Soviet naval center of Kaliningrad on the Baltic to the Black Sea port of Odessa, Anne Applebaum encounters a rich range of competing cultures, religions, and national aspirations as inhabitants of the borderlands attempt to build a future grounded in their ancestral legacies. In reasserting their heritage, neighbors often unearth old conflicts: in Vilnius, a Lithuanian professor charts a historical conspiracy against his language by the Poles, while his Polish neighbors rail against the Lithuanian determination to deny their ancient claims to the city. In Minsk, a young “post-modernist” couple, seeking a rallying point for Belarusian nationalism, piece together cultures and legends to create tradition where none is remembered, while another resident of the city devotes himself to recovering the Jewish culture that once predominated. Rich in surprising encounters and vivid characters, Between East and West brilliantly illuminates the soul of the borderlands and the shaping power of the past.
The book is rated 4.16/5 at goodreads.com, from 221 ratings. See 27 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2D8f5Y6.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2D5ncVx.

An education-reference book recommendation: Long Road from Jarrow: A journey through Britain then and now

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2C0PMI8.
…Maconie’s book is not only a heartfelt tribute to Wilkinson and the marchers, but a reaffirmation of the role of the personal within the political, and a rallying call for anyone stirred by the story of Jarrow.
Book description from Google Books:
Three and half weeks. Three hundred miles. I saw roaring arterial highway and silent lanes, candlelit cathedrals and angry men in bad pubs. The Britain of 1936 was a land of beef paste sandwiches and drill halls. Now we are nation of vaping and nail salons, pulled pork and salted caramel.In the autumn of 1936, some 200 men from the Tyneside town of Jarrow marched 300 miles to London in protest against the destruction of their towns and industries. Precisely 80 years on, Stuart Maconie, walks from north to south retracing the route of the emblematic Jarrow Crusade. Travelling down the country’s spine, Maconie moves through a land that is, in some ways, very much the same as the England of the 30s with its political turbulence, austerity, north/south divide, food banks and of course, football mania. Yet in other ways, it is completely unrecognisable. Maconie visits the great cities as well as the sleepy hamlets, quiet lanes and roaring motorways. He meets those with stories to tell and whose voices build a funny, complex and entertaining tale of Britain, then and now.
The book is rated 4.33/5 at goodreads.com, from 75 ratings. See 29 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2D5Ryaw.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2C0NVmP.
Google Books preview available in full post.

An education-reference book recommendation: The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2D7zOvo.
This book is a wakeup call, delivered calmly yet with no shortage of well-reasoned urgency, to a nation whose democratic traditions are being undermined by backroom dealing, deregulation, and the consolidation of corporate power. It’s a chilling read, and a needed one.
Book description from Google Books:
From Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Jesse Eisinger, “a fast moving, fly-on-the-wall, disheartening look at the deterioration of the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission…It is a book of superheroes” (San Franscisco Review of Books).Why were no bankers put in prison after the financial crisis of 2008? Why do CEOs seem to commit wrongdoing with impunity? The problem goes beyond banks deemed “Too Big to Fail” to almost every large corporation in America—to pharmaceutical companies and auto manufacturers and beyond. The Chickenshit Club—an inside reference to prosecutors too scared of failure and too daunted by legal impediments to do their jobs—explains why in “an absorbing financial history, a monumental work of journalism…a first-rate study of the federal bureaucracy” (Bloomberg Businessweek). Jesse Eisigner begins the story in the 1970s, when the government pioneered the notion that top corporate executives, not just seedy crooks, could commit heinous crimes and go to prison. He brings us to trading desks on Wall Street, to corporate boardrooms and the offices of prosecutors and FBI agents. These revealing looks provide context for the evolution of the Justice Department’s approach to pursuing corporate criminals through the early 2000s and into the Justice Department’s approach to pursuing corporate criminals through the early 2000s and into the Justice Department of today, including the prosecutorial fiascos, corporate lobbying, trial losses, and culture shifts that have stripped the government of the will and ability to prosecute top corporate executives. “Brave and elegant….a fearless reporter…Eisinger’s important and profound book takes no prisoners (The Washington Post). Exposing one of the most important scandals of our time, The Chickenshit Club provides a clear, detailed explanation as to how our Justice Department has come to avoid, bungle, and mismanage the fight to bring these alleged criminals to justice. “This book is a wakeup call…a chilling read, and a needed one” (NPR.org).
The book is rated 3.83/5 at goodreads.com, from 405 ratings. See 83 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2D5GZEs.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2BYLOzT.
Google Books preview available in full post.

An education-reference book recommendation: The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2D8fI3X.
The Smear provides more than enough evidence to prove that the mainstream media is totally “fake news.” Attkisson’s book begins by detailing the history of the “smear,” or the politically motivated lie, in American politics.
Book description from Google Books:
New York Times BestsellerEver wonder how politics turned into a take-no-prisoners blood sport? The New York Times bestselling author of Stonewalled pulls back the curtain on the shady world of opposition research and reveals the dirty tricks those in power use to influence your opinions.Behind most major political stories in the modern era, there is an agenda; an effort by opposition researchers, spin doctors, and outside interests to destroy an idea or a person. The tactic they use is the Smear. Every day, Americans are influenced by the Smear without knowing it. Paid forces cleverly shape virtually every image you cross. Maybe you read that Donald Trump is a racist misogynist, or saw someone on the news mocking the Bernie Sanders campaign. The trick of the Smear is that it is often based on some shred of truth, but these media-driven “hit pieces” are designed to obscure the truth. Success hinges on the Smear artist’s ability to remain invisible; to make it seem as if their work is neither calculated nor scripted. It must appear to be precisely what it is not.Veteran journalist Sharyl Attkisson has witnessed this practice firsthand. After years of being pitched hit jobs and puff pieces, she’s an expert at detecting Smear campaigns. Now, the hard-hitting investigative reporter shares her inside knowledge, revealing how the Smear takes shape and who its perpetrators are—including Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal and, most influential of all, “right-wing assassin turned left-wing assassin” (National Review) political operative David Brock and his Media Matters for America empire.Attkisson exposes the diabolical tactics of Smear artists, and their outrageous access to the biggest names in political media—operatives who are corrupting the political process, and discouraging widespread citizen involvement in our democracy.
The book is rated 4.41/5 at goodreads.com, from 503 ratings. See 112 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2C2wi5W.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2BZBWG2.