A relevant, occasionally eye-opening collection of Q&As on race and privilege.

POLICE BRUTALITY AND WHITE SUPREMACY

THE FIGHT AGAINST AMERICAN TRADITIONS

Candid conversations about race and policing with key figures in media, sports, and social justice movements.

Activist and former NBA player Thomas follows up his 2018 interview collection, We Matter, with Q&As informed by the turmoil of 2020 and 2021, with a similar assortment of interviewees: athletes (Isiah Thomas, Steph Curry, Breanna Stewart), media figures (Yamiche Alcindor, Jake Tapper), and family members of Black men killed or brutalized by police (Willie McCoy’s brother, Rodney King’s daughter). The prompts for discussion include George Floyd, defunding the police, the January insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and the intersection of White supremacy and evangelical Christianity. The overall tone of the interviews is skeptical and dissatisfied with the lack of systemic change despite growing media attention. When Thomas tells the son of Black Panther Fred Hampton that “after Trump, Biden was a breath of fresh air,” he snaps back, “I still ain’t breathing.” The sharpest rhetoric comes from activist and broadcaster Marc Lamont Hill, who pushes against softening the phrase “defund the police,” likening it to shifting from abolishing slavery to “reform the plantation.” Trumpism, most of Thomas’ interlocutors agree, is just a more visible manifestation of White supremacy that’s been part of American life from the start. Though the intensity and relevance of the conversations are clear, especially with members of victims’ families, Thomas rarely sees his role as more than teeing up his interviewees to share experiences or familiar talking points, which blunts the overall impact. That's why his Q&A with entrepreneur and NBA team owner Mark Cuban stands out: Thomas actively challenges Cuban to use his wealth and position to extract meaningful change from police and fellow team owners, and Cuban’s earnest but evasive replies reveal just how steep the challenge is. Other interviewees include Sue Bird, Rex Chapman, Chuck D, and Jemele Hill.

A relevant, occasionally eye-opening collection of Q&As on race and privilege.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63614-056-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Edge of Sports/Akashic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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Everything about Sabathia is larger than life, yet he tells his story with honesty and humility.

TILL THE END

One of the best pitchers of his generation—and often the only Black man on his team—shares an extraordinary life in baseball.

A high school star in several sports, Sabathia was being furiously recruited by both colleges and professional teams when the death of his grandmother, whose Social Security checks supported the family, meant that he couldn't go to college even with a full scholarship. He recounts how he learned he had been drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the first round over the PA system at his high school. In 2001, after three seasons in the minor leagues, Sabathia became the youngest player in MLB (age 20). His career took off from there, and in 2008, he signed with the New York Yankees for seven years and $161 million, at the time the largest contract ever for a pitcher. With the help of Vanity Fair contributor Smith, Sabathia tells the entertaining story of his 19 seasons on and off the field. The first 14 ran in tandem with a poorly hidden alcohol problem and a propensity for destructive bar brawls. His high school sweetheart, Amber, who became his wife and the mother of his children, did her best to help him manage his repressed fury and grief about the deaths of two beloved cousins and his father, but Sabathia pursued drinking with the same "till the end" mentality as everything else. Finally, a series of disasters led to a month of rehab in 2015. Leading a sober life was necessary, but it did not tame Sabathia's trademark feistiness. He continued to fiercely rile his opponents and foment the fighting spirit in his teammates until debilitating injuries to his knees and pitching arm led to his retirement in 2019. This book represents an excellent launching point for Jay-Z’s new imprint, Roc Lit 101.

Everything about Sabathia is larger than life, yet he tells his story with honesty and humility.

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-13375-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Roc Lit 101

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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