Alarmist at points, but an alarm all policymakers, military planners, and students of international affairs should heed.

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THE KILL CHAIN

DEFENDING AMERICA IN THE FUTURE OF HIGH-TECH WARFARE

A warning on the geopolitical front: Forget about the Islamic State group. It’s the rising superpower of China, and probably Russia, that the U.S. will be fighting in the future.

Brose, former policy adviser to John McCain and staff director for the Senate Armed Services Committee, doesn’t mince words: War drives military adaptation, and “many of the ways in which the US military has innovated and changed in recent years have only happened because it has been at war.” Yet the enemy, by his account, has been misidentified. Our military has been developing expensive platforms, with hardware favored over software (and software rapidly rendered obsolete in the bargain), that are directed at nonstate targets such as IS and the Taliban when the real enemies are various people’s republics. The People’s Liberation Army of China, Brose writes, has a highly evolved understanding of the “kill chain,” military parlance for the process of intelligence gathering and decision-making that can end—but doesn’t have to—in actual fighting. “We have been building our military to project power and fight offensively for decades,” he argues, “while China has invested considerably in precision kill chains to counter the ability of the United States to project military power.” Send a fleet to the South China Sea, in other words, and China will await with highly developed aircraft carrier–killing missiles; meanwhile, Chinese hackers are targeting American infrastructure and satellite systems. It will come as no surprise, given Brose’s ties to McCain, that Donald Trump comes in for a drubbing for not understanding any of this. His spending priorities are all wrong, writes the author, while his war with Jeff Bezos compromises the military’s development of cloud-based AI, and the many vacancies in the chain of command mean that nothing is getting done in the Pentagon, “which really means falling behind.” The likely outcome? A world dominated by our one-time Cold War enemies.

Alarmist at points, but an alarm all policymakers, military planners, and students of international affairs should heed.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-53353-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Hachette

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

THREE WOMEN

Based on eight years of reporting and thousands of hours of interaction, a journalist chronicles the inner worlds of three women’s erotic desires.

In her dramatic debut about “what longing in America looks like,” Taddeo, who has contributed to Esquire, Elle, and other publications, follows the sex lives of three American women. On the surface, each woman’s story could be a soap opera. There’s Maggie, a teenager engaged in a secret relationship with her high school teacher; Lina, a housewife consumed by a torrid affair with an old flame; and Sloane, a wealthy restaurateur encouraged by her husband to sleep with other people while he watches. Instead of sensationalizing, the author illuminates Maggie’s, Lina’s, and Sloane’s erotic experiences in the context of their human complexities and personal histories, revealing deeper wounds and emotional yearnings. Lina’s infidelity was driven by a decade of her husband’s romantic and sexual refusal despite marriage counseling and Lina's pleading. Sloane’s Fifty Shades of Grey–like lifestyle seems far less exotic when readers learn that she has felt pressured to perform for her husband's pleasure. Taddeo’s coverage is at its most nuanced when she chronicles Maggie’s decision to go to the authorities a few years after her traumatic tryst. Recounting the subsequent trial against Maggie’s abuser, the author honors the triumph of Maggie’s courageous vulnerability as well as the devastating ramifications of her community’s disbelief. Unfortunately, this book on “female desire” conspicuously omits any meaningful discussion of social identities beyond gender and class; only in the epilogue does Taddeo mention race and its impacts on women's experiences with sex and longing. Such oversight brings a palpable white gaze to the narrative. Compounded by the author’s occasionally lackluster prose, the book’s flaws compete with its meaningful contribution to #MeToo–era reporting.

Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4229-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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