Lauren Young

With the world in a frenzy over the World Cup tournament, Lauren Young re-visits the newly re-issued How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer. Despite the books grandiose title, "its beauty is that it does not make a specific argument—by recognizing the messy heterogeneity of soccer’s effect on people, it very clearly shows the game’s power to drive right to the heart of a cultural or economic phenomenon." Read on...

Shaun Randol

Sebastian Junger's gripping reportage from the frontlines of Afghanistan is adrenaline-fused war reporting at its best. Shaun Randol reviews the harrowing account of a platoon of American soldiers battling a ferocious enemy in the Korengal Valley, the most dangerous part of the war-torn country. A philosophical rumination on war it is not, but War is as addictive as the fighting it portrays.

Eric Anthamatten

Out of sight, out of mind; so the saying goes. In the United States, prisons are often located away from urban centers and curious eyes. Thus, the prisoners inside are even more obscured. In this review of a collection prison writing, Eric Anthamatten argues that the prison and the treatment of prisoners is reflective of society at large. If they are silenced, what does it say about us? A photo exhibit accompanies the essay.

Lisa Allen

For the first time, the American National Security Strategy will focus on homegrown extremists "radicalized" on American soil. The focus represents a key plank of the country's global security policy. The White House would do well, then, to read Ed Husain's The Islamist, a memoir of a London Muslim who nearly became "radicalized," only to see the error of his ways. Lisa Allen reviews this timely portrait.

Ed Hancox

Necessity is the mother of all invention, so the saying goes. In a rural village in Malawi, William Kamkwamba needed electricity. So, he figured out how to build a windmill to generate power. It's a small idea, but the results were huge. Ed Hancox reviews William's story, as told in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

Shaun Randol

The Austrian Cultural Forum (ACF) is eye-catching. The building’s zigzags penetrating and receding from the brick facades vertically paving 53rd St. Manhattan exudes a bit of swagger. This afternoon, I finally had the pleasure of exploring the tantalizingly narrow building, to listen in on the workings of the critical mind.

Ruthie Ackerman

In Half the Sky, the husband-and-wife team of Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn team up to shed light on the plights of many women around the world. Along the way, they offer up stories of courage and success, while also dishing out solutions to help those less fortunate. In this review, Ruthie Ackerman draws on her experiences working with women in Africa, applying doses of reality to the well-intentioned, often sunny outlooks presented by the authors. 

Lauren Young

Some consider her adventures heroic, while others see her exploits as privileged opportunism. The life of Emma McCune was complex and thrilling, which is why her actions in Sudan have inspired both fictional and biographical portraits. Lauren Young examines a novel and a semi-biography of the romantic Brit with ulterior motives. Through the lens of McCune, the two books also examine the roles of Westerners on idealistic foreign aid missions. 

Katherine Chen

Behind every great man is a great woman, so the saying goes. Katherine Chen delves into J.M. Coetzee's memoir, Boyhood: Scenes from Provincial Life, to find the phrase also extends to elusive Nobel Prize winning authors.

Robert Spain

Paul Collier is an optimist. Following the contrails left in the wake of The Bottom Billion, Wars, Guns and Votes examines baser elements of society (poverty, violence and more) to bolster his conclusion that the spread of democracy is a sure way to lift billions out of the muck and mire of destitution and political turmoil. Robert Spain takes a look at the provocative hypothesis to find that, despite some misfires here and there, Collier appears to be onto something.