A focused and timely study of Eisenhower’s significant speech and the sticky transition to JFK’s inherited new world.

THREE DAYS IN JANUARY

DWIGHT EISENHOWER'S FINAL MISSION

A sobering return to Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell address, arriving just before our own moment of uncertain presidential transition.

Eisenhower was a paradox: a former supreme commander devoted to peace who managed to keep the country out of war for eight years and left a haunting warning in his final televised speech on Jan. 17, 1961, that the United States had become a “permanent war-based industry.” With co-author Whitney, Fox News host Baier (Special Heart: A Journey of Faith, Hope, Courage and Love, 2014, etc.) brings new relevance to Eisenhower’s parting message to the young, relatively inexperienced new president, John F. Kennedy. The author explores Eisenhower’s last days in office, especially his sense of needing to prepare JFK for the “fate of the civilized world” and brace him against the military-driven mindset. Unlike his relations with his own predecessor, Harry Truman, which were strained and chilly, the World War II hero came around to respecting the glamorous young senator despite their vastly different backgrounds and his inglorious defeat of Richard Nixon. In the 1960 campaign, Kennedy had run on the “missile gap” between the U.S. and Soviet Union—the Soviets had launched the world’s first artificial satellite—which Eisenhower knew was “a clever, yet devious, tactic.” It was also misleading, since both countries had enough nuclear weapons to leave the world “a moonscape of radioactive ash.” This was Eisenhower’s message in his parting address, which is included in its entirety in an appendix: that industry had taken over the military; that bright retiring military people had gravitated to aerospace and other related industries; and that massive federal funding outlays were being granted for scientific-military research. As Baier notes, his speech warning of “unwarranted influence…by the military-industrial complex” proved enormously prescient even though it was not widely reported on at the time. Kennedy would learn this lesson quickly in the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

A focused and timely study of Eisenhower’s significant speech and the sticky transition to JFK’s inherited new world.

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-256903-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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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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