A sharply drawn episode from a regrettable part of America's past.

READ REVIEW

THE LINCOLN CONSPIRACY

THE SECRET PLOT TO KILL AMERICA'S 16TH PRESIDENT--AND WHY IT FAILED

The tale of how Abraham Lincoln came close to being assassinated even before taking the oath of office.

In short, energetic chapters, Meltzer and Mensch, who collaborated on The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot To Kill George Washington (2019), fashion a brisk political thriller centered on a nefarious plot to murder Lincoln before his inauguration. Lincoln, who won a slim majority of the popular vote, was deeply hated by the slaveholding South. Six weeks after the election, South Carolina became the first state to secede; five others soon followed, and Jefferson Davis was sworn in as president of the Confederacy. But secession did not satisfy a group of conspirators who gathered to devise a plan to seize the city of Washington and prevent the inauguration and even to kill Lincoln on his way to the capital, “and thus inaugurate a revolution.” The authors speculate that the conspirators were likely members of the Knights of the Golden Circle and National Volunteers, groups composed of pro-slavery white supremacists that grew in virulence after Lincoln’s election and likely were precursors of the Ku Klux Klan. They were thwarted largely through the efforts of pioneering private detective Allen Pinkerton, who was called in to investigate, and foil, the plot. The authors create an admiring portrait of Pinkerton and his staff, which included the first female detective, the sly, unflappable Kate Warne. In addition, a secret “Committee of Five,” convened by Secretary of State William Seward, gathered in Washington to ensure the peaceful transfer of power. Pinkerton was charged with logistics, which meant studying the train route for Lincoln’s convoluted inaugural journey, planning for every contingency, and eventually masterminding a plan that involved smuggling Lincoln, in disguise, onto a train days before he was expected. In addition to revealing the conspiracy, the authors vividly convey the virulent racism endemic in the South.

A sharply drawn episode from a regrettable part of America's past. (b/w illustrations)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-31747-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

OPEN BOOK

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

Did you like this book?

more