Featuring the use of new archives, a highly regarded historian offers a significant reappraisal.

READ REVIEW

DOUGLAS MACARTHUR

AMERICAN WARRIOR

A freshly critical life of the great American general, whose “spectacular successes were always haunted by his equally spectacular failures.”

Like Napoleon, Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) still inspires countless biographies, so it’s hard to say why we need another after excellent works by William Manchester, Geoffrey Perret, and Mark Perry—except perhaps to set the record straight. Accomplished historian and Hudson Institute senior fellow Herman (The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization, 2013, etc.) sets out to do just that, arguing that MacArthur, like Napoleon, was an original, and though he was deemed arrogant, vain, and imperious, he had “an epic breadth” to his military career like no other. Moreover, though President Harry Truman dismissed him for insubordination over his criticism of policy in the Korean War, the general was carrying out that policy while publicly (and rightly) questioning the efficacy of America’s strategy there. Herman asserts that in order to get past MacArthur the legend, readers must delve into three important aspects of his life: his relationship with his father, Arthur MacArthur, the Mexican War hero and military governor of the Philippines, whose standards of duty and excellence the son emulated his whole life; his tie to his strong-willed, adoring mother, who helped shape his early goals starting at West Point and informed his other relationships with women; and his skill as a military strategist, displayed first under Gen. John Pershing’s command in France during World War I, then in the Philippines and Pacific theater in World War II, and finally at Inchon, South Korea. Herman underscores the general’s key role in bolstering the interwar American military and later advocating relentlessly to build up the Philippines army, despite apathy from Washington. Fatal blunders at Bataan and the Yalu River, among others, should not overshadow the general’s far-sightedness in envisioning the early rise of the Pacific Rim.

Featuring the use of new archives, a highly regarded historian offers a significant reappraisal.

Pub Date: June 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9488-9

Page Count: 960

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • National Book Award Winner

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

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

Did you like this book?

more