An unrelenting critique of the bogeyman of liberals who refuses to go away.

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BOSS ROVE

INSIDE KARL ROVE'S SECRET KINGDOM OF POWER

The longtime critic of the Bush family levels his guns at today’s most notorious political consultant.

Just in time for the 2012 election, along comes Vanity Fair contributing editor Unger (The Fall of the House of Bush: The Untold Story of How a Band of True Believers Seized the Executive Branch, Started the Iraq War, and Still Imperils America Today, 2007, etc.) to remind liberals that Karl Rove did not depart the scene with his patron, the reviled W. The “Evil Genius” has been very busy attending to his long-term project of capturing all three branches of government for the Republican Party. From prestigious perches at Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek, Rove has been preparing the public battle space for the coming election. Behind the scenes, contemptuous of the amateurish tea party and circumventing the ossified GOP apparatus, he’s strung together his own SuperPAC network. He has taken full advantage of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, and he’s seeded the Romney campaign with any number of close associates and acolytes. If Romney prevails with the help of Rove’s hidden hand, Unger insists, the consequences for the nation promise to be “monumental,” none of them good. To support his ominous prediction, he marches through Rove’s career scandals, none of which bear the hard-nosed operative’s fingerprints—he’s too smart for that—but they all reek of the master manipulator’s sulphurous odor. Unger discusses Rove’s role in the outing of Valerie Plame, his effort to manipulate Ohio’s 2004 election results and his use of the criminal justice system to target political opponents, along with his part in the Swift Boat ads that drowned John Kerry and his orchestration of the takedown that ended Dan Rather’s career. For the conscienceless Rove, issues—tort reform, voter fraud—matter only insofar as they advance the Republican cause. But, then, power has always been his objective, a 30-year effort “to game the American electoral system by whatever means necessary.”

An unrelenting critique of the bogeyman of liberals who refuses to go away.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-9493-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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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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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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