... a keenly observant narrative, albeit an entirely sympathetic one ... At the center of [Freedlander's] story is Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who may need no introduction but still might blush to read this glowing portrayal by a reporter who lives in her New York City district and appears to have interviewed only people who share his sentiments ... On occasion, Freedlander’s terms of acclaim are reminiscent of how film magazines used to gush over Hollywood stars ... Fortunately, Freedlander looks away long enough to offer a vivid report on the growing leftist infrastructure for which A.O.C.’s election in 2018 was merely one step on the anticipated road to a party and, perhaps, a nation transformed ... Freedlander’s book is informative as an in-house account, yet it fails to take on the difficult but inescapable question of how the 'A.O.C. generation' might actually “seize” power and 'rewrite the rules'.
In part because Freedlander is focusing on disappointed Sanders supporters, much of the book focuses on white male activists, with Ocasio-Cortez as the notable exception. However, this book does offer thoughtful insight into a much-maligned branch of liberal thought, and it will appeal to politically inclined readers hoping for change.
Milestones from Ocasio-Cortez’s college years, including her father’s death when she was 19 and her junior year in Niger, where she worked on maternal health-care issues, shed light on her personal motivations and political acumen, but the book’s strength lies in the attention Freedlander pays to lesser-known figures and movements ... Progressive political junkies will relish this deep dive into the forces behind Ocasio-Cortez’s turn in the spotlight.