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Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy’s new book “Say It Out Loud” collects 29 of his essays. Kennedy’s views on the issues listed in the book’s subtitle – race, law, history, and culture – tend to be complex and he’s not afraid to change his mind. He says on the podcast that there is “no shame” in admitting you’re wrong, and that he does exactly that in the book when he sees fit.

“I thought America was a lot further than it is on the road to racial decency,” Kennedy says. “Donald Trump obviously trafficked in racial resentment, racial prejudice in a way that I thought was firmly locked in the past. This has had a great influence on me. He used to be a pretty confident racial optimist. And I’m not. I’m still in the optimistic to camp – I think we’ll get through it, but I’m restless. I’m restless in a way that just wasn’t the case, let’s say 10 years ago. “

Credit…Martha Stewart

Mary Roach visits the podcast to talk about her new book, “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law.” It is impossible to choose just one moment to highlight from this interview, which includes, but is not limited to, the following topics: caterpillars called to court, moose crash test dummies, and how to distinguish (and why would you want to) between a real and penis fake tiger.

Also in this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at the history of Book Review as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world; and Jennifer Szalai and John Williams talk about books they have recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.

Here are the books discussed by critics this week:

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this episode and the Book Review podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.


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