With bravery and chutzpah, a husband and wife demonstrate that there’s no moral compromise with history.

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HUNTING THE TRUTH

MEMOIRS OF BEATE AND SERGE KLARSFELD

In a joint memoir, a pair of notable Nazi hunters review their half-century of disputing acceptance of mass murderers in decent society.

The authors, husband and wife, tell their story by turns. Serge was hidden in a cupboard in the south of France as his father was taken by the Germans to be killed in Auschwitz. He was 8. Beate was a German Christian child living in the ruins of the Third Reich. They met as adults, and their reciprocal affection complemented their innate passion for justice. Aware of the importance of press coverage of the atrocities around them, they publicized the histories of the perpetrators who carried out the Nazi regime’s killing of France’s Jews. In one wonderful photo-op, Beate contrived to publicly slap the face of German Chancellor—and quondam Nazi—Kiesinger. They created commotions, brandished placards, held press conferences, broke windows, and traveled the world. In acts of civil disobedience, Beate chained herself at appropriate venues and arranged to get arrested in diverse jurisdictions; some courts, anxious to avoid publicity, were not ready to prosecute. Serge researched, produced irrefutable documentation, and provided exhaustive dossiers to reporters and prosecutors. He became a lawyer and, with his son, took part in many trials and legal proceedings, several of which were provoked by the Klarsfelds. They were active in the exposures of Klaus Barbie, “the Butcher of Lyon,” and of Kurt Waldheim, the former secretary-general of the U.N. The Klarsfelds believed there were no closed cases. There were always more war criminals, anti-Semites, and Holocaust deniers in more places—more than enough for the independent anti-fascists to continue their lifelong mission despite bomb threats and attempted murder. Avenging the memories of the millions who lost their lives was, and remains, an important vocation. As their story unfolds, readers may note a faint, unavoidable touch of vainglory; never mind, what they have accomplished is worthy of high praise.

With bravery and chutzpah, a husband and wife demonstrate that there’s no moral compromise with history.

Pub Date: March 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-374-27982-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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