PositiveThe Washington Post\"In Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist, journalist Eli Saslow charts Black’s conversion from a right-wing extremist to a high-profile critic of the movement ... For me, it was at times unclear what specific circumstances and conversations prompted his dramatic about-face ... Rising Out of Hatred is a disturbing look at the spread of that extremism — and how it is planted and cultivated in the fertile soil of American bigotry. And yet, Saslow’s vivid storytelling also conveys that during this period of deepening racial division, there is the possibility of redemption.\
PositiveThe Washington PostThe optimistic, breezy title could easily be dismissed as wishful thinking. However, Rauch’s rosy projection is based less on new-age optimism than a review of a series of multi-country, big-data studies on happiness conducted over the past few decades ... The U-curve, Rauch cautions, \'is not an inevitability; it’s a tendency.\' But it’s a tendency that drives the 218 pages of text, which become somewhat redundant once the curve is substantially established ... The strength of the book, then, is less the personal anecdotes than what appears to be overwhelming evidence of a happiness curve after 50 that could inspire a societal reassessment of later-life planning ... Rauch offers a fresh and reassuring vision of aging that supersedes superficial fixations.
RaveThe Washington PostThis paradox lies at the heart of The Three Lives of James Madison, by Harvard law professor Noah Feldman, who charts Madison’s life as the 'father of the Constitution,' a political partisan, and ultimately a statesman in his roles as secretary of state and president. Throughout his lengthy book, Feldman maps Madison’s evolution from a bookish and idealistic social theorist to a pragmatic political operative who fully recognized the immorality of slavery and the humanity of the enslaved but proceeded, out of the economic interests of his class, to stamp it into the nation’s DNA ...Feldman goes further than many other scholars to insert slaves into the narrative, at times providing their names, circumstances and movements as he assiduously traces Madison’s evolving ideas about the political system he created and the institution that forever stained its legacy ... The Three Lives of James Madison widens the window on the character and outsize vision of Madison and the men who founded America.
RaveThe Washington Post...Gordon tells this illuminating and timely tale with meticulous research ... Gordon catalogues the many contradictions, the hypocrisy and the shady but effective strategies that strikingly mirror the playbook of some in the conservative movement today ... Part cautionary tale, part exposé, “The Second Coming of the KKK” illustrates how a potent and unyielding undercurrent in American life was methodically aroused and unleashed. By following a thread that courses through history, Gordon reveals why a dangerous movement, disdained and underestimated by some intellectual elites, powerfully appealed to a wide swath of white America.
PositiveThe Washington Post...vividly exposes how gentrification, followed by rising housing costs, concentrated affluence and glaring inequality, has pushed the displaced into deteriorating suburbs far from mass transit, employment, services and decent schools ... The New Urban Crisis is nuanced and proposes solutions, including more clustering in suburbs to spark innovation, the creation of 'refugee cities' for the displaced and international development policies that prioritize strategic investments in urban schools and neighborhoods. However, some may view Florida’s fresh round of prescriptions with skepticism, given his prominent role in promoting many of the policies that created the very crisis cities now face.
John Edgar Wideman
RaveThe Washington PostAt times melancholy, at others raw and rippling with rage, Wideman masterfully weaves together memory, history and archival documents with letters and conversations he imagines to capture the cruel irony of the Tills’ fate ... his haunting, provocative and inspired work nobly restores Louis Till’s plundered humanity while exposing the thread that holds centuries of seemingly isolated episodes together.
RaveThe San Francisco Chronicle[Coates] makes no apologies for his wrath, nor does he limit his critique to injustice against blacks; the capacity for plunder — of women, members of the LGBT community, children and other marginalized people — is universally shared. But Coates reserves his harshest admonishment for the Dreamers — those Americans who coast in a gauzy state of denial, historical amnesia and indifference — as if nature, and not man, account for the racial chasm; and as if America’s sins were negligible and unrelated to the present ... Poignant, revelatory and exceedingly wise, Between the World and Me is an essential clarion call to our collective conscience. We ignore it at our own peril.
Eddie S. Glaude Jr.
PositiveThe Washington PostWhile Glaude’s advice is primarily aimed at black Americans, others may find inspiration in his call for moral movements that challenge not only racial injustice but also the loss of livable wages, the widening gap between the rich and the rest and a bankrupt political system that represents fewer of us.