Book Review: A Nation of Immigrants

This is a book review of “A Nation of Immigrants” by John F. Kennedy. The review was written by Sharath Patil. 

These States are the amplest poem,

Here is not merely a nation but

A teeming Nation of nations.”

                             -Walt Whitman[1]

In 2018, Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), re-published a classic by his great-uncle, former U.S. President John F. Kennedy: A Nation of Immigrants. Although the book has been widely celebrated for decades, Joe Kennedy intended to demonstrate the relevance of JFK’s principles and values to debates around immigration policy today. As the first Roman Catholic U.S. president, Kennedy’s election was a critical milestone in this nation’s path to becoming a more inclusive country. Throughout his presidency, Kennedy did not forget his own immigrant roots nor that of most Americans. Irish by heritage, Kennedy wrote with great respect for the suffering that so many Irish immigrants to the United States endured – particularly during the Irish potato famine and under British rule.

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Book Review: The Risks of Righteous Fury

Book Review: The Risks of Righteous Fury

This is a book review of The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt. The review was written by Vicky Yu.

Morality and common sense suffer from the same underlying assumptions; we believe that people all abide by the same principles. Experience teaches us that common sense is not universal, but accepting the same verdict on morality is more difficult. Acknowledging differences in how we determine right versus wrong fundamentally alters perceptions of who we are and our place in the world. Continue reading

Book Review: Little Brown Me, and Other Reflections on Identity

Are we as adults prepared to help the children we care about make sense of their own race-related observations?

This is a book review of  Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Tatum. The review was written by Brandie Williams. 

In this thought-provoking work, Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria, Beverly Daniel Tatum weaves together a conscious-jolting web of understanding surrounding privilege, racial identity, and how we come to understand who we are as individuals. In the very beginning of her book, she challenges us with a simple exercise: “think back to your earliest race-related memory.”

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Book Review: How to Rescue Those Who the System Fails

This is a book review of Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. The review was written by Esther Kaufman. 

“Mercy is most empowering, liberating and transformative when it is directed at the undeserving,” writes author Bryan Stevenson in his book, Just Mercy. This is a concept that is difficult but perhaps essential to embrace as the media constantly divides people and societies into heroes and villains. I was born to immigrant parents who fled anti-Semitism and praise America as the land that gave their families mercy when no other state could. Yet, Bryan Stevenson’s portrayal of the American criminal justice system revealed injustices that disrupted all of my preconceived notions regarding America’s inherit goodness. Continue reading

About ‘Book reviews’

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” ~ Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

The book reviews on the blog will feature important books related to the Chair’s research themes, both academic and non-academic texts. The reviews will focus on what the reader found inspiring, what questions the book raised and how it has influenced their approach. Continue reading