A lively, clear-cut study of the myriad hurdles and uncertainty that characterized the first attempts to form the U.S....

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FOUNDING RIVALS

MADISON VS. MONROE: THE BILL OF RIGHTS AND THE ELECTION THAT SAVED A NATION

A fresh, narrow, knowledgeable-of-minutia take on a well-known friendship and rivalry during the early establishment of the U.S. Constitution.

Attorney and political strategist DeRose shifts his focus around James Madison’s forced championing of a Bill of Rights to the Constitution, the contentious Congressional election campaign between fellow Virginians Madison and James Monroe of 1789 and the early influence of the Virginia Plan on the drafting of the U.S. Constitution. His depiction of the evolving relationship between the two key Virginians proves a steady, compelling narrative throughout. Several years younger than Madison, the Revolutionary War hero Monroe became Madison’s protégé and correspondent. Madison, a soft-spoken, eloquent landowner and delegate, became the architect of the Constitution. Both men, writes DeRose, proved in separate ways their heartfelt patriotism. At the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Madison helped hammer out a perfect-enough Constitution in order to present to the states, and then—along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay—tried to convince the public of its worth in a series of newspaper essays under the pen name Publius (i.e., The Federalist Papers). Subsequently, Monroe, as a delegate to the Virginia Ratification Convention the next year, presented objections, namely to the lack of controls on the central government and need for preservation of basic rights. In just six months, Madison and Monroe would be battling over election to the first House of Representatives. Madison barely won, largely because of his campaign promise to introduce into the new Congress a Bill of Rights, which he duly did, preempting the anti-Federalists, and thus helping to gain passage for the first 10 amendments by 1791. DeRose maintains that unless Monroe opposed Madison early on, the lack of amendments would have quickly created division and rupture in the new government.

A lively, clear-cut study of the myriad hurdles and uncertainty that characterized the first attempts to form the U.S. government.

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59698-192-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Regnery History

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE

Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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