A memorable account of a life of public service.

A former U.S. Capitol Police officer recounts the events of January 6, 2021, in the context of his life as an immigrant.

Gonell, writes Jamie Raskin in the preface, is “Trump’s absolute opposite in nearly every respect.” The author lifted himself up from poverty, joined the U.S. Army and served in Iraq, put himself through college, and stood by the Constitution in the course of doing his job. Sadly, it’s hardly surprising that, “of the 265 elected Republicans in Congress, [Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger] were the only two who ever thanked me” for standing against the mob on that fateful day. Indeed, writes Gonell, the combat that he saw on January 6 was far more violent than anything he experienced in Iraq, and the damages he sustained required him to retire early, “one of the 20 percent of Capitol Police officers who wound up leaving as a direct result of the attacks.” As an up-close view of that combat, Gonell’s account both squares with and complements that of Michael Fanone’s Hold the Line and Harry Dunn’s Standing My Ground. It also resounds with the same righteous anger, for Gonell was one of the first officers to speak before Congress and to the public about the attempted coup. As he notes, bitterly, “Despite the courageous [January 6] Committee’s recommendation to prosecute Trump, as of this writing, not one person responsible for planning, instigating, or paying for January 6 has been arrested yet.” Legal matters are still unfolding, and one hopes that Gonell’s sacrifice will not have been in vain. Among the book’s many revelations is that the police were forbidden to use rifles against the “civil disturbances” and that well into the mêlée, senior officers remained certain that Black Lives Matter and Antifa were “our real enemies.”

A memorable account of a life of public service.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9781640096288

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: Sept. 5, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023



Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020


A heartwarming and inspiring story for animal lovers.

The third volume in the Elephant Whisperer series.

In this follow-up to An Elephant in My Kitchen, Malby-Anthony continues her loving portrait of the Thula Thula wildlife reserve, which she co-founded in 1998 with her late husband, South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony, who published the first book in the series, The Elephant Whisperer, in 2009. Following his death in 2012, Malby-Anthony sought to honor his legacy by continuing his vision “to create a massive conservancy in Zululand, incorporating our land and other small farms and community land into one great big game park.” At the same time, the elephants gave her “a sense of purpose and direction.” In the Zulu language, thula means quiet, and though the author consistently seeks to provide that calm to her charges, peace and tranquility are not always easy to come by at Thula Thula. In this installment, Malby-Anthony discusses many of the challenges faced by her and her staff, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. These included an aggressive, 2-ton rhino named Thabo; the profound loss felt by all upon the death of their elephant matriarch, Frankie; difficulty obtaining permits and the related risk of having to relocate or cull some of their animals; the fear of looting and fire due to civil unrest in the region; and the ongoing and potentially deadly struggles with poachers. Throughout, the author also shares many warm, lighthearted moments, demonstrating the deep bond felt among the humans and animals at the reserve and the powerful effects of the kindness of strangers. “We are all working in unity for the greater good, for the betterment of Thula Thula and all our wildlife….We are humbled by the generosity and love, both from our guests and friends, and from strangers all around the world,” writes the author. “People’s open-hearted support kept us alive in the darkest times.”

A heartwarming and inspiring story for animal lovers.

Pub Date: April 25, 2023

ISBN: 9781250284259

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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