American Studies Book Reviews 2014

Orange is the New Black cover imageEach student in the 2014 American Studies advanced seminar, "The Globalization of American Culture," read a recently published book in American Studies or a related discipline and wrote an essay commenting on its overall contribution to the field, its use of interdisciplinary methodology, and its potential use in other courses at Connecticut College. In some cases, students contacted the author and included the author's insights in their reviews.

In particular, the 2014 seminar students highly recommend reading "Orange is the New Black" by Piper Kerman. Reviewer Catherine Campbell notes the variation between the popular Netflix television show and Kerman’s original work, in which she intended to break down the common misperceptions of prisoners and the prison system.

As the author notes, “The Netflix series is an adaptation… there are moments [from the book] that leap off the screen… but there are other moments of the show which are tremendous liberties and pure fiction.”

The relationship between literature, television, and technology, all of which come to play in "Orange is the New Black," are especially significant within the American Studies discipline, and within our globalizing world.

Special thanks to our editors, RasAmen Oladuwa ’15 and Leah Swinson ’15. 

All reviews are in PDF format. 

Review of Five Days at Memorial, by Sheri Fink, reviewed by Melanie Thibeault '14

Review of Home, by Toni Morrison, reviewed by Jannette Rivera '14

Review of Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg, reviewed by Olivia Farrell '14

Review of Making Toast, A Family Story, by Roger Rosenblatt, reviewed by Justin Curtis '14

Review of Making War at Fort Hood, by Kenneth MacLeish, reviewed by Keith Veronesi '14

Review of Orange is the New Black, by Piper Kerman, reviewed by Catherine "Kate" Campbell '14

Review of Raising Henry: A Memoir of Motherhood, Disability and Discovery, by Rachel Adams, reviewed by Tricia Guay '14

Review of Rez-Life, by David Treuer, reviewed by Lee Tsairis '14

Review of Rita Moreno, a Memoir, by Rita Moreno, reviewed by Carter Goffigon '14

Review of The Sports Gene, by David Epstein, reviewed by Thomas Woessner '14

Review of The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander, reviewed by Gracie Pearlman '14

Review of This Town: This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral – Plus Plenty of Valet Parking! – in America’s Gilded Capital, by Mark Leibovich, reviewed by Tim Kast '14

Review of Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson, reviewed by Mark Finnegan '14

Review of Where Men Win Glory, by Jon Krakauer, reviewed by Christopher May '14

Review of Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, reviewed by Audrey Schlette '14