A convincing but fairly boilerplate critique of Trump’s America from a progressive politician.

A debut political work proposes a kinder, more inclusive patriotism.

Nationalism has meant different things at different times in different places, some of them positive and many of them decidedly not. Blackman sees the current surge in nationalism in Donald Trump’s America as one of the most pernicious types: one built on demonizing groups already marginalized in society, including immigrants, racial minorities, women, and the LGBTQ community. But is there another form of nationalism available to the United States at this critical moment in the country’s history? “We can reinterpret nationalism for the coming generations,” writes the author in his introduction. “Nationalism could be more than a collection of symbols, flags, anthems, and languages. It could be about the unseen, the virtues we can share and the spirit of humanity that binds us together.” Blackman is himself the son of Barbadian immigrants, one of whom served as an Army Ranger. The author was also a Democratic candidate in 2016, running unsuccessfully for the Georgia State Senate against a man who would later adopt some of the most dehumanizing tendencies of Trump’s nationalism. Relying on his own experiences for guidance, Blackman identifies the country’s failures of compassion in recent years and describes how Americans can build a better sense of national pride by improving the way they treat one another. The author discusses a wide range of subjects in an accessible, sometimes-oratorical prose: “We’re on the verge of, if not living in, the first generation of humanity to passively accept large-scale government surveillance, and it’s not just young people. The Patriot Act wasn’t passed, or supported, by the teenagers of today.” His positions are rather typical of what one might expect of a progressive American politician in 2019 (and one can’t help but wonder if this book isn’t written as a statement of intent for some future campaign). There is a rushed quality to the writing that suggests it would have been improved by another round of edits. Even so, it’s hard to disagree with many of the points Blackman makes about the ways in which various American systems have broken down due to the neglect and apathy of the majority.

A convincing but fairly boilerplate critique of Trump’s America from a progressive politician.

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63183-621-3

Page Count: 199

Publisher: BookLogix

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955