RaveLibrary JournalMalik invites readers to analyze the media environment and political and cultural landscape of the early 21st century, with a keen, critical eye ... The author is excellent at revealing the oversimplification and outright falsehoods used by the myths’ greatest advocates and explaining how opportunists have successfully used these myths to promote harmful politicians and policies. There are detailed sections about the Me Too movement and the use of male power to subordinate women, along with a history of how myths can consume their believers. This volume is worth reading and rereading; dense with information and arguments, it has so much to unpack and demands active engagement from its readers ... Readers seeking a high-level analysis of political discourse will most appreciate Malik’s work, and it would make an excellent addition to college syllabi and library shelves.
MixedLibrary JournalPham’s memoir is about many things—art and relationships, travel and self-awareness. However, while it touches on a variety of compelling subjects, it does so in a jumbled way that sometimes makes for a chaotic read ... Pham writes with a great deal of passion, which is one of the work’s strengths. However, the transitions can be jarring and often interrupt the flow of the book. Musings on art run throughout, but again without much structure. There are few narrative clues to guide readers and keep their attention. While individual sections of the book are interesting and memorable, the complete picture isn’t as gratifying ... Though it doesn’t always come together as a whole, Pham’s work features a promising voice. Readers with a strong interest in the visual arts will likely get the most out of this book, especially where Pham writes about finding meaning in the work of artists like Agnes Martin and James Turrell; and Gen Z and younger millennial readers might find Pham’s experiences and relationship dynamics to be particularly relatable.
Mazie K. Hirono
RaveLibrary JournalHirono has written one of the finest political memoirs in the history of the genre ... One of the book\'s greatest strengths is the author\'s ability to consistently connect the experiences of her formative years with her political drive and perspective. The book also embraces the setting of ... readers will find that her voice is as strong in her memoir as it was on the Senate floor ... Hirono offers an astoundingly compelling glance into U.S. politics, and also provides an honest look at how much grit it takes for people from less privileged backgrounds to make it in American politics and make a difference in their community. A must-read that demands a broad audience.
PositiveLibrary Journal... surprisingly engaging and accessible, despite its dense, complicated topic. She presents the human impact of antitrust issues ... While journalists often speak about the need for tax reform to address income inequality, Klobuchar deftly argues that tackling America\'s anticompetitive business atmosphere is just as important to improving citizens’ lives. The second half of the book lays out a sensible road map with concrete policy strategies and priorities, representing the kind of pragmatic action the senator is known for. Occasional images and charts help to clarify details of antitrust legislation ... Even readers with only minimal knowledge of American business or the economy will be able to follow Klobuchar’s analysis of anticompetitive business practices, and they may be surprised by how engaging the topic can be. A must for every public and academic library.
PositiveLibrary JournalMany of the pieces in this collection are memorable portraits of artists, writers, and musicians that emphasize their eccentricities, charisma, and legacies. Kushner’s own voice is always present, but those essays that most directly address her personal experiences feel the most alive. Kushner shares her stories in a way that manages to be personal but not self-serving ... The final essay is also a standout, full of reflections on Kushner’s upbringing in San Francisco and the people and changes she encountered there ... There is a great deal of variety and personality in this essay collection, especially for readers with an eye for art, music, and literature. Those who enjoy Kushner’s novels will gravitate to this collection, and readers new to the author’s writing will be drawn in as well.
RaveLibrary JournalSenator Duckworth’s memoir is a compelling and engrossing narrative that invites readers into her fascinating life ... Written with a consistently compassionate and honest voice, this book will appeal to a variety of people. Duckworth writes with the aim of sharing her authentic self, and she succeeds. This is one of the most approachable and inspiring political memoirs to date ... An excellent work that will allow readers to get to know one of today’s most unique political voices. Readers from a wide range of backgrounds will find something to relate to in Duckworth’s story.
PositiveLibrary Journal... an exceptionally vivid memoir that deftly explores the complex relationships between culture and family, mothers and daughters. The details of Zauner’s mother’s illness and death, as well as their devastating impact on the author, make for gut-wrenching reading, but it’s hard to put this book down. The author holds nothing back as she navigates her adolescent search to understand her identity, made more complex by her biracial background. She’s particularly open about her evolving relationship with her mother ... The details and cultural references here are particular to Zauner’s life, but her account contains so many all-too-common experiences of grief and endurance that it will resonate with just about everyone ... Zauner has created a memoir that is distinctly her own, but it will leave a mark on anyone who reads it.
Anna Malaika Tubbs
PositiveLibrary JournalTubbs begins this biography of three remarkable women by stating her intention to honor the subjects as accomplished and inspiring people in their own right, not only as mothers of famous men, and follows through beautifully on this promise ... The author writes with great respect and provides just the right amount of information to leave readers with an understanding of their complicated lives, shaped by the devastating racism of early 20th-century America but full of love and independence. The narrative makes clear that each woman made possible the accomplishments of her famous child with her own resilience, determination, and activism ... This compassionate book skillfully introduces three people who have had an important impact on the world but whose lives receive little attention. Readers will complete the book feeling their time was well spent.
PositiveLibrary Journal... engrossing, memorable, and delightful ... remarkably consistent and relevant throughout ... All are written with sincerity and with Didion’s powerful sense of astute observation, as she describes her influences, worries, and occasionally fears. Readers can judge for themselves their own standout essay from the collection, but surely Why I Write will be a strong contender. Several pieces in this volume attend to the craft and purpose of writing, and in this one especially Didion candidly shows her devotion to writing and explains her own place and purpose as a writer ... This volume could be read in one sitting or one vignette at a time, as Didion’s perceptive voice connects the essays beautifully, but each one can stand equally well on its own terms. For both fans of Didion and those new to her work entirely, this collection is an essential investment.
RaveLibrary Journal... comprehensive and richly told ... Synthesizing a treasure trove of Rich’s letters, journals, testimonials, and published writings to chronicle a complicated and impactful life, Holladay takes readers through Rich’s unorthodox and at times turbulent upbringing, her early years of professional and academic success at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, her frustrations as a mother of three young sons with a demanding family life, and her later years as a prominent feminist activist and writer in New York and California. Holladay shows Rich’s relevance today through mining meaning from her poems, which reflect both an earlier time as well as our current political moment, and help to tell the story of her life, which Holladay interprets through events happening to the poet at the time she was writing certain poems ... Exceptionally well-researched and detailed, this is a definitive portrait of Rich that will be welcomed by aspiring writers and poets, Rich scholars, and devotees of 20th-century American poetry.
MixedLibrary JournalLorr offers a stark perspective ... Lorr succeeds in raising awareness of the people who make our food systems possible and the conditions in which they live and work. Yet the stories do not always effectively cohere to create a well-rounded narrative.
L. Annette Binder
PositiveWashington Independent Review of BooksAt a moment when American readers uneasily watch our own leaders stoke ethnic and religious tensions—often to tragic ends—in a way that we have not quite seen before in our lifetimes, the Hubers’ story feels particularly revelatory. Binder is a deft writer with a gift for choosing vocabulary that elevates the observations of normal people into carefully rendered art ... The Vanishing Sky tells a tragic story, but it also serves as a meditation on tragedy and the everyday cruelty by which tragedy is so often begotten ... Some of the book’s most poignant insights into the human capacity for evil come through the scarce passages narrated from Josef’s perspective, which reveal how his childlike desire for respect and belonging contribute to the confused old schoolmaster’s embrace of Nazi ideology—to the great detriment of his family. Despite its many strengths, The Vanishing Sky ends on a relatively weak note ... Nevertheless, The Vanishing Sky is a moving and worthwhile read, albeit not a happy one. The novel is artfully written, and Binder’s insights into extreme nationalism make it particularly relevant today.
RaveLibrary JournalMany events will be familiar to even casual observers of American culture...but Mifflin situates these events in the pageant’s historical context, allowing for a better understanding of their cultural impact. While deftly commenting on the racism and sexism that have characterized the pageant’s history, she also makes space for the contestants to speak openly for themselves about their own experiences, something pageants themselves are not known for ... This work offers a thought-provoking, balanced, and highly informative look at an institution that has perplexed and enticed Americans since its founding.
RaveLibrary Journal... candid, heartbreaking stories of real Tibetans who have lived through periods of great tumult in their homeland. The stories are beautifully rendered and walk readers through the events that shook Ngaba, a town in Tibet that became synonymous in the 21st century with tragic self-immolations, and is geographically a difficult place to visit. By showing how people’s individual lives unfolded and the hardships and dangers they endured, Demick sheds light on how Chinese oppression led many Tibetans to fight back, sacrificing their lives in the hopes of preserving their culture and their peoples’ right to freedom. Readers will be moved by the tragedies and triumphs of these unforgettable individuals and will develop a greater understanding of those who call the \'rooftop of the world\' their home ... Taking a compelling approach to documenting Ngaba’s history through the eyes of its own people, this wonderfully written book will leave readers with a stronger appreciation for why the movement to support the Tibetan people deserves so much more attention.
PositiveThe Washington Independent Review of BooksThe everyday challenges faced by Rachel, a main character in Leah Franqui’s second novel, Mother Land, may resonate with anyone who has spent considerable time in a new country or even in a new community ... Franqui, herself an American woman living in Mumbai with her Indian husband, takes a risk by alternating between Rachel’s perspective and Swati’s each time she starts a new chapter. This technique allows the author to illustrate the significant gap between Swati’s worldview and Rachel’s, though a reader who shares Swati’s Marwari heritage — and, to be clear, this reader does not — may not find all of Swati’s inner monologues entirely plausible ... The novel is a quick read, driven by a plot that will pique readers’ curiosity about how Rachel and Swati’s disagreements, large and small, will resolve ... Despite the inviting plot, however, some of the passages that describe Rachel’s and Swati’s thoughts and rumination drag, as they do not always serve to impart wisdom or advance the narrative. Still, Mother Land is a pleasant story of self-discovery and friendship with plenty of twists and intrigue to keep the reader engaged.
PositiveLibrary JournalCose’s book is an excellent choice for anyone seeking to understand the ACLU as an organization and for those wanting to explore how the fight for civil liberties has evolved and helped to shape the society we have today.
RaveLibrary JournalEven for avid readers of memoirs, Talusan’s...debut will stand out from the crowd, not only because of the author’s unique experiences, but also because she presents them with a rare, frank vulnerability ... in perhaps the most compelling part of the book, readers follow her journey and relationships after college, which ultimately led to her gender transition ... Gender, race, and sexuality are all foremost themes throughout the book, and it is a notable read for those particularly interested in these topics. However, Talusan’s account also offers an intensely personal example of how one’s relation to oneself changes over time, shaped by circumstances and personal choices, making it a compelling story for a wide variety of readers.
PositiveLibrary JournalAll of the stories are a delight to read. The author\'s contributions are engaging, though the book sometimes fails to fully explore the intersections of race, culture, sexuality, and other identities that make it more difficult for some women to succeed than others. The group of women included in the book is diverse, but the author\'s analysis occasionally feels narrow and ignores the many layers of the subjects\' lives and communities ... While an imperfect presentation, the book is an easy read and the extent of the author\'s research makes this book a worthwhile addition to the growing literature offering long overdue profiles of the world\'s most brilliant women.
PositiveLibrary JournalDetails are generally presented in a straightforward manner; likely, readers with a casual interest in U.S. history will learn something new about how the scandal unfolded. The epilog is an excellent addition, touching on the parallels between the Watergate investigation and the actions of Donald Trump during his time in office ... Though the storytelling is not always engaging, the author’s earnest desire to tell a story that matters is evident throughout. This insider’s perspective on the Watergate investigation will be most relevant to those who study politics, law, gender, and U.S. history.
MixedLibrary JournalMoore represents a white family of considerable privilege, a fact that is acknowledged in the text but still limits the perspective. Moore shares intimate glimpses of her family life and coming-of-age story, beautifully integrating excerpts from her mother’s writing among her own recollections and research. However, perhaps because it seeks to cover too much territory, the book sometimes struggles to remain engaging and at times gets bogged down by details. Overall, readers will catch the spirit of the story, but without a clear sense of the book’s purpose and what comes next ... Moore offers a rich exploration of an individual whose life and family were dramatically altered by second-wave feminism. However, the account struggles with the dual tasks of being both biography and memoir and takes on more than it can satisfyingly deliver.
PositiveLibrary JournalRarely does a parent share with such candid emotion their experience of losing a child as Dial does in his memoir, which begins with the author’s early life and passion for the outdoors, then explores how he shared that passion with his children ... Dial leaves no emotion unaddressed, sharing his grief, panic, guilt, fear, hope, confusion, and frustration throughout his long search for answers. While heartbreaking to read, Dial’s story is also a powerful testament to the bond between parent and child and the need to do the things we love, even when fear seeks to stop us ... Dial’s memoir is a beautiful book that will speak most ardently to parents, but also to adventurers, travelers, scientists, and all those who find joy in exploring the world.
PositiveLibrary JournalThe roles of fast food restaurants as employers, nutritional battlegrounds, sites of community activism, and charitable contributors are thoroughly explored, though at times the writing lacks narrative focus to tie together the details. The strongest chapters touch on the relationship between the civil rights movement and fast food, including sit-ins and boycotts, as well as the reasons some activists promoted franchising opportunities for black business leaders. The well-written conclusion emphasizes how today’s conversations around fast food in America were shaped by government policies, and examines how the fast-food industry is connected to Black Lives Matter and other social change movements ... The book sticks close to its focus of franchising McDonald’s restaurants among black communities in the 20th century, and covers the topic well. This niche subject may not have wide-ranging appeal, but the research is invaluable for those studying the intersections of race, economics, and business in the United States.
Cathy Park Hong
PositiveLibrary JournalPoet and essayist Hong’s family history beautifully details how her life and art have been shaped by her Korean American identity ... Every page is packed with details and reflections on the myriad ways that Americans’ lives are shaped by race. The author has a particular talent for bringing a moment to life, inviting readers to confront the raw emotions of a given scene. She does not shy away from complication or bluntness, but presents her truth with all its complexity ... An extraordinary blend of memoir, cultural criticism, and history that will invite readers from all backgrounds, though especially those who identify as Asian American, to consider the complex relationships between race, family, heritage, and society that shape American lives.
PositiveLibrary JournalGinsburg’s passages are powerful and enlightening, but what this book offers about Ginsberg’s personal history and judicial philosophy has largely been addressed in other books and interviews ... Libraries with patrons keenly interested in the Supreme Court, especially those serving law, political science, and American history students, will find this a compelling addition. For those eager to add a new resource on the Justice, this book provides a solid introduction to her life and thoughts on the American legal system.
PositiveLibrary Journal... beautifully written ... covers a wide range of topics while still creating a cohesive, thoughtful experience for readers ... Familiar subjects are presented in ways that compel readers to examine them with fresh perspective. Though the subject matter is vast, the author’s voice is consistently engaging throughout ... The wide-ranging scope of this excellent book, with a foreword by Zadie Smith, will appeal to a broad audience. Anyone with a desire to reflect on the role that racism plays in shaping individual lives and broader American culture will undoubtedly find this to be a valuable read.
MixedLibrary JournalMuch of the historical material is already covered by Stephen Jay Gould in The Mismeasure of Man, and readers familiar with that text will find a great deal of overlap. Evans includes some contemporary analysis of racial science in the present, particularly pertaining to the alt-right and the election of Donald Trump. However, more attention to the impact of race science on society, rather than a critical analysis of its methods, would do more to set this entry apart from Gould’s previous work ... An easy read for casual audiences. Those without much prior knowledge of the development of racial science and where it stands today will find this to be a thorough historical introduction.