PositiveThe Washington PostA confession: A few pages into historian Elisabeth Griffith’s book, I felt the weariness of a lifelong feminist. Who needs to read this encyclopedic account of the last 100 years of women’s fight for equality? By the time I finished the introduction, my mood had shifted. Who needs this steamroller of a timeline full of pluckable facts and anecdotes about what women have endured in America? Far too many of us, I’m afraid. Including me ... It is large at nearly 400 pages of text because it must be, as historical accounts of women’s history seldom lift our gaze beyond the activists, who were mostly White and united for the cause, and with plenty of free time to pursue it. This is an intersectional account of what it has meant to be a woman in America for the past century ... commands us to consider just who we mean when we talk about women’s history ... As I read Griffith’s book, I found the most uncomfortable passages to be the most necessary, particularly regarding racism ... Griffith has found the words for us and does an exemplary job of showing how women have always discovered ways to be powerful, regardless of obstacles. The lesson is always the same: The sooner we recognize this power in one another, the sooner the next wave of progress will reach our shores.
PositiveThe Washington PostIn writing about his son, Raskin speaks for so many of us who have lost a loved one to suicide: We don’t want them to be remembered only for the way they died ... this book is a fascinating, play-by-play account of the strategy for Trump’s second impeachment trial, including the behind-the-scenes workings, of which Raskin has deep knowledge as the trial’s lead prosecutor. As the wife of a U.S. senator, I had a special appreciation for Raskin’s description of the somber pretrial discussions ... The overarching lesson of this book is an optimistic one, particularly for anyone who loves a child, of any age. As I read Raskin’s many passages about his complicated, beautiful boy, and Tommy’s enduring influence on him, I found myself reflecting on my relationship with my own beloved children, now grown ... Raskin has taken full measure of his son and his relationship with him. He continues to discover how Tommy’s life has changed his and is willing to share this with all of us. He is extending an invitation for anyone who loves a child to do the same.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review... quiet whirlwind of a novel ... Heiny writes about small-town life without ridicule or slapstick, and never resorts to idyllic depictions of a long-ago day that never existed ... At its heart, this is a serious story full of lightness.
RaveThe Washington Post... could be characterized as a series of war stories best enjoyed by journalists, past and present. This would be a disservice to history lovers who will relish his behind-the-scenes narratives of some of the world’s biggest stories during his 44 years at The Washington Post, including 17 years as executive editor until his forced retirement in 2008 ... a celebration of what strong journalism can accomplish. It is also a cautionary tale about what’s at stake if our financially imperiled profession does not find new ways to remain viable. Plus, it’s full of great gossip ... For all his seriousness, Downie slips in many gossipy asides.
PositiveThe Washington PostIn unsparing prose, Korda...never casts himself as a hero, but in his devotion, he was herculean ... By the end of the book, Margaret remains an enigma to readers and, to some extent, to her husband. He tries, with limited success, to give us glimpses of her inner life, while emphasizing what he viewed as her chameleon-like talents to please whomever was in the room or in the forefront of her life ... This is not a flattering portrait of the woman or the man celebrating her. One longs to know how she felt about this ... What he celebrates as her endearing quirks may be perceived by some as tiresome ... One gets the impression of a guarded woman, even with those closest to her. If this ever bothered Korda, he keeps it to himself ... he becomes the voice for so many caregivers, and the inherent isolation and loneliness, the second-guessing that remains long after death ... A tic in Korda’s writing: He refers repeatedly to his privileged childhood, which comes off as unconscious boasting ... My concern is that this snobbery could put off readers who might benefit from Korda’s wisdom but conclude they have little in common with him. I urge such readers to stick with him, because quite the opposite ends up being true. Anyone who has ever cared for a loved one at the end of life will identify with Korda’s escalating feelings of despair and uselessness as he tries to save his wife from a disease with no rescue.
PositiveThe Washington Post... slender, often bold ... In some ways, this is not the typical memoir of a so-called political wife, which was also true of the blockbuster memoir by former first lady Michelle Obama ... Such memoirs are good news for those of us who’ve always known that women married to politicians are more complex than the stereotypes of political coverage and bad fiction ... She never mentions her husband’s decision to run for president this time or how she might feel about it. Perhaps the book went to press before she sorted out her thoughts about that. In the wake of her son’s death, she is a different mother, a different political spouse. Perhaps there is no explaining this time.
PositiveThe Washington Post\"...crackles with blunt, often searing observations about politics, race and gender in America ... She is unsparing in her criticism of her husband’s successor, and she takes aim at Trump’s racist rhetoric and his years of falsely insisting that Barack was not born in the United States ... Throughout Becoming, Obama strikes an impressive balance in telling the truth of her challenges while repeatedly acknowledging her lucky life .\
Michael D'Antonio and Peter Eisner
PositiveWashington PostThe Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence is a deeply reported book, with 23 pages of footnotes. The narrative begins as a tale of a \'nice\' Catholic boy with a \'tender heart\' from the folksy Midwest: \'His personality set point was toasty warm,\' write D’Antonio and Eisner. Then, after losing his first race for Congress in 1988, Pence not so gradually becomes a cunning, self-righteous, self-lauding extremist ... The opening salvo of the new book by journalists Michael D’Antonio and Peter Eisner makes clear their reason for writing it: \'With his oath of office, Vice President Pence became...the most successful Christian supremacist in American history.\' And, the authors argue, in pursuit of his lifelong ambition to become president of the United States, Mike Pence has abandoned the values he claims to hold dear.