Category: Clio Reads

Between a Soft Rock and a Hard Place: A Review of Karen Tongson’s Why Karen Carpenter Matters

Early in her new book Why Karen Carpenter Matters, Karen Tongson reports that a karaoke machine in the Philippines once presented the key phrase from the Carpenters’ 1970 song “We’ve Only Just Begun” as “whiteness and promises” instead of “white lace and promises.”1 Sometimes, Tongson suggests, getting something “wrong” can be a very powerful mode… Read more →

What to Read in a Pandemic

Nursing Clio editors and writers share their favorite books on disease, social anxiety, and resilience to help you get through COVID-19. Cassia Roth: Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks details a year in the life of an English town during a plague epidemic. Its protagonist, Anna Frith, will take you along on her terrifying, and… Read more →

Sperm Donor Siblings Speak Their Truths

In Random Families: Genetic Strangers, Sperm Donor Siblings, and the Creation of New Kin, sociologists Rosanna Hertz and Margaret Nelson ask what it means for children to be related to each other via a sperm donor. In their rendering, this is not merely a theoretical question up for philosophical debate. What is so brilliant about… Read more →

“I Would Rather Die”: A Review of Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland

On April 27 of last year, sociologist and psychiatrist Jonathan M. Metzl was at a public reading for his new book, Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland, when a group of megaphone-wielding “identitarians” interrupted him. They offered up a cringe-inducing nativist political platform and chanted “this land is… Read more →

The “Textile Memoir”: A Review of Threads of Life by Clare Hunter

I read this beautiful book as slowly as possible because I desperately did not want it to end. Part memoir and part history, Clare Hunter’s Threads of Life: A History of the World Through The Eye of A Needle (Abrams Press, 2019) is a gorgeous exploration of needlework in its contemporary and historical context that… Read more →

Celebrating the Fourth Age: Mapping Menopause with Curiosity and Love

Darcey Steinke’s Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life is a beautiful and complex book grappling with the experience of menopause. The author interweaves research with her personal experience. What is menopause? What should it be? From the deep discomforts of sleeplessness and hot flashes to her eventual landing place that one… Read more →

The Complicated World of Female Loyalism: A Review of Kacy Dowd Tillman’s Stripped and Script: Loyalist Women Writers of the American Revolution

Any scholar who teaches or writes about the era of the American Revolution understands that the category of loyalism is slippery. For those in favor of the war against the British, the word “loyalist” was a weapon used alongside battles, destruction of property, tarring and feathering, and other tactics to draw the line between friend… Read more →

Difficult Truths: A Review of Anuradha Bhagwati’s Unbecoming: A Memoir of Disobedience

Anuradha Bhagwati is not a dude-bro. She doesn’t defend “Murica” with blind reverence. She does not fit the common trope of an American Marine. She could, however, outrun and outshoot many of those who do. But these skills probably did not help the horrifying truth that, during her service in the Marine Corps, she rarely… Read more →

Colonial Politics are Reproductive Politics: A Review of Brianna Theobald’s Reproduction on the Reservation: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Colonialism in the Long Twentieth Century

This year, a panel of experts on reproductive health in Indigenous communities gave a briefing to Congress asking for, among a host of other demands, the repeal of the Hyde Amendment. The panel argued for more attention toward the effects of such restrictions on Native people amid a flurry of abortion bans that limit reproductive… Read more →

Showing Up, Building Community, and Creating Grace: A Review of Lindy West’s The Witches Are Coming

At 11 am CT on January 20, 2017 — just as Donald Trump was being sworn in as the forty-fifth President of the United States in Washington, DC — I was sworn in as a brand new American citizen in Rock Island, Illinois. It was an odd day. On the one hand, knowing that the… Read more →