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

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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: N/A

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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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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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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