Livres en sciences sociales: comptes rendus (mai 2011)

(source: Library Journal, 01/05/2011)


Dodd, Laura. Dig This Gig: Find Your Dream Job—or Invent It. Citadel: Kensington. 2011. 272p. illus. ISBN 9780806532455. pap. $14.95. BUS
In a tough economy, it can be difficult for recent college graduates and others searching for their first job to discover the right career. To make this process a little easier, Dodd, a student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, created this compilation of profiles that help demystify job titles and provide candid insights into the jobs that young people do. These very resilient workers share their stories of how they found their career paths, often after stumbling through jobs that were all wrong for them, and discuss some of the lessons they learned. The profiles are divided into eight industries, from health care to outdoor gigs; each section includes the stories of four workers in their twenties as well as the insights of a mentor in the field, including Jeffrey Sachs and Dan Rather, who share their experiences and reflect on what they’ve learned in their careers. VERDICT Dodd targets her words directly to her generational peers, but this is also an excellent choice for high school and college students exploring their career options as well twentysomethings who are still trying to decide what they want to be when they grow up.—Elizabeth Nelson, UOP Lib., Des Plaines, IL

Sciences politiques

Dallaire, Roméo with Jessica Dee Humphreys. They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest To Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers. Walker. Jun. 2011. c.320p. index. ISBN 9780802779564. $26. INT AFFAIRS
Dallaire (Special Adviser to the Canadian Government on War Affected Children and the Prohibition of Small Arms Distribution; Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda) writes poignantly about the horrific practice of using children as soldiers, presenting a stirring rallying call to eradicate the scourge wherever it is found. Dallaire’s experiences as the commander of the UN mission to Rwanda during the 1994 genocide alerted him to the problem of child soldiers and created his personal passion—almost bursting from the pages—for fighting it. His authority and articulate prose are the clear strengths of his book. Unfortunately, rather than offer case studies or accounts in the voices of real child soldiers, he employs a lengthy fictional narrative, a choice that is disconcerting and ineffective as a literary device or as a tool of persuasion. VERDICT A powerful but flawed work. Despite its drawbacks, readers interested in this tragic component of many armed conflicts around the world will appreciate Dallaire’s coverage of a tremendously difficult issue. His message is important enough and his voice strong enough to overcome the book’s limitations.—Rachel Bridgewater, Reed Coll. Lib., Portland, OR

Kashmeri, Sarwar A. NATO 2.0: Reboot or Delete? Potomac. 2011. c.280p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781597976640. $29.95. INT AFFAIRS
The 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union left NATO needing to redefine its purpose. Kashmeri (senior fellow, International Security Program, Atlantic Council; America and Europe After 9/11) discusses the challenges that NATO-member states have faced since then, including cyber-attacks, threats to GPS satellites, and military actions against nonmember states. The eastward expansion of NATO membership, incorporating former Soviet satellite states, has created differing interests, with newer members concerned about a possible land invasion by Russia. Meanwhile, the European Union (EU), to which most NATO members belong, has a separate defense policy under which it has sent troops in support of UN peacekeeping missions and in aid of nonmilitary crises. Kashmeri depicts the EU operations as more smoothly run and more successful than similar NATO operations, e.g., in the former Yugoslavia, and believes that NATO can justify its continued existence only if it finds a way to work more closely with the EU. VERDICT Lengthy descriptions of NATO’s bureaucracy and its guiding documents are more than general readers will likely care to know about and leave Kashmeri’s arguments incomplete and his policy recommendations inadequate for the quandary he describes. An optional purchase for specialists.—Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York

Mosley, Walter. Twelve Steps Toward Political Revelation. Nation: Perseus. 2011. c.112p. ISBN 9781568586427. pap. $12. POL SCI
Mosley (The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey) is best known for his mystery novels, but he is also an accomplished political essayist with keen insights into the state of our nation. In this short book, using his own experiences as a former abuser of alcohol, he offers his own 12-step program of redemption that he hopes will produce a new paradigm in which true democracy flourishes. Mosley scoffs at the idea that true democracy already exists in America but holds to the belief that one day soon the Internet will free us by allowing political organizing outside the traditional two-party system. Some readers may be turned off by Mosley’s emphasis on class struggle. (For example, he calls for a limit of a ten-percent profit on goods sold.) But there can be no doubt that this author writes well. VERDICT Regardless of one’s political point of view, it is refreshing to read a book on social issues written with the flair of a novelist. Those interested in keeping up with the state of our country will enjoy, along with fans of Mosley’s fiction.—Robert Bruce Slater, Stroudsburg, PA

O’Connell, Jack with Vernon Loeb. King’s Counsel: A Memoir of War, Espionage and Diplomacy in the Middle East. Norton. May 2011. c.288p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780393063349. $26.95. INT AFFAIRS
The late King Hussein of Jordan was the most loyal U.S. ally and a trusted CIA asset in the Arab world. Few Americans were as close to King Hussein as O’Connell, who served as CIA station chief in Jordan from 1963 to 1971 and was the Jordanian monarch’s confidant, attorney, and diplomatic counselor in Washington, DC, for over three decades. In this highly readable book, O’Connell reminisces about his association with the king and recounts some of the most important political events that have affected Jordan, Arab-Israeli affairs, and U.S. relations with the Arab world. Throughout, O’Connell describes how King Hussein felt betrayed by his closest allies, providing interesting vignettes about the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars; the drafting of UN Security Council Resolution 242, which remains the most important international framework for Arab-Israeli peace negotiations; and the Camp David Accords. The central theme of this memoir is that King Hussein was the Middle East’s only genuine peacemaker, but he was repeatedly betrayed by the U.S. government, the Israelis, and even President Sadat of Egypt. VERDICT Both general readers and seasoned observers of the Middle East will find this book informative, good reading.— Nader Entessar, Univ. of South Alabama, Mobile


Haag, Pamela. Marriage Confidential: The Post-Romantic Age of Workhorse Wives, Royal Children, Undersexed Spouses, and Rebel Couples. Harper: HarperCollins. Jun. 2011. c.352p. ISBN 9780061719288. $25.99. SOC SCI
This keen study of contemporary marriage balances the juicy exposé for a popular audience implied by its title and the serious, footnoted analysis suggested by the author’s credentials as a Ph.D. historian and former director of research for the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation. Accessible to lay readers with an understanding of such key terms as “melancholy” and “queering,” Haag’s book considers how some spouses are now changing the rules of standard secular marriages, including the division of labor in careers and parenting, family relationships, living arrangements, and, centrally, sex. While options for what Haag calls the low-conflict, semi-happy marriage are generally limited to unsatisfying lifelong monogamy, unsanctioned extramarital intimacy, or divorce, she proposes a fourth marital path—that of ethical nonmonogamy, which incorporates intimate relationships outside the marriage under conditions mutually agreed upon and consented to by the spouses. She argues that the societal outrage this sort of arrangement might provoke can be likened to past outrage over interracial marriage. VERDICT A solid choice for women’s studies and marriage studies scholars and professionals, this could also be a provocative, intriguing option for book discussion groups.—Janet Ingraham Dwyer, State Lib. of Ohio, Columbus

I Feel Great About My Hands: And Other Unexpected Joys of Aging. Douglas & McIntyre, dist. by PGW. Jun. 2011. c.264p. ed. by Shari Graydon. illus. ISBN 9781553657866. pap. $17.95. SOC SCI
Compassion and comedy are combined in this collection of 40 new essays and poems celebrating the challenges and benefits of female maturity. Graydon (past president, Media Action Média; In Your Face: The Culture of Beauty and You) invited dozens of women to write about their experiences as they turned 50 or older, her title a wry reference to Nora Ephron’s popular I Feel Bad About My Neck. The result is a wise and humorous multi-voiced collection of 42 pieces, for the most part by Canadian women, that affirms the internal benefits of aging in spite of the outward struggles with wrinkles, weight, and white hair. Topics include the benefits of a good bra or the significance of not wearing one, the companionship among golfers, visits to plastic surgeons, and gratitude for working body parts, even if they are a bit saggy. VERDICT A complement to Ephron’s book, this may appeal to the same readers as well as women generally who enjoy discussions of growing older happily. [Royalties will benefit Media Action Média.—Ed.]—Joyce Sparrow, Kenneth City, FL

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