Current Affairs Book Reviews (page 66)

Released: June 27, 2006

"Harrowing, depressing—and necessary reading for civil libertarians."
"Respect for the rule of law is a virtue in its own right, a virtue that becomes more important . . . as the stakes increase." So writes human-rights attorney Margulies, arguing that the Bush administration exhibits no such respect. Read full book review >
Released: June 3, 2006

"A vibrant, smart, authentic story of a special sort of heroics in which one lawyer does the best he can in a dysfunctional system that too often links 'miscarriage' with 'justice.'"
A veteran public-defense lawyer offers candid insight into what he characterizes as a pervasively brutal and capricious criminal-justice system. Read full book review >

HORACE GREELEY by Robert C. Williams
Released: June 1, 2006

"Powerful portrait of a publisher who became the voice of Middle America during the nation's deepest crisis."
A comprehensive biography of Greeley (1811-72), deftly analyzing the price he paid to brook no intrusion, partisan or otherwise, on his principles. Read full book review >
Released: May 16, 2006

"Altogether excellent, and essential for understanding the birth of America's empire."
The biography of a vast building that "came to possess agency—the capacity to act in ways that transcended the wills and purposes of the people who claimed responsibility for the Defense Department at any given time." Read full book review >
Released: May 10, 2006

"It's a big book not to put down, but Bowden's latest will tempt readers to keep turning the pages. Altogether excellent—and its revelations of back-channel diplomatic dealings are newsworthy."
A riveting account of the 444-day Iran hostage crisis of 1979-81. Read full book review >

Released: May 8, 2006

"Nixon observed that the U.S. could do what it wanted in Latin America because his compatriots didn't give a damn about the place. Grandin's excellent book makes a good case for caring."
If you want to know why the American intervention in Iraq has failed, look at the El Salvador of a quarter-century ago. Read full book review >
LET ME FINISH by Roger Angell
Released: May 8, 2006

"Graceful and deeply felt."
A collection of personal pieces, combined into an affecting memoir by longtime New Yorker editor Angell. Read full book review >
DARK AGES AMERICA by Morris Berman
Released: April 11, 2006

"There's no room for comfort in Berman's critique: If he's right, we're doomed. Hope he's wrong, then, but by all means consider his provocative argument."
A resounding, if sometimes overwrought, indictment of all that is wrong with American culture, from arrogance to xenophobia and all points between. Read full book review >
BETRAYED by Linda Diebel
Released: April 1, 2006

"A carefully constructed, righteously angry investigation."
First-rate reportage of a political murder that "wasn't supposed to happen in the Mexico of Vicente Fox." Read full book review >
Released: March 9, 2006

"Thus, Gorenberg writes, the accidental empire. An exemplary history of a phenomenon that is still unfolding—for, as Ariel Sharon once urged, 'Everything we don't grab will be in their hands.'"
Of hard choices and strange bedfellows: an illuminating account of a current controversy that extends back many years, namely, Israeli settlements beyond the bounds of Israel. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2006

"Still, 'drive through the region's strip-mall hellscapes,' Grunwald concludes, and it's clear that much remains to be done to save the Everglades. This lucid history and call to arms is an essential companion to that work."
A lively appreciation of the Everglades as an ecosystem worthy of care and protection—quite a turnaround in attitude, as Washington Post reporter Grunwald reveals. Read full book review >
A GODLY HERO by Michael Kazin
Released: Feb. 10, 2006

"History that remains solidly relevant today, and a real eye-opener for anyone who thinks that fierce debates over tax reform, corporate power, imperialism and evolution are recent developments in American politics and culture."
A biography of populist politician William Jennings Bryan that demonstrates that progressive evangelicalism is nothing new. 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 >