Savage City: A Review

Anyone looking at the current state of affairs in the US–the violence, racism, poverty, and corruption–will ask, How did we get here? The answer presented in Donald Levin’s Savage City is that we’ve always been here. Levin takes the reader to Detroit in the Spring of 1932. The Great Depression is in full swing, as…More

Divine Aphasia: A review

In 1973 Clifford Geertz introduced the term “thick description” to ethnographic studies, recognizing that “culture is a knotty and often mysterious thing, made up of layers upon layers of intertwined symbols and signs.” The researcher produces detail-rich accounts of his or her research, identifies patterns and relationships and contexts for meaning.   It is this penetrating…More

Don’t Worry About the Key–whistling, singing, disappearing

I’m not supposed to hear this. I’m not even supposed to be awake at this hour. It’s 3:00 a.m. Lying beside me, gently asleep, my wife is making a whistling sound. She inhales, then exhales, and there it is: a soft, clear whistle, with each exhaled breath. So it’s true. When I was a kid,…More