Also of interest...in DIY culture
by Caren Cooper (Overlook, $29)
Biologist Caren Cooper “writes with the energy and enthusiasm of a crusader,” said Deborah Blum in The Washington Post. In this engaging book, Cooper presents tale after tale of ordinary citizens pitching in to help scientists gather data—about migration patterns, climate shifts, and more. She sees revolutionary potential in the movement, and though she might be overly optimistic about the future of citizen science projects, “she is an excellent advocate for today.”
by Mark Sundeen (Riverhead, $26)
Mark Sundeen’s latest book is unsettling in ways he didn’t intend, said Jon Christensen in the San Francisco Chronicle. A portrait of three American couples who’ve tried to build lives outside today’s consumer culture, The Unsettlers has been “slyly constructed” to lure readers down similar off-the-grid paths. But though Sundeen is a wry, nearly perfect guide, he doesn’t recognize how his subjects, by framing their own acts of colonization as moral, are renewing a central myth of the culture they reject.
Stand Your Ground
by Caroline Light (Beacon, $26)
The laws referred to in this book’s title are “something of a red herring,” said Peter Baker in Pacific Standard. Though the spread of “Stand Your Ground” statutes began just a decade ago, this “timely” history shows that America has always had a twisted infatuation with lethal self-defense. Historian Caroline Light has read the case law, and she leaves no doubt that white men—and only white men—have consistently been forgiven and even celebrated for killing alleged attackers.
The Unbanking of America
by Lisa Servon (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27)
Poor people who pay hefty fees to cash checks aren’t necessarily mismanaging their money, said David Hugh Smith in CSMonitor.com. Lisa Servon has made a study of the more than one in four Americans who use such services, and after working on the front lines has concluded that for many people, banks are a worse option, because of their punishing late fees and exploitative service practices. Servon identifies potential solutions, though, and “her compassion and intelligence light up every page.” ■