Anti-war activists and civil libertarians will find aid and comfort in stories of those who just said no.

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I AIN'T MARCHING ANYMORE

DISSENTERS, DESERTERS, AND OBJECTORS TO AMERICA’S WARS

An episodic account of Americans who, in times of war, have gone against the mainstream.

The title comes from Phil Ochs, and it’s on the mark, since many of journalist Lombardi’s subjects marched, fought, bled—and then resisted. One case in point is Daniel Shays, who fought bravely during the Revolutionary War but then, underpaid and with a family to support, had to sell the sword given to him by the Marquis de Lafayette. “The inadequate pay made soldiers like Shays…suspect that those in power, from state legislators to General Washington, saw them as somehow disposable,” Lombardi writes. Thus Shays’ Rebellion and other actions by veterans demanding compensation, a theme that would be picked up 150 years later with the Bonus Army. Some of the author’s other subjects include Ethan Allen Hitchcock, who went against his superiors in objection to the terms of the “Indian removals” of the Jacksonian era; “after nearly a year of crossing the country and talking to tribal leaders,” writes Lombardi, Hitchcock wrote a detailed report showing that, as he put it, “every conceivable subterfuge was employed by designing white men on ignorant Indians.” That report was suppressed. The author also writes about the women who fought in disguise in the Civil War and Clara Barton, whose “gender-dissent lay in her creation of a formerly inconceivable all-female battlefield nursing corps.” The definition seems stretched to the point of breaking before returning to familiar ground with such figures as Vietnam War fighter–turned–anti-war activist–turned-politician John Kerry, who “was among the eight hundred veterans on the steps of the Capitol who threw back their medals, ribbons, war memorabilia.” The narrative often runs out of steam, and there’s not much of a thesis—there are those who go along and those who don’t—but Lombardi covers a lot of ground and chronicles events too little remembered today.

Anti-war activists and civil libertarians will find aid and comfort in stories of those who just said no.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62097-317-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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An essential account of a chaotic administration that, Woodward makes painfully clear, is incapable of governing.

RAGE

That thing in the air that is deadlier than even your “strenuous flus”? Trump knew—and did nothing about it.

The big news from veteran reporter Woodward’s follow-up to Fear has been widely reported: Trump was fully aware at the beginning of 2020 that a pandemic loomed and chose to downplay it, causing an untold number of deaths and crippling the economy. His excuse that he didn’t want to cause a panic doesn’t fly given that he trades in fear and division. The underlying news, however, is that Trump participated in this book, unlike in the first, convinced by Lindsey Graham that Woodward would give him a fair shake. Seventeen interviews with the sitting president inform this book, as well as extensive digging that yields not so much news as confirmation: Trump has survived his ineptitude because the majority of Congressional Republicans go along with the madness because they “had made a political survival decision” to do so—and surrendered their party to him. The narrative often requires reading between the lines. Graham, though a byword for toadyism, often reins Trump in; Jared Kushner emerges as the real power in the West Wing, “highly competent but often shockingly misguided in his assessments”; Trump admires tyrants, longs for their unbridled power, resents the law and those who enforce it, and is quick to betray even his closest advisers; and, of course, Trump is beholden to Putin. Trump occasionally emerges as modestly self-aware, but throughout the narrative, he is in a rage. Though he participated, he said that he suspected this to be “a lousy book.” It’s not—though readers may wish Woodward had aired some of this information earlier, when more could have been done to stem the pandemic. When promoting Fear, the author was asked for his assessment of Trump. His reply: “Let’s hope to God we don’t have a crisis.” Multiple crises later, Woodward concludes, as many observers have, “Trump is the wrong man for the job.”

An essential account of a chaotic administration that, Woodward makes painfully clear, is incapable of governing.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982131-73-9

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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A lovely, sometimes challenging testament to the universality of human nature.

HUMANS

The creator of the hit internet series Humans of New York takes it global, chasing down a panoply of interesting stories.

In 1955, Edward Steichen staged a show called “The Family of Man,” a gathering of photographs that emphasized the commonality of humankind. Stanton’s project seemingly has much the same ambition. “You’ve created this magic little corner of the Web where people feel safe sharing their stories—without being ridiculed, or bullied, or judged,” he writes. “These stories are only honestly shared because they have a long history of being warmly received.” The ask is the hard part: approaching a total stranger and asking him or her to tell their stories. And what stories they are. A young Frenchwoman, tearful, recounts being able to see things from the spirit world that no one else can see. “And it’s been a very lonely existence since then,” she says. A sensible teenager in St. Petersburg, Russia, relates that her friends are trying to be grown-up, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, whereas she wants to remain a child close to her parents: “I’d like these times to last as long as possible.” A few stories are obnoxious, as with a Dutch incel who has converted himself into a pickup artist and outright cad: “Of course it’s manipulation, but why should I care? I’ve been manipulated so many times in my life.” A great many stories, some going for several pages but most taking up just a paragraph or two, are regretful, speaking to dashed dreams and roads not taken. A surprising number recount mental illness, depression, and addiction; “I’d give anything to have a tribe,” says a beleaguered mother in Barcelona. Some are hopeful, though, such as that of an Iranian woman: “I’ve fallen in love with literature. I try to read for one or two hours every day. I only have one life to live. But in books I can live one thousand lives.”

A lovely, sometimes challenging testament to the universality of human nature.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11429-7

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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