Highly difficult to read in one sitting, but we must not look away.

IF I DON'T MAKE IT, I LOVE YOU

SURVIVORS IN THE AFTERMATH OF SCHOOL SHOOTINGS

Agonizing accounts of school shootings, amply showing that “you don’t have to be a combat veteran to be exposed to violent trauma in America.”

Co-editors Archer (Fat Girl, Skinny, 2016) and Kleinman (The Dark Cave Between My Ribs, 2014) gather all manner of writing—firsthand accounts, remembrances, interviews, even cartoons—about school shootings in the U.S. dating back to 1966. The result is an important and horrifyingly thick anthology of mass murders that have occurred at elementary, middle, and high schools as well as colleges. For each of the 21 tragedies, one of the editors contributes an introduction, mentions the perpetrators, lists the names of the murdered individuals, and then shares one or more anguished contributions by those directly affected. Eternal optimists may view the anthology as a testament to human resilience; more pessimistic readers will see it as a necessarily searing indictment of the never-ending lethal gun culture in the U.S. Whatever the reader’s disposition, the accumulated impact makes for powerful, painful reading. Some of the massacres will be well remembered by most readers—e.g., Parkland, Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, and Columbine—while others may have been forgotten. The co-editors present the events in reverse chronological order, which means the final chapter is set at the University of Texas on Aug. 1, 1966, when Charles Whitman fired bullets from a campus tower, murdering 15 students, staff, tower visitors, and first responders. The final section, “Coordinating Trauma,” offers glimpses of hope, as “activists and survivor coordinators recount their paths to supporting survivors in the aftermath of school shootings.” Taken together, the pieces in this often heartbreaking collection make clear that policymakers reacting to each slaughter with “thoughts and prayers” will never suffice.

Highly difficult to read in one sitting, but we must not look away.

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5107-4649-7

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A forceful, necessarily provocative call to action for the preservation and protection of American Jewish freedom.

HOW TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM

Known for her often contentious perspectives, New York Times opinion writer Weiss battles societal Jewish intolerance through lucid prose and a linear playbook of remedies.

While she was vividly aware of anti-Semitism throughout her life, the reality of the problem hit home when an active shooter stormed a Pittsburgh synagogue where her family regularly met for morning services and where she became a bat mitzvah years earlier. The massacre that ensued there further spurred her outrage and passionate activism. She writes that European Jews face a three-pronged threat in contemporary society, where physical, moral, and political fears of mounting violence are putting their general safety in jeopardy. She believes that Americans live in an era when “the lunatic fringe has gone mainstream” and Jews have been forced to become “a people apart.” With palpable frustration, she adroitly assesses the origins of anti-Semitism and how its prevalence is increasing through more discreet portals such as internet self-radicalization. Furthermore, the erosion of civility and tolerance and the demonization of minorities continue via the “casual racism” of political figures like Donald Trump. Following densely political discourses on Zionism and radical Islam, the author offers a list of bullet-point solutions focused on using behavioral and personal action items—individual accountability, active involvement, building community, loving neighbors, etc.—to help stem the tide of anti-Semitism. Weiss sounds a clarion call to Jewish readers who share her growing angst as well as non-Jewish Americans who wish to arm themselves with the knowledge and intellectual tools to combat marginalization and defuse and disavow trends of dehumanizing behavior. “Call it out,” she writes. “Especially when it’s hard.” At the core of the text is the author’s concern for the health and safety of American citizens, and she encourages anyone “who loves freedom and seeks to protect it” to join with her in vigorous activism.

A forceful, necessarily provocative call to action for the preservation and protection of American Jewish freedom.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-593-13605-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2019

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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