RaveThe Star Tribune... as Chris Hamby makes clear in his lively and arduously researched book, Soul Full of Coal Dust, even those who escape the immediate dangers of toiling underground are subject to years, even decades, of pain, labored breathing, and eventual death ... There are many surprising revelations in Hamby’s book. One is that black lung disease, or pneumoconiosis, is undergoing a deadly resurgence in central Appalachia ... Soul Full of Coal Dust may disappoint readers expecting an expansive look into the inner workings of mines ... Administrative hearings and legal motions may not make for pleasurable reading, but they are where the system’s cruelties are laid painfully bare ... Still, with relentless curiosity and empathy, Hamby has reached deep into Appalachia’s coal hills and discovered the bright places where change occurs. Here he has found dramas of heroism, self-sacrifice and determination ... he has performed another public service by portraying the often-forgotten people of coal country as active agents in their own history.
PositiveMinneapolis Star TribuneAn intimate, sometimes demoralizing journey across the U.S. ... Alissa Quart lucidly recounts these and other wrenching stories of economic hardship, while meticulously deconstructing some of the prevailing myths about middle-class life in the United States ... Writing in a sharp-edged tone ... At times, Squeezed can feel like an anxiety-inducing plane trip marked by nonstop turbulence. The stories of injustice build, one on top of another, until the reader feels claustrophobic — walled in by the anxiety, debt, overwork and isolation so vividly described ... Squeezed stands out for its insightful analysis of class dynamics in the United States.
RaveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneKingsley’s account is planetary in scope, and cuts through the highly charged rhetoric that has fueled anti-migrant sentiment ... In researching his book, Kingsley asked hundreds of refugees why they risk death to reach Europe. The common answer is simple: Because there is no other option. People board wooden skiffs because the water has become safer than the land. Fences, walls and other efforts to seal off borders are doomed to fail, because migrants and their smugglers will find alternate routes, Kingsley argues. 'Their desperation will ultimately prove stronger than our isolation.'”
PositiveThe Minneapolis StarYounge has produced a deeply nuanced portrait of the social, racial and economic forces behind the daily carnage of gun deaths in America.
RaveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneCole strews searing insights like fresh seeds throughout his latest book ... Cole’s latest book feels like an intimate conversation with an eccentric friend who cannot wait to share his wonderment with the visual world. Like a modern-day Montaigne, Cole patiently teases out deeper meanings from varied art forms and the outer margins of everyday existence.