Millions will enjoy the World Cup and Olympics, but Zirin justly reminds readers of the real human costs beyond the...

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BRAZIL'S DANCE WITH THE DEVIL

THE WORLD CUP, THE OLYMPICS, AND THE STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY

How the real costs to democracy and the body politic that come from hosting a World Cup or Olympics outweigh the temporal joy that such events bring.

This summer, the world’s eyes will be on Brazil as it prepares to host the World Cup. Hundreds of thousands will descend, lured by the beautiful game and by promises of equally beautiful beaches and people. The same attractions will draw people (and the world’s media) to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics. While the Nation sports editor Zirin (Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down, 2013, etc.) understands the appeal of the spectacle, he is under no illusions regarding its costs. The author ruthlessly tears apart the rationale of a country like Brazil—which aspires to the top tier of world powers but has entrenched problems with poverty and service delivery and health care and providing adequate schools and myriad other issues—hosting a World Cup and Olympics that will not only fail to alleviate, but will exacerbate the country’s problems. Zirin identifies the heart of the dilemma as “neoliberal plunder,” whereby wealth is transferred “out of the public social safety net and into the hands of private capital.” FIFA, the global body that governs football, and the International Olympic Committee are two of the chief villains in this scenario, but a range of political elites share accountability for using the events for the purpose of enriching themselves or accomplishing personal and political agendas. Zirin shows the boondoggle that are FIFA stadium demands and the flimsy pretexts behind the removals of and crackdowns on Brazil’s favelas, the so-called slums that really are vibrant neighborhoods of the lower classes.

Millions will enjoy the World Cup and Olympics, but Zirin justly reminds readers of the real human costs beyond the spectacle.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60846-360-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Haymarket

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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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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