Page by Page: Book Reviews

The Diva Speaks—at Length

My Name is Barbra gives readers a peek into the multi-faceted world of this famous, yet quite private woman, along with glimpses of those in her orbit. If you can get past the length, lack of an index, and extensive back-patting, you will enjoy yourself and learn a great deal.

Thomas Sowell Is at It Again

If Amiri Baraka was the godfather of the 1960s Black Arts Movement, Sowell is the godfather of Black conservatism. And Black conservatism is as important to African American Studies as the Black Arts Movement no matter how disagreeable many of us in the field may find many of Black conservatism’s assumptions to be.

Does Anyone Still Care about Baseball?

Why We Love Baseball is an enjoyable book. It is well-written, tugging at the heartstrings one moment, being like Ripley’s Believe It or No” in another. There are lots of good portions here for St. Louis Cardinals fans, and aspects of the book could actually appeal to people who are indifferent to baseball. Still, this book is clearly for fans.

The Arrival of Asian American Culture

Perhaps, given our recent claim to greater visibility and the fact that RISE is arguably the first volume of its kind—especially as a “pop history of Asian America”—overzealous readers like myself may hastily expect it to be the Asian American story.

How Much Crime Is Too Much Crime?

Criminal (In)Justice is an accessible, highly readable book that does an excellent job presenting the counterarguments to the anti-mass incarceration, defund the police crowd. If you want to know arguments and the evidence for them, this book is a concise, painless way to learn.

The Myth of a Storybook Life

In her 2023 biography, Becoming Ezra Jack Keats, Virginia McGee Butler challenges assumptions about Keats—indeed about all picture book authors—a mission for which Keats, who was deeply invested in challenging stereotypes, would have offered his hearty approval.

Enter the Dragon

Timothy Egan’s engaging account is simple: D. C. Stephenson, who would become the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, was the archetypical stranger who came to town one day, in this case Evansville, Indiana, in 1922. Stephenson built the Klan in Indiana with good marketing. He made the Klan stand for virtue: strong White families, temperance, and godliness. He was very successful in recruiting churches. He was a smart organizer, getting law enforcement to join in great numbers as well as low-level politicians. Then, he kidnapped a woman who worked for him.