RaveThe Guardian (UK)A sprawling tale ... Mak also does a good job of describing how every mass shooting has pushed the NRA ever further right, transforming it from advocacy group for gun rights into a fully fledged player in the culture war ... The passions of gun owners – and the fear they have instilled in a majority of public officials – remain dominant forces in American politics despite the greed and incompetence of their leaders chronicled so thoroughly in this important book.
RaveThe Guardian (UK)This short, powerful new book by the legal journalist Ian Millhiser pinpoints the gigantic threat that could thwart most of the progress embodied in those two pieces of landmark legislation: the new 6-3 conservative majority on the supreme court ... Writing clearly and succinctly, Millhiser dissects many of the worst opinions the modern court has rendered about voting rights, administrative law, religion and forced arbitration. After reading his cogent arguments, it becomes perfectly obvious why he thinks it’s necessary to end \'with a note of alarm\' ... Millhiser does an especially good job of explaining the catastrophic effect of Roberts’ decision to no longer allow the justice department to require local jurisdictions to submit proposed voting rights law changes before they go into effect ... Millhiser’s book is bulging with examples that prove that the same Republican justices who proclaim the need to rein in the executive branch whenever there is a Democrat in the White House have no trouble at all ignoring their imaginary \'judicial philosophies\' – as soon, say, as a Republican such as Donald Trump asserts a unilateral right to ban Muslims from entering the US ... This great short book makes it clear that the breadth of the new commission’s ambitions and the success of the Biden administration in carrying them out will be more important to our nation’s future than everything else the president and Congress accomplish.
PanThe Guardian (UK)The subtitle of Unger’s book is How the KGB Cultivated Donald Trump, and Related Tales of Sex, Greed, Power and Treachery – a rubric that enables the author to throw in almost every bit of unconfirmed gossip ever published about everyone from convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein to former British press magnate Robert Maxwell. And Maxwell’s daughter, Ghislaine, who was – or wasn’t, depending on which page of this book you’re on – Epstein’s girlfriend as well as allegedly his collaborator in recruiting underage girls to sate Epstein’s seemingly unquenchable sexual appetite ... And so it goes throughout Unger’s book: dozens and dozens of wild stories and salacious accusations, almost all \'too good to check\', in the parlance of old-time journalists ... Details [...] keep you turning the pages. But Unger’s willingness to include almost anything to titillate makes this book wildly uneven, and ultimately unsatisfactory.
PositiveThe Guardian (UK)Dan Morain...doesn’t have any scoops in Kamala’s Way. He has done a workmanlike job of assessing her passions and her accomplishments. But often his best details are lifted directly from her own autobiography ... All her life, Harris has made a habit of exceeding expectations. This book suggests she will do that again as vice-president—and that one day she might also excel as America’s first woman, first Indian and second Black president.
Writers of the Atlantic
PositiveThe Guardian (US)The American Crisis is a 500-page collection of the best of the Atlantic magazine in the age of Trump ... it bulges with great writing and reporting. In an era when the public square has been degraded by the mob violence of Twitter, the amoral algorithms of Facebook and the dubious scribblings of Drudge, Breitbart and the Daily Caller, this collection arrives at the perfect moment to affirm the promise of the Atlantic’s founders in 1857: to fight with the forces of \'freedom, national progress, and honor, whether public or private\'.
RaveThe Washington Post... brilliant ... Cervini is a smooth writer and a brilliant researcher. Besides being the first full-length biography of the intellectual father of the gay liberation movement, Cervini’s work provides a wealth of fascinating new details about the movement before the Stonewall riots of 1969 ... The book also does a fine job of tracing the decades-old divide within the movement, between those like Kameny who thought gays needed to look as much as possible like heterosexuals to be accepted (White House picketers were all required to wear suits if they were men or unrevealing dresses if they were women) and those most eager to celebrate gay differences ... Besides its rich portrait of Kameny, this book is careful to give honorable mentions to many other pre-Stonewall activists.
RaveThe Guardian (UK)Few things are more unexpected than a genuinely inspirational memoir by a freshman member of Congress. If you’re looking for the perfect antidote to the perpetual tweetstorm of insanity and hatred from Donald Trump, try this beautiful new book from the Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
RaveThe Guardian (UK)... masterful ... At a moment when a pandemic is bringing all the failures of unbridled capitalism into stark relief, nothing could be more timely than the biography of a convert to Catholicism who preached that the New Testament \'called on all believers to fight racism, war and poverty or it meant nothing at all\' and for whom \'faith was less about solace than a call to action and disruption. Piety and conformity to social norms had little to do with each other\' ... The authors’ portrait of bohemian Greenwich Village at its height is one of the book’s first and greatest pleasures ... With this collaboration, both [authors] have done the finest work of their lifetimes.
PositiveThe Guardian (UK)All Democratic presidential campaign managers should run out right now and buy a copy of Rick Wilson’s new book – and then read it out loud to their candidates ... Unlike most of the Washington reporters covering Donald Trump, Wilson, a Republican strategist and ad man, wastes no time trying to be fair or balanced about the career criminal who is the temporary occupant of the White House ... Like his previous book...Wilson’s new effort is a reminder that the handful of Republicans who have found the cojones to break with their felonious leader often treat him with considerably more violence than the average Democrat does. This is refreshing ... Because Wilson has spent practically his entire working life as a Republican consultant laying waste to Democratic candidates, he realizes his advice may be greeted with skepticism. So he suggests he should be treated like a senior KGB officer defecting at the height of the cold war: \'The right response wasn’t ‘Fuck you.’ It was ‘Hey, we’d LOVE to check out this boatload of intel, plans, strategies and data you’ve collected.\'
PositiveAir MailAndré Aciman’s new novel, Find Me, is a beguiling sequel to his ode to obsessive love, Call Me by Your Name ... Aciman’s characters are literate, well-traveled romantics, which is what makes it so pleasant to be in their company ... Find Me and Call Me by Your Name are the most literate versions imaginable of one of the most enduring tales of all time: \'Boy meets boy, boy loses boy, boy gets boy in the end.\'
RaveThe GuardianSeth Anziska is fired by personal transformation and intellectual rigour – but never lapses into propaganda ... This splendid book by a young American Jewish scholar is the product of an early emotional and intellectual transformation ... Anziska has made a major contribution to the history of this conflict. As the Trump administration repeats the errors of so many predecessors, with moves to delegitimize and defund the PLO, Anziska reminds us that America has always shared responsibility for the lopsided competition between Israel and the Palestinians.
Martha C. Nussbaum
PositiveThe GuardianNussbaum’s fundamental idealism is undiminished by the coarseness of our time: she still believes in a \'loving, imaginative vision (through poetry and music...) and a spirit of deliberation and rational critique embodied in … good political discourse.\' If Germany is right now \'one of the most fear-resistant and balanced nations in the world, it may well be because instead of snarky backbiting, politicians on both sides actually sit down and think\' ... She believes that other kinds of stigma—based on class, race and age—are equally susceptible to cure by the kind of mass integration of young citizens that universal national service would require. The subtext of her idea is that \'young people would see the diversity of people in their country as soldiers in World War II learned to do during their service, only my young people would be trying to help, not to kill.\' That is one of several noble notions in this book. Everyone who still believes we can rescue the republic should embrace all of them. \'Hope really is a choice,\' says the author, \'and a practical habit.\'
Issac J. Bailey
RaveThe GuardianIssac Bailey’s memoir is a triumph, a painful indictment of American inhumanity woven with threads of grace and love. This is an extraordinary book about crime, punishment, redemption and the empowerment that can spring from adversity. The author, journalist Issac Bailey, is nuanced, original and remarkably clear-sighted about America and himself ... Bailey is a master of seeing things from all sides. His perceptions are so sharp and his writing is so skillful, he convinces the reader that the damage from that murder was nearly as great for his own family as it was for that of his brother’s victim ... If America ever decides to bind up its racial wounds and love itself that thoroughly, it will need to absorb all of the lessons in this remarkable book.
Michael Isikoff, David Corn
PositiveThe GuardianBut Russian Roulette still makes many important contributions to this extraordinary story – a saga which I believe is destined to bring an abrupt end to the Trump presidency.
PositiveThe GuardianThis book is a timely reminder of the hideous obstacles black Americans still faced eight decades after Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation ... the most compelling parts are all about the collaborations between black journalists and black athletes – the alliances which arguably did more to advance the cause of black equality than everything else that happened in the United States between 1930 and 1960.
PositiveThe GuardianPromise Me, Dad is Joe Biden’s poignant account of the most challenging year of his vice-presidency and the second-most difficult year of his life ... Biden’s book describes a year of almost unbelievable sensory overload, when the vice-president was juggling frequent visits to the hospital to comfort his son with regular phone calls to the prime minister of Iraq and the president of the Ukraine... More than anything else, the book is a reminder of the importance of politics: how much elections can change the trajectory of a country, and how different America has become one year after Donald Trump was elected president ... Biden repeatedly asserts that he would have been successful if he had run for president in 2016 ... The author explains that the grieving process 'doesn’t respect or much care about things like filing deadlines or debates and primaries and caucuses. And I was still grieving.'
E.J. Dionne Jr. & Norman J. Ornstein & Thomas E. Mann
RaveThe GuardianOne Nation After Trump is your must-read book for 2017 … The authors offer solutions. As many current problems are a result of the Republicans’ very successful effort to curb voting among African Americans and other minorities, the authors propose an imitation of the Australian system, which requires voters to appear at the polls. They date the current decline in voting to the supreme court’s 5-4 ruling in Shelby County vs Holder in 2013, which gutted the Voting Rights Act. ‘A new Voting Rights Act should be the centerpiece of a new democracy,’ they write … The authors know the only thing that can really cure the catastrophe in Washington is massive citizen involvement at every level of the political process.
RaveThe Washington PostLike so many classic love stories, this one unfolds with the suspense of a thriller. Will Elio's passion ever be reciprocated by the one he worships? If it is, will they leap over fear and taboo to consummate their desire? And if they do, will they be exhilarated or repelled by that consummation? They have only six weeks to find out … The book is explicit without ever being prurient, and the feelings the narrator describes are both homoerotic and universal … The beauty of Aciman's writing and the purity of his passions should place this extraordinary first novel within the canon of great romantic love stories for everyone.
PanThe GuardianIn his book, he does acknowledge the benefits of the civil rights movement...He is also correct that the left needs to focus a lot more attention on winning elections, especially at state and local levels, and he properly criticizes progressives for their eagerness to condemn their own, particularly in attacking Barack Obama. But then the tunnel-vision of his campus experiences kicks in, leading him to say things which are half-true, untrue, false or just completely meaningless ... Lilla does mention the main cause for our current predicament – the investment of billions of dollars in thinktanks, radio talkshows and TV networks to move the center of political thinking sharply to the right. But for some reason he thinks all of this has been much less important in alienating voters from liberalism than a noble effort to extend the basic protections of the constitution to women, African Americans and gay, lesbian and transgender people.
RaveThe Guardian...a treasure trove of music trivia between hard covers ... Myers is particularly good on the competition within bands and between them to produce the best possible songs ... the unlikely cross-pollination at the heart of so many of the classics [is] so rightly celebrated in this splendid volume.
RaveThe Guardian...[a] brilliant new book ... Chait reminds us of almost everything we have already forgotten about Obama and the economy ... Chait did some impressive last-minute rewriting after the surprise presidential election result, and he does a fine job of describing the importance of racism to Donald Trump’s success.
PositiveThe Washington PostThis lovely memoir by the actor best known for his role as the emcee in the film Cabaret is a reminder that just a few decades ago, people in every profession believed that being perceived as straight was an essential prerequisite for success — even actors in the theater.
RaveThe Guardian...[an] indispensable new history 'of the billionaires behind the rise of the radical right' in the US.