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Archive for the ‘sociology’ Category

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“The belly laughs start on page 7 and occur regularly throughout Rakoff’s frequently impertinent, occasionally irascible, yet always inimitable take on contemporary American society.  A newly minted U.S. citizen, a process he reveals in all its maddeningly hypocritical inconsistency, Rakoff embarks on a series of journalistic assignments as peculiar in their phantasmagoric diversity as, well, America itself. From the pretentious preoccupation with gourmet dining to the rigor of fasting, Rakoff contemplates the extremes to which we will go in pursuit of our particular, often downright peculiar pleasures.  A trip on the Concorde is followed by a jaunt on Hooters Air, and visits to Beverly Hills plastic surgeons segue seamlessly into a tour of a cryogenics storage facility in Arizona. Whether interpreting popular culture or investigating political calumny, Rakoff’s cogent observations are delivered with a comforting mixture of appropriate moral outrage and unabashed mocking wonder, as he unfailingly elicits the inherent truths behind our most cherished and churlish institutions.” – Booklist

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With the publication of her letters (edited by local author Peter Y. Sussman Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford ) why not celebrate Mitford with this mind-blowing read?  “…This updated classic will be an eye-opener about the exploitation and corruption of America’s funeral industry… The total average cost of an adult’s funeral today is $7800, compared with $750 in 1961. Mitford, who died in 1996, exposes the continuing scams of prepaid funeral and cemetery plans and funeral insurance policies and the loopholes of the Federal Trade Commission’s “trade rule.” Worst of all is the unscrupulous practice of monopoly ownership of independent funeral homes and cemeteries by multinational corporations, particularly Service Corporation International (SCI), with its strategies of “clustering” and anonymity. The current spirit of social activism evidenced by nonprofit funeral and memorial societies, particularly the Funeral and Memorial Societies (FAMSA), and the growing acknowledgment of consumers’ legal rights to care for their own dead are serving as a check to the funeral industry’s high costs and practices. Very interesting, informative, and easy to read, this book is written with wit, solid information, and refreshing bluntness.” – LJ Reviews

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“In 1964, producer Apted set out to prove the Jesuit maxim, ‘Give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man.’ He interviewed 13 British children from very different backgrounds and classes, asking them what they wanted to be when they grew up, if they wanted to get married and have children, and what they thought was the difference between rich and poor, among other queries. Every seven years for the next 35 years he reinterviewed the same subjects, on basically the same topics, revealing their changing hopes and dreams, the realities of their lives, and the effects their backgrounds have had, or may have had, on their choices and successes (and failures). This is an astonishing and fascinating undertaking, compelling in its investigations and thought-provoking in the extreme.”  – Library Journal

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