Engaging, multilayered history of the best kind, grounded in telling detail and marvelous personalities.

THE DAUGHTERS OF YALTA

THE CHURCHILLS, ROOSEVELTS, AND HARRIMANS: A STORY OF LOVE AND WAR

A singular take on the history of the Yalta Conference, viewed through the eyes of the three notable daughters who supported their famous fathers, the “Big Three,” and contributed in heretofore undocumented ways.

In a substantive debut work of first-rate scholarship, Katz—a Cambridge- and Harvard-educated historian now pursuing a degree at Harvard Law School—delves into the behind-the-scenes soft diplomacy of the “Little Three”: Kathleen Harriman, the “glamorous” daughter of the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union; Anna Roosevelt, a mother of three and former newspaper editor; and Sarah Churchill, an aerial reconnaissance intelligence analyst in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. Each has a fascinating backstory involving the relationship with her respective father, and each played an important role during what promised to be an arduous meeting to figure out the endgame of World War II and postwar reorganization of Europe. Through letters home and dispatches written by the three young women, Katz efficiently relays this fly-on-the-wall account of how the three sprawling delegations managed to get any business accomplished. FDR was housed in the czar’s former summer palace of Livadia, on the Black Sea, which had been occupied and trashed by the Nazi invaders; Churchill and the British billeted at nearby Vorontsov Palace; and Stalin and his people at the Koriez Villa and Yusupov Palace, situated between the American and British residences. The main topics of discussion were Polish nationality, the methods by which to deal with a defeated Germany, and how to draw the Soviets into the Pacific theater to aid the Americans. Hanging over the meetings and social gatherings was the specter of FDR’s grave health—only Anna knew the truth of his heart disease—and the Russian intentions to expand into Eastern Europe. Katz effectively shows how these three often overlooked women proved to be indispensable in a variety of ways.

Engaging, multilayered history of the best kind, grounded in telling detail and marvelous personalities.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-11785-8

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

TANQUERAY

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

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2022

Did you like this book?

Disingenuous when not willfully oblivious.

SO HELP ME GOD

The former vice president reflects warmly on the president whose followers were encouraged to hang him.

Pence’s calm during the Trump years has been a source of bemusement, especially during the administration’s calamitous demise. In this bulky, oddly uncurious political memoir, Pence suggests the source of his composure is simple: frequent prayer and bottomless patience for politicking. After a relatively speedy recap of his personal and political history in Indiana—born-again Christian, conservative radio host, congressman, governor—he remembers greeting the prospect of serving under Trump with enthusiasm. He “was giving voice to the desperation and frustration caused by decades of government mismanagement,” he writes. Recounting how the Trump-Pence ticket won the White House in 2016, he recalls Trump as a fundamentally hardworking president, albeit one who often shot from the hip. Yet Pence finds Trump’s impulsivity an asset, setting contentious foreign leaders and Democrats off-balance. Soon they settled into good cop–bad cop roles; he was “the gentler voice,” while “it was Trump’s job to bring the thunder.” Throughout, Pence rationalizes and forgives all sorts of thundering. Sniping at John McCain? McCain never really took the time to understand him! Revolving-door staffers? He’s running government like a business! That phone call with Ukraine’s president? Overblown! Downplaying the threat Covid-19 presented in early 2020? Evidence, somehow, of “the leadership that President Trump showed in the early, harrowing days of the pandemic.” But for a second-in-command to such a disruptive figure, Pence dwells little on Trump’s motivations, which makes the story’s climax—Trump’s 2020 election denials and the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection—impossible for him to reconcile. How could such a selfless patriot fall under the sway of bad lawyers and conspiracy theorists? God only knows. Chalk it up to Pence's forgiving nature. In the lengthy acknowledgments he thanks seemingly everybody he’s known personally or politically; but one name’s missing.

Disingenuous when not willfully oblivious.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2022

ISBN: 9781982190330

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more