by Bakari Sellers ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 19, 2020
A strong voice for social justice emerges in an engaging memoir.
An African American attorney and politician reflects on the forces that shaped him.
In a candid and affecting memoir, CNN political analyst Sellers, the youngest member of the South Carolina Legislature when he was elected in 2006, chronicles his evolution as a political activist. Sellers grew up in the rural town of Denmark, South Carolina, where his family moved in 1990. Sellers loved being “country,” where he could ride his bike on back roads, fish in the ponds, and play in cotton fields. Even in what he describes as a bucolic setting, the civil rights movement pervaded the family’s life: Both parents were activists; Sellers was “the campaign baby” during Jesse Jackson’s second run for president in 1988; and when the phone rang, the caller might well be “Uncle” Julian Bond or “Aunt” Kathleen Cleaver. The author counts as decisive his education at historically black Morehouse College, where he was “bit by the political bug,” winning his first campaign to become junior class president. Later, he mounted a successful run for election to the state legislature and, in 2014, resigned that seat to run for lieutenant governor. Although his Republican opponent won that race, Sellers garnered a respectable 41% of the vote. “I always tell people that we chipped away at the glass,” he writes. Sellers admits disappointment with the black church for becoming “passive and insular at best at a time when it needs to be younger and more progressive.” He is forthright, as well, about suffering from anxiety, which he attributes to the fear, rage, and anger that result from continued racial oppression. Hostilities, such as the hatred that led to the Mother Emanuel AME church tragedy in Charleston, are endemic. Donald Trump’s election, Sellers asserts, was caused not by economic but cultural fear “that somehow, black and brown people were going to replace whites.”A strong voice for social justice emerges in an engaging memoir.
Pub Date: May 19, 2020
Page Count: 240
Review Posted Online: March 1, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020
Share your opinion of this book
by Walter Isaacson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 12, 2023
Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.
A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.
To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.
Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023
Page Count: 688
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023
Share your opinion of this book
A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.
Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.
Pub Date: July 12, 2022
Page Count: 192
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022
Share your opinion of this book
Hey there, book lover.
We’re glad you found a book that interests you!