Preaching to the choir? Yes, but it’s a sermon that seemingly requires constant reiteration.




A depressingly cogent litany of the current president’s unbelievably spectacular failures.

Following his recent memoir, From the Left, longtime journalist Press, host of an eponymous show and former host of Crossfire, lays into Donald Trump and the “chaos and corruption [that] have become our new normal.” To be sure, the author could have likely extended this book out another couple hundred reasons, but the portrait on offer here is ugly enough as it is. Divided into sections such as “Trump’s Disastrous Acts as President,” “Trump Fans the Flames of Racism,” and “Trump’s Impeachable Offenses,” the book is a solid resource for the millions of Americans attempting to keep track of the near-daily lies and half-baked Twitter tirades. Press ably limns his subject’s myriad faults—pathological lying (“whatever demonstrable falsehood bubbles up to the surface of his brain is always, for him, the right thing to say at that moment”), laziness, racism, sexism, rampant xenophobia, obsession with Hillary Clinton, addiction to Fox News, inability to understand even the most basic elements of governance—and unprecedented attacks on some of the most important institutions in the U.S., including health care, the media, an open internet, and the social safety net. The author also delves into “Trump’s Cabinet of Thieves,” a who’s who of corruption and incompetence: They’re all here, from Scott Pruitt to Ryan Zinke to Rick Perry to Betsy DeVos. Trump devotees and hard-right Republicans will no doubt find fault with the book—or not read it—but Press is beyond reproach in his research and documentation. And as for that single reason for Trump to stay? You guessed it: Vice President Mike Pence, who “would be even more dangerous” as president. As the author writes, “he’s even more conservative than Trump—former GOP congressional staffer Mike Lofgren calls him ‘as far right as you could go without falling off the earth”—and a lot more effective.”

Preaching to the choir? Yes, but it’s a sermon that seemingly requires constant reiteration.

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-30647-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 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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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.


The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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