A courageous and well-informed piece of journalism.



The Paris correspondent for a leading Brazilian newspaper recounts his experience covering the Libyan revolution.

During the eight-month conflict that deposed Muammar Gaddafi (1942-2011), 32 journalists were imprisoned, 15 kidnapped, 30 expelled and 11 killed. Measured against these sobering statistics, Netto counts his own eight-day imprisonment as trifling. Still, the pages devoted to his isolation in one of Gaddafi’s jail cells powerfully convey the desperate uncertainties engendered by a lawless regime under which the whim of the dictator controlled the country for more than 40 years. Trying to follow up conflicting reports coming out of Libya about a possible rebellion and after numerous frustrated attempts to cross the Tunisian border, Netto entered the country illegally. Betrayed by one of his rebel escorts, he ended up in the hands of loyalists torn between their contempt for journalists and their need to appear unflustered by the revolt. Once released and deported, Netto made it back to Libya months later, in time to report on the fall of Tripoli and the capture and killing of Gaddafi, “the Osama bin Laden of the 1980s.” Given the sudden and frightening interruption of his mission, it’s not surprising that those portions of his narrative recounting the various international responses to the Libyan crisis, crucial as they proved for the insurgency’s eventual success, lack the punch of his on-the-scene reporting. Nevertheless, whenever and wherever he’s on the ground in Libya, Netto delivers some first-rate reporting, including interviews of various rebel fighters and eyewitness accounts of horrific scenes no doubt the result of rebel-committed war crimes. He also manages to expose another of the Gaddafi regime’s many lies: He confirms that Hana, the tyrant’s daughter, long thought killed by a 1986 Reagan-ordered air strike, has been alive and working as a doctor and hospital administrator all this time. Notwithstanding the current political chaos in Libya, Netto concludes with some hopeful words about the country’s future.

A courageous and well-informed piece of journalism.

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-137-27912-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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