Current Affairs Book Reviews (page 505)

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: May 1, 1993

"Hart is a clear, if unoriginal, thinker, but, here, he's as much a witness to his own dreams as to real world events."
Idealism and rhetoric from the former senator and presidential candidate (Russia Shakes the World, 1991, etc.). Read full book review >
DISPATCHES FROM THE PACIFIC CENTURY by Frank Viviano
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: May 1, 1993

"Marred slightly by the author's reticence about his own life; otherwise, a satisfying work that's less scholarly but perhaps even more effective than Stan Sesser's The Lands of Charm and Cruelty (p. 359)."
Nineteen brief but resonant vignettes of life in the Pacific Basin as the area is transformed by its entry into the world of international trade and finance. Read full book review >

ISLAM AND THE WEST by Bernard Lewis
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: May 1, 1993

"A learned, forceful analysis that treats Islam with respect, not condescension."
Eleven superb essays on the culture clash between the Islamic nations of the Middle East and the more secularized West, from distinguished Orientalist Lewis (Near Eastern Studies/Princeton; Semites and Anti-Semites, 1986, etc.). Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 28, 1993

"Some intriguing insights but by no means revelatory."
Adatto—billed by the publisher as the first journalist to warn of TV's ``ever-shrinking `sound bite' ''—now tackles, semi- successfully, the media's effect on American politics. Read full book review >
A DARK AND BLOODY GROUND by Darcy O’Brien
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 28, 1993

"The smell of wet, coal-laden earth, white lightening, and cocaine-driven sweat rises from these marvelously atmospheric—and compelling—pages. (Eight pages of b&w photographs) (TV rights to ABC)"
Hillbilly sociopaths rip off a miserly old doctor and kill his daughter: another first-rate—and lurid—true-crime chronicle from journalist/novelist O'Brien (Margaret in Hollywood, 1991; Murder in Little Egypt, 1990, etc.). Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 28, 1993

"President)—and long- lasting personal enmities."
An engaging potpourri of oral reminiscences of the Kennedy Administration, many of them from insiders. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 26, 1993

"A woman who hung out with Kahlil Gibran, promoted the career of muralist Jose Orozco, and broke the story of the Peabody Museum's stolen treasures could benefit from a more sophisticated approach."
Effusive, admiring bio of Alma Sullivan Reed, a San Franciscan who fashioned a unique career—as reporter, archaeologist, deep-sea diver, p.r. writer—in an unlikely age. Read full book review >
NO BREATHING ROOM by Grigori Medvedev
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: April 26, 1993

"Of historical interest, since the Soviet bureaucracy Medvedev denounces no longer exists; but timely as well, since the nuclear industries of the post-Soviet republics appear to share many of the old regime's vices, while the ecological effects of the disaster continue."
In an account written before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the chief engineer of the Chernobyl nuclear plant at the time of its construction (in 1970) relates the grim aftermath of the 1986 disaster and the attempted cover-up by the Gorbachev regime. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 26, 1993

"Lovers of brainy but big-shouldered undercover ops won't be disappointed."
Burly, door-smashing story of Tripodi's 27 years undercover as a crime-fighter and covert operator, told with the help of thriller-writer DeSario (Sanctuary, 1989, etc.). Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 20, 1993

"Thoughtful observations on a crucial sector of the geopolitical landscape from a good soldier who, for credible reasons, believes he was shot in the back."
An engrossing memoir-cum-critique from a former civil servant who for nearly ten years played a key, if generally low-profile, role in America's national-security bureaucracy. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 19, 1993

"Revisionist perspectives that shed new light on an American institution unlikely to reappraise, let alone critique, its performance during a watershed era. (Maps—not seen.)"
A tellingly detailed overview that casts a cold eye on the US media's vaunted role in the Vietnam War. Read full book review >
THE MAN WHO STAYED BEHIND by Sidney Rittenberg
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 19, 1993

"The gripping saga of an expatriate whose extraordinary experiences left him without illusions about Marxism—but with his personal ideals triumphantly intact. (Eight pages of b&w photographs, one map—not seen)"
The dramatic odyssey of an American who cast his lot with mainland China's Communists following WW II—and who lived to regret it. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >