Fast Food Nation shows how the fast food industry has massive consequences on many other aspects of our lives, including our education, health and working conditions. The book reveals the terrible methods and working conditions – caused in great part by the fast food industry’s focus on profit – that are used to create our food.
Gang Leader For A Day is based on author Sudhir Venkatesh’s ten years of personal, in-depth research conducted on-site at the notorious Robert Taylor Homes public housing projects in Chicago. Ignored by city government and law enforcement, residents in the close-knit community rely only on local gangs and each other for basic services and social support.
The Locust Effect (2014) argues that foreign aid is only useful to developing countries if their impoverished citizens have protection from violence and crime. Without this, aid money is wasted because neither individuals nor businesses are safe to grow. Financial donations should aim to strengthen national criminal justice systems, so countries can serve themselves in the long run.
The Age of Empathy (2009) debunks popular theories which suggest that human nature is inherently selfish, cut-throat and prone to violence. Evidence provided by biology, history and science makes clear that cooperation, peace and empathy are qualities that are as natural and innate to us as our less desirable traits.
The Death of Expertise (2017) examines the current attacks on science and knowledge that seem to be on the rise in our current technological and political environment. What has happened to objective truths being the truth and facts being indisputable? Why is science now a matter of political partisanship? Find out what’s really going on and why this is one of the most important issues of our day.
Evicted (2016) tells the heartbreaking story of the individuals and families who struggle to get by in the United States’ poorest cities. Despite their best efforts, many of these people have fallen into a vicious cycle of poverty that has left them at the mercy of greedy property owners who don’t hesitate to evict families at the slightest provocation. To take a closer look at the details of their lives, we’ll focus on the inner city of Milwaukee and the tenants and landlords who populate this deeply segregated area.
Strangers in Their Own Land (2016) discusses the issues that divide American politics, with specific focus on the Tea Party of Louisiana. In the course of explaining how Louisiana ended up where it is today, the author encourages readers to empathize with disparate political stances.
Dreamland (2015) tells the story of how the opiate crisis in the United States went from being a problem only among social outcasts and the urban poor to one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in the country. The background and science of the crisis are rooted in socioeconomic factors that are distinctly American.
Distinction (1979) is widely considered one of the most important works of twentieth-century sociology. Drawing on extensive empirical research and developing many new concepts that have had a lasting impact on the social sciences, it puts forward a groundbreaking theory about the relationship between taste and class.
Superior (2019) tracks the history of race science, from its origins in the Enlightenment to its hidden – but growing – presence in the twenty-first century. The uncomfortable truth is that science is not always apolitical, and the theory of biological race lives on in subtle ways, despite the mounting evidence against it. Groups of people might look, sound, and do things differently – but genetically, we’re very much the same.
The Broken Ladder (2017) explores the psychological, physical, and social ramifications of rising inequality. As the rich get richer, it powerfully demonstrates, everyone else feels poorer, regardless of material circumstances – with devastating consequences for all.
Wildland (2021) recounts the story of how America became unraveled throughout the first two decades of the twenty-first century. Drawing on stories from residents of three US cities – Greenwich, Connecticut; Clarksburg, West Virginia; and Chicago, Illinois – it examines the undercurrents of change that tie together the fates of these varied landscapes. Finally, it describes how the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 laid the foundation for the violent insurrection on January 6, 2021.
Perversion of Justice (2021) reveals how a reporter for the Miami Herald broke the story behind Jeffrey Epstein’s sex crimes and the scandalous deal he got from the US justice system in 2008. It explains the history of the case, how the mysterious financier was able to escape justice for so long, and the important questions that remain unanswered.
Empire of Pain (2021) follows the rise and fall of the elusive Sacklers, the billionaire family behind Purdue Pharma. Its blockbuster drug, OxyContin, was aggressively marketed as safe, but would go on to spur a devastating opioid crisis that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Yet the Sacklers’ fortress of lawyers, political connections and a philanthropic name would, time and again, protect them from responsibility.
Women, Race and Class (1981) is a collection of essays that expose how racism, sexism, and classism intertwined in the struggle for women’s suffrage in the United States. With special emphasis on the historical missteps of the mainstream feminist movement, it charts a path for an anti-racist and anti-classist feminism.
Slouching Towards Utopia (2022) examines the “long century” between 1870 and 2010, during which technological progress, globalization, and the advent of social democracy opened a new horizon of human progress. Barring the horror years of World Wars I and II, humanity seemed to be on a slow, uneven crawl toward utopia. But in 2010, the tables turned. Economic progress in the Global North ground to a halt.
Don Quixote (1605) is widely regarded as the first modern novel. Its claim to fame extends beyond historical novelty. For many readers and critics, it remains the greatest novel of its kind. It tells the story of a man who becomes so enchanted by tales of chivalry that he decides to become a knight-errant – a wandering gallant in the style of Lancelot. The self-styled knight who calls himself Don Quixote and his trusty sidekick Sancho Panza get themselves into all kinds of absurd mischief, but their foolish quest ultimately brings them something precious: an immortal friendship.
It’s OK to be Angry About Capitalism (2023) is a critique of the economic and political system in the US. It offers a blueprint on how to move past unbridled capitalism onto a fairer and freer future.
The Myth of American Inequality (2022) corrects widespread misconceptions about inequality in the United States. Taking aim at misleading official statistics, it shows that poverty has all but disappeared in today’s America and that the gap between rich and “poor” isn’t nearly as large as many people assume.
The Secret History (1992) is the gripping tale of a group of Classics students at a New England college who are involved in the murder of a classmate. The novel explores the complex relationships between the friends, and the impact the incident has on their lives.
Jane Eyre (1874) is an intense, intimate portrait of a young woman’s search to find her place in Victorian society without compromising her passionate ideals. It follows her as she navigates life’s obstacles – and her developing love for the mysterious Edward Rochester.
Of Mice and Men (1937) is a poignant tale that traces an unlikely friendship between two impoverished workers in California during the Great Depression: compact, quick-witted George Milton, and huge, childlike Lennie Small.
Wuthering Heights (1847) is a masterpiece of English literature. Set in Yorkshire, it tells the story of two families and their intense, often tumultuous relationships – in particular, the stormy romance between Heathcliff and Catherine.
Animal Farm (1945) is a classic satirical novella that transplants the events of the Russian Revolution of 1917 to a small English farm. Once the animals stage an uprising, a political battle ensues between an ideological pig named Snowball and a power-hungry pig named Napoleon.
We Were Liars (2014) is the suspenseful story of the wealthy, carefree Sinclair family and the tragic event that exposes the cracks in their perfect facade – as told by an unreliable narrator, Cadence Sinclair.
A Rose for Emily (1930) was first published in Forum magazine. Told in a nonlinear style, it starts with the funeral of Emily, a fixture in the fictional Jefferson County. It then goes back in time to trace moments of her life, and the decline in her health and status.
The Hunger Games (2008) is the first volume of the popular YA fantasy trilogy. In the post-apocalyptic future state of Panem, teenagers participate in a brutal yearly game show where they compete against each other in a deadly obstacle arena. When her sister is drafted for the games, 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her place – not realizing she’ll end up fighting for something bigger than mere survival.
A Theory of Justice (1971) is a seminal work of political philosophy, in the social contract tradition. One of the most widely debated philosophical works of the twentieth century, it provides a framework for evaluating societies and social outcomes in terms of justice, fairness, and rights.
Great Expectations (1860) is Charles Dickens’ classic novel about the social ambitions and failings of Pip, a small-town orphan who suddenly becomes wealthy through a mysterious benefactor. Pip leaves his home town for London, but as his social and material standing develop, he suffers a moral deterioration that leaves him questioning his decisions.
The Hate U Give (2017) is a critically acclaimed coming-of-age tale set against the backdrop of racism and police brutality. It follows 16-year-old Starr Carter as she navigates two contrasting worlds: the poor Black neighborhood where she lives and the white prep school where she studies. Starr's attempt to strike a balance between these two worlds is shattered when she witnesses the shooting of her childhood friend, Khalil, by a police officer.
Small Mercies (2023) is an intense thriller that takes place in Boston in 1974, when the city’s busing crisis was just getting started. The story centers around a single mother in the neighborhood of South Boston, whose daughter goes missing on the same night a Black man is found dead under suspicious circumstances.