MixedSlate\"... one of those books that’s almost too timely. Its long-range predictions already feel out of date ... The first part of Divided We Fall is a very familiar overview of current trends in partisan polarization ... An even more familiar litany of alleged perpetrators...are trotted out as French decries the vitriol and winner-takes-all spirit that have taken over our democracy. Given the party identification of the White House’s current occupant, and which side is perpetrating the vast majority of political violence in the country today, it seems to me that French is reaching a bit to make both sides seem equally responsible for this state of affairs. Then again, according to his schema, I would think that, so it’s worth just conceding the point to get to the more provocative part of the book, which imagines the end result of these trends ... What’s odd about French’s scenarios is that it’s a little hard to tell why he thinks they’re a bad thing ... It’s on the question of civil rights where French’s otherwise scrupulous neutrality starts to break down ... French doesn’t acknowledge environmental issues at all except to sneer at plastic straw bans ... while Americans are too entangled at this point for either formal secession or French’s federalist soft partition, it’s very possible for us to share the same physical space while increasingly living in very different countries.
RaveSlateAmid the flood of memoirs from Obama administration veterans, Powers’ stands out as worth reading. For starters, she’s a better writer than a lot of them—she was a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author long before she got into government. She’s also done more that’s worth reading about. Like the best journalists, Power has a gift for finding the perfect anecdote to illustrate a larger idea or theme, and this is the rare political memoir where you definitely shouldn’t skim the \'early years\' chapters ... Powers writes movingly ... Also fascinating is Power’s account of her unlikely friendship with her Russian counterpart at the U.N., the late Vitaly Churkin ... She certainly did learn something.