A trove of facts about millennial voters and politicians that gives off a whiff of condescension to their elders.

THE ONES WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR

HOW A NEW GENERATION OF LEADERS WILL TRANSFORM AMERICA

Time magazine correspondent Alter’s debut looks beyond the stereotypes of millennials as “entitled” and “snowflakes” in a surprising group portrait of a new generation of political leaders.

Millennial voters lean left by a 2-to-1 margin, and they are unlikely to bear out the popular wisdom that people grow more conservative as they age, the author argues, backing up her conclusion with persuasive statistics and other hard data. Decades of social science research have shown that political views are formed in early adulthood, and “once young people pick a side, they usually stay there.” So America must come to grips with millennials’ priorities—such as climate change, student debt relief, and affordable health care—and Alter aims to help by combining a wide-angle view of her generation with close-ups of young elected officials. Along with a few Republicans, she profiles Democrats including Pete Buttigieg, the presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana, mayor; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York congresswoman; and Braxton Winston, a Charlotte city council member and veteran of street protests who decided to change the system from within after returning from a demonstration unable to “pick up his baby daughter because his dreadlocks had so much tear gas in them.” Alter can be glib (Afghan war veteran Buttigieg wasn’t a natural for the military because he “sucked at sports” and “hated fighting”) and, when writing about millennials’ parents, patronizing and cutesy: “The boomers were defined by a sense of individualism, so when they had kids, they weren’t just any kids: the boomers’ kids must be super-duper special.” However, the author’s spirited narrative offers much solid reporting on how millennials’ views have been shaped by forces like Instagram, the Harry Potter books, and the Occupy movement. Her young politicians emerge as less entitled than enthusiastic against the odds: Whatever their differences, most succeeded not by bowing to their parties’ tribal elders but by bushwhacking trails, often driven mainly by “instinct and grit.”

A trove of facts about millennial voters and politicians that gives off a whiff of condescension to their elders.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-56150-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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