In the seemingly neverending arms race between the lone-assassin and the conspiracy theorists, Kaiser adds a serious piece...

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THE ROAD TO DALLAS

THE ASSASSINATION OF JOHN F. KENNEDY

A historian takes us, once more, down the rabbit hole surrounding the events of November 22, 1963.

After 45 years and countless books devoted to the subject—including last-word, authoritative treatments like Gerald Posner’s Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK (1993) and Vincent Bugliosi’s recent Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (2007)—a surprisingly high percentage of the American public refuses to accept the Warren Commission’s conclusion that a lone gunman killed JFK. Kaiser (History/Naval War Coll.; American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Origins of the Vietnam War, 2000, etc.) agrees that Lee Harvey Oswald murdered the president, but the author depicts him as the simultaneous pawn of organized crime, defending itself against relentless prosecution by Robert Kennedy’s Justice Department, and of “the U.S. government–sponsored or tolerated anti-Castro movement,” dedicated to overthrowing or killing the dictator. Both of Kaiser’s plots center on formerly mob-friendly Cuba which, under Castro, became a communist thorn in the Kennedy administration’s side. Relying on raw data available to the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations, materials released pursuant to 1992’s JFK Records Act, Soviet archives and the work of previous authors, Kaiser submits his professional historian credentials as a good reason to prefer his analysis over the investigations of his many predecessors. Why his qualifications trump those of, say, Posner or Bugliosi, attorneys well-accustomed to assembling and assessing evidence, Kaiser doesn’t venture. Still, the narrative’s level of detail, sober style, strict adherence to its double-track theory and plausible argument make it worthy of consideration. Kaiser’s scenario hangs together, but it depends on constructions—e.g., the veracity of anti-Castro activist and crucial witness Silvia Odio, the certainty that Oswald was a phony leftist—vigorously and just as reliably disputed elsewhere.

In the seemingly neverending arms race between the lone-assassin and the conspiracy theorists, Kaiser adds a serious piece of scholarship to the arsenal of those who believe Americans have yet to learn the whole truth about the assassination of JFK.

Pub Date: March 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-674-02766-4

Page Count: 468

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2008

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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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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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