RaveNPRAltogether, Believing is an elegant, impassioned demand that America see gender-based violence as a cultural and structural problem that hurts everyone, not just victims and survivors ... expansive and all-encompassing ... It\'s at times downright virtuosic in the threads it weaves together. Few books out there marry Supreme Court decisions and legal analysis with references to the Netflix series Big Mouth ... But more importantly, it makes the case that as a problem, gender-based violence is almost unimaginably big, inextricably tied to other areas of discrimination and oppression, like racism and transphobia ... So dizzying is Believing that readers may need to concentrate closely to read it; on a few occasions, Hill would mention a court case she had first explained a few pages back, forcing me to flip backwards to refresh my memory. (To be honest, this is one of the few flaws I can pull out of this book) ... Though it brings together plenty of history and legal decisions, Believing is not a dense or legalistic tome. Its just-over-300-pages are straightforwardly written. In fact, over and over again, the book blows your hair back with its blunt assertions about the problem of misogyny in America ... Any given reader may easily disagree with any number of Hill\'s trenchant observations. On the other hand, there\'s no mush here. You might not agree with Hill that gender-based violence is as pervasive as she says. But then, you also leave the book thinking that few others could make the case as sharply as she does.
MixedThe Washington PostIt’s a very Washington-centric book in that way, and also, er, centrist-centric — there’s a lot more about center-left Dems like Spanberger and Tanden than there is about the Squad ... Readers will see much that is familiar in here. Some of the quotes are new, from Rubin’s copious interviews, but the stories are not. They were all well-reported at the time. A reader who paid reasonably close attention to the news during the Trump presidency might find little to recommend Resistance ... Rubin, being a columnist, does intersperse some opinion and analysis into her storytelling. She does not hide that she’s a fan of Amy Klobuchar and a major Harris stan. And to put it mildly, some readers will chafe at Rubin’s weaker takes ... is, however, chiefly a chronicle, which means its chief virtue is how it ticks through, one after another, the many times women flexed their political power during the Trump presidency. It’s easy to imagine a reader being reminded of all the stories she might have forgotten and punching the air (nearly knocking over her \'Nasty Woman\' coffee mug in the process). Seeing all these instances strung together could, for a reader in the #resistance, be a downright joyful experience ... And yet, in reading about women saving democracy from Trump (as Rubin puts it in her subtitle), that \'nasty woman\' might start to wonder: Wait. Why did women have to save democracy? What created the conditions that allowed President Trump to happen? And why was it women who did the saving? By virtue of being a chronicle, Resistance continually raises the question of why resistance was necessary, a question that Rubin never probes deeply ... also, incongruously, includes women who quite pointedly did not resist ... This may illuminate one thing it means for all of these nasty, persistent women to have gotten involved in politics. Perhaps they did save democracy from Trump. But now, many have dusted themselves off and gotten right back to organizing. For these women, there might be more to save than democracy, and more villains than Trump.
MixedNPRWarren was (and is) a storyteller. Her campaign speeches were a series of one-two punches: stories that got people right in their feels — and then policy prescriptions [...] This is precisely what Persist is. It\'s a series of stories, then plans. It\'s campaign-trail Warren, in book form ... However, her storytelling — so electrifying in person — is flattened on the page. For those who don\'t subscribe to her progressive politics, Persist will almost certainly be too didactic. Though it just might delight those who revel in her unique mix of down-to-earth-ness and policy expertise. Unless, that is, those fans want score-settling. Persist is not primarily a 2020 campaign recap ... So it may be the book of a candidate still aiming for a higher office. And — or — it also just might be that Warren simply sees herself a public servant, trying to get her plans passed.
PositiveThe Washington PostThe Ones We’ve Been Waiting For is an exploration, not a treatise ... But she’s nevertheless attempting a massive undertaking: covering a list of generation-shaping news events, any one of which could merit a book of its own, with 10 central characters, via multiple storytelling formats. There are 10,000-foot overviews of cultural forces, segments spent tightly at the side of one of her millennial protagonists and brief interludes about particular, disastrous events ... often feels like it’s trying to take on too much ... The book is at its best when it tells stories through the eyes of Alter’s millennial politicians ... These stories are all buoyed by Alter’s sharp writing and engaging voice. She is by turns sarcastic, funny and sincere, but always conversational; you get the sense that she has absorbed and is mirroring back to you how her characters talk ... But when Alter strays from the particular, she loses some of that sharpness. Often, she leaves her cast of millennials to summarize major events or phenomena. In the process, she makes broad statements that whisk by before you can digest what she’s saying ... Alter’s book will come as a tonic to millennials who have grown weary of boomers’ well-worn complaints about them. That’s because The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For takes millennials seriously — and likewise takes seriously older generations’ responsibility for millennial woes, such as economic insecurity.
PositiveNPRThe book builds its social commentary on gender and power into a plot-driven page turner about these women\'s machinations as they deal with their stifling circumstances ... As with The Handmaid\'s Tale, The Testaments contains a lot of gut punches ... And a lot of the time, it\'s women administering these gut punches to each other. Despite the awful men everywhere, one of the main themes The Testaments explores is how women hurt one another ... This Gilead isn\'t — and can\'t possibly be — as fresh and mind-blowing as it was to readers in 1985, but the sheer novelty of this expanded view allows her world to continue to surprise us ... Even if this Lydia is a great narrator, there is also a gaping hole: Atwood never makes it totally clear why Aunt Lydia does what she does ... The headstrong Daisy and sheltered Agnes pale in comparison with Lydia. Their voices are largely indistinguishable, and especially in Daisy\'s case, it becomes clear that Atwood hasn\'t quite mastered the art of speaking as a sulky teenage girl ... Atwood remains an unsentimental writer ... The Testaments might punch you in the gut, but it doesn\'t quite pull at your heartstrings ... Many readers will also spot the big reveals coming far before they arrive ... Testaments is more than 400 pages, but a fast and even thrilling more-than-400 pages. The joy of the book isn\'t in the plot twists but in seeing these women hammer away at the foundations of Gilead.
MixedThe Washington PostThis is not a book with an overarching thesis; instead, Hirshman weaves together a story of how harassment became A Thing and how society reached its recent #MeToo tipping point. Reckoning is at its most satisfying when Hirshman tells stories that 2019 readers might not know, like the early, trailblazing cases brought by women of color that set the stage for the harassment battles of the 1980s, ’90s and beyond. These sections let one see how the same people, ideas and roadblocks pop up decade after decade ... Hirshman is clearly in command of the material, giving concise explanations of complicated court cases. It’s the kind of command that allows her to be conversational, even casual — for better and for worse. Mixed liberally throughout are irony-dripping jokes, acid asides and grand pronouncements. I found myself imagining Hirshman standing before a fireplace in a mahogany-and-leather-filled study, dictating her book into a recorder, gesturing grandly, Scotch in hand ... Hirshman as a narrator needs to be taken with a shaker or two of salt. On the one hand, it can be quite charming when she gives you a conspiratorial nudge and lets you know exactly what she thinks of a particular court ruling. On the other, that kind of nudging means that Hirshman is not writing a detached, analytical view of history. She is clearly biased toward — or against — many of the figures she writes about ... Hirshman’s penchant for big statements also damages her credibility.
Ed. by Michele Filgate
PositiveNPR...my best answer to the question of whether you should gift this to your mom is, \'Sure, if you don\'t mind having some uncomfortable conversations.\' That\'s not an insult, by any means ... Chicken Soup for the Soul this ain\'t. There\'s a lot of pain in this book — ranging from the simple yearning to know Mom better to the trauma of abuse and addiction — and the tales come from a diverse, accomplished array of writers ... Reading the book is to take the sacred mother-child ideal down from its pedestal and inspect it, dissect it, run tests on it, muck it up a bit ... it\'s also about the gut punch that happens when some children are forced to legitimately wonder just how good their mothers\' intentions ever were ... As it turns out, in a relationship where love is so often implied, so much else still needs saying.
MixedNPRAs with many campaign books, The Truths We Hold reads as a memoir-but-not-really. Harris does tell her life story, but she uses it as a vehicle for telling us what she really wants us to know about her ... It\'s not quite that the bar is lowered with the campaign book. It\'s perhaps more accurate to say that the bar is replaced with a series of hoops. In her opening argument for 2020, Harris jumps through them.
MixedNPR\"The first part of her book, and particularly the sections about her childhood and college years, is where Michelle Obama\'s writing shines brightest ... In other words, this is one of those rare political books with truly excellent writing. Unfortunately, crafter-of-immaculate-prose isn\'t Obama\'s only mode. Whether due to years in the political sphere or earnest concerns about American society, she often gets didactic, even social-science-y, in even basic descriptions of her life ... There\'s more warmth and authenticity in this book than your average political memoir, but some of the magic dims in the third section of the book ... The question is how miffed to get about this. On the one hand, Michelle Obama, like any former first lady, doesn\'t owe us any juicy details about her life. On the other hand, she is writing a memoir here...\
RaveNPR\"And Traister is trying to do a lot in her 250 pages. She writes in the introduction that her goal is to explore \'the specific nexus of women\'s anger and American politics, about how the particular dissatisfactions and resentments of America\'s women have often ignited movements for social change and progress.\' But there\'s much more here than that. She also illustrates the many ways that American society shuns angry women, convincing them that their rage is impolite, unattractive, or even unhealthy. This point is made over and over, but it doesn\'t get repetitive or tiresome, so much as that it hammers home just how pervasive the phenomenon is ... In covering all that ground, she has done her research — the book is thick with citations of other books, as well as interviews with candidates, activists, and longtime politicians. ... [Traister\'s] essays are impressively crafted, and it\'s a testament to Traister\'s talent that it\'s easy to shrug and continue reading in the maelstrom of history she brings together. Even if you occasionally lose the thread, Traister excels at consistently throwing out insights that are so clean that they seem like you had them in your head in the first place.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
MixedNPR...ultimately, it reads like a book she had to write, audience be damned — a book written out of exasperation. If Trump's combative inauguration speech was 'a howl from the white nationalist gut,' as Clinton puts it, her book is a howl from the gut of Hermione Granger — the embattled cry of the hyper-competent woman who desperately wishes the world were a meritocracy ... The revelations aren't the behind-the-scenes kind so much as the in-Hillary's-head kind. Those wondering how she got through those hours and days after the election get their answers ... Clinton parcels out responsibility, and she is exacting in her accounting. The result is a study in contrasts: She heaps praise on some people, which makes it that much more meaningful when she lambastes others ... The writing in What Happened is engaging — Clinton is charming and even funny at times, without trying to paint herself in too flattering of a light. While she presents herself as even-keeled and intelligent, she also comes off as hectoring and bookish.
PanNPR...one could have figured most of this out from any number of motivational speeches or career coaches. Often, the melange of quotes and how-to lists give the book more the aesthetic of a Pinterest board than a career guide ... Trump's book ends with a list of recommended books, websites and TED Talks (Trump appears to be a TED aficionado, listing at least two per chapter), pointing readers to places where they could presumably find more depth on any of the topics she touched upon.