Books on Specific Social Problems and Services


November 13, 2023

363. Books on specific social problems & services

Further Reading:

Kip Anderson and Keegan Kuhn The Sustainability Secret: Uncovering the Largest Environmental Challenge to the Future of the Human Race, 2015.

This companion book to the documentary Cowspiracy gives transcripts from the movie, material deemed too disturbing to include, and additional sources to consult. It also explains how our animal-based diet harms the planet due to deforestation, methane gas production, water pollution, topsoil erosion, and other hazards.

Erin Brockovich Superman’s Not Coming: Our National Water Crisis and What We the People Can Do About It, 2020.

Environmental activist and consumer advocate Erin Brockovich looks at issues with the public water supply in the U.S. She provides concrete examples of where it’s gone wrong. Then, she supplies information about dealing with the problems using real-life success stories.

Rachel Carson Silent Spring, 1962.

Rachel Carson’s seminal work in environmental and conservationist movements raised awareness about the dangers pesticides pose to humans and the planet. Its publication significantly changed American air, land, and water regulations.

Joe Domanick Blue: The LAPD and the Battle to Redeem American Policing, 2015.

After beginning his story with the Los Angeles Police Department in the early 1990s and the beating of Rodney King, Joe Domanick moves his focus to New York City. He covers the changes in their police force that resulted in dramatic reductions in crime. But the story ends in 2014 with the rise in police militarization and increasing evidence of racially based profiling.

Conor Dougherty Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing in America, 2020.

Journalist Conor Dougherty uses California as ground zero for the nation’s housing crisis. By demonstrating the cultural, political, and economic forces that resulted in our current state, he shows that the solution, while not simple, is possible.

Rose George The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why it Matters, 2008.

Worldwide, diseases caused by human waste kill more people annually than any other cause. Rose George tells how failure to deal effectively with sewage harms everyone. Then, she tells how the issue can be addressed.

David Gessner The Tarball Chronicles: A Journey Beyond the Oiled Pelican and Into the Heart of the Gulf Oil Spill, 2011.

David Gessner traveled the entire United States Gulf Coast, talking to scientists, fishermen, residents, and environmentalists. He gets a rare look at the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The disaster should compel us to rethink our relationship with nature before we have more irreparable damage.

Fred Kaplan Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War, 2016.

Fred Kaplan covers the history of presidential involvement in cyber security issues, from Ronald Reagan’s first presidential directive on cyber security to the 2015 Defense Report on cyber policy.

Jonathan M. Katz The Big Truck that Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster, 2013.

Reporter and editor Jonathan M. Katz discusses the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010. At the time, Katz was stationed in Haiti and survived the quake to report on its terrible aftermath. He talks about the aid packages given to Haiti, led by Bill Clinton, and how the efforts to help, in some ways, made things worse.

Wes Moore and Erica L. Green Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City, 2020.

American investment banker turned politician Wes Moore examines the five-day Baltimore uprising after the brutal and deadly arrest of Freddie Gray by police in April 2015. With the help of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Erica L. Green, he relates the story through the eyes of people directly affected by the conflicts.

For more information on the Further Reading series, see “Further Reading: Start Here.”



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